Category Archives: Blogged Bible Study

Posts on the Gospel of John

Bible Study on the Gospel of John

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In 2008, a few of us bloggers decided to do a weekly Bible Study. Since Easter is at the end of this month, I decided to republish these studies. I believe the Gospel of John compels the reader to make a decision concerning Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God. I am praying you will have your theology challenged, your faith built up, and your spirit encouraged.

Our God is beyond comprehension. Yet, He has made His plan for us, so simple…

Follow Me

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A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 21:

I tell you the solemn truth, when you were young, you tied your clothes around you and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up and bring you where you do not want to go.” (Now Jesus said this to indicate clearly by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God.) After He said this, Jesus told Peter, “Follow me.” ~John 21:18-19

“Follow Jesus I will follow Jesus.  Anywhere He leads me I will follow. 
Follow Jesus I will follow Jesus.  Anywhere He leads I’ll go.
Across the river, down through the valley, or if it be on a mountain high. 
I’ll go Lord anywhere you want me.  Take me, here am I.”

We sang that song on a teen trip in high school. It wasn’t a large congregation so the youth group didn’t have many kids. But, we were close. We had been practicing for our summer trip to Colorado. The plan was to sing at a couple of churches along the way.

Really, we only had about five singers in the group. The others just stood with us and mouthed the words. But I remember loving that song, singing it with my whole heart, knowing I meant every word. I also knew not everyone in the group felt the same.

I had visions of being a missionary to Africa. I really thought that’s what I’d end up doing. It wasn’t a scary thought to me. I imagined I could do it. I saw myself as quite a force to be reckoned with…then.

As time progressed I realized I wasn’t called to the mission field and began looking into another form of service. Teaching made the most sense to me, especially since I was marrying a preacher and we would probably be living in small towns. Teachers can always find work.

As more time passed small towns gave way to large cities, the pastorate gave way to computers, and my energy gave way to illness. We served as laypeople for many years, using the gifts of teaching the Lord had given us both.

Now we’re older. I don’t know that I would call us old, but we are feeling the aches of our age and the frustrations of not quite reaching the goals we had. We had a plan to “follow Jesus.” Yet, to us the plan looked very different than the reality.

Jesus told Peter some of what he would endure toward the end of his life. Many scholars believe this passage tells of the death he would endure, death by crucifixion. Peter knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road, this path of following Jesus. But He did it just the same. He knew he would have a miserable death. But he didn’t run from it. He understood the mission was to follow Jesus unto death. It wasn’t going to be a mountaintop experience for him. But still, he followed.

Even if life is not what you imagined it would be — this life of following after Jesus — it just might be the life He ordained for you. It just might be “the best life now” that will bring Him the most glory.

Even if it takes you “down through the valleys”…will you go anywhere He wants?  Do you really mean it, or are you just mouthing the words?

Take me. Here am I.

Is Your Faith in Vain?

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A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 20:

Was Jesus Christ resurrected from the dead? If not, then why do you call yourself  Christian? Your faith is only vain imaginings:

Now if Christ is being preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead?

But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is futile and your faith is empty.

Also, we are found to be false witnesses about God, because we have testified against God that He raised Christ from the dead, when in reality He did not raise Him, if indeed the dead are not raised.

For if the dead are not raised, then not even Christ has been raised.

And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is useless; you are still in your sins. 

Furthermore, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have also perished. 

For if only in this life we have hope in Christ, we should be pitied more than anyone.

~1 Corinthians 15:12-19

Do you doubt that Jesus was raised from the dead? Thomas doubted:

Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he replied, “Unless I see the wounds from the nails in His hands, and put my finger into the wounds from the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will never believe it!”

Eight days later the disciples were again together in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and examine My hands. Extend your hand and put it into My side. Do not continue in your unbelief, but believe.”

Thomas replied to Him, “My Lord and my God!”

Jesus said to Him, “Have you believed because you have seen me?  Blessed are the people who have not seen and yet have believed.”

~John 20:24-29

The resurrection is the pivotal point of faith in Jesus Christ.  It is the very definition of faith:

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. ~Hebrews 11:1

Do you have faith? Do you believe?  This is the Gospel of Salvation — the faith that is NOT vain…

Now I want to make clear for you, brothers and sisters, the gospel that I preached to you, that you received and on which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. For I passed on to you as of first importance what I also received – that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. ~1 Corinthians 15:1-6

Do you believe Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried and resurrected?

Do you believe the gospel that is able to save your soul?

Bearing His Own Cross

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A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 19:

I don’t like watching the crucifixion.  Well, I suppose no one likes it.  It hurts too much, so I tend to close my eyes.  I made myself watch many clips before choosing the one below.  It reminded me of what it means to embrace the cross.

Pilate then took Jesus and scourged Him.  And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head, and put a purple robe on Him…Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”

They cried out saying, “Crucify, crucify!”

Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me?  Do you not know that I have authority…”  Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given to you from above…”

They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out , bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of the Skull…Golgotha.

And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you also may believe.

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend

Then He said to the crowd,
“If any of you wants to be My follower,
You must put aside your selfish ambition,
Shoulder your cross daily, and follow Me.

Luke 9:23

My aim is to know Him,
To experience the power of His resurrection,
To share in His sufferings,
And to be like Him in His death,
And so, somehow,
To attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Philippians 3:10-11

Give Thanks

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Give thanks with a grateful heart.
Give thanks to the Holy One.
Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son.
And now let the weak say I am strong,
Let the poor say I am rich,
Because of what the Lord has done for us.
Give thanks.

It’s a simple chorus but it speaks of all that is important.  We have been given all we need for this life in Christ Jesus.  Though we may be weak in the world’s eyes, we are strong in heaven’s eyes.  Though we may be poor in the world’s eyes, we are rich in heaven’s eyes. 

I must remind myself daily: I can do this thing called life.  I have The Life in me.  I’m not living my own life.  I am to be living His.

I am The Way, The Truth, The Life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.  ~John 14:16

For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith.  ~Galatians 3:26

But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  ~Galatians 6:14

Although the things of this world may not be mine, what have I lost?  I have real life — The Life — in me.  Jesus gives me strength to make it through the day.  He gives me riches beyond any earthly treasure.  I can rejoice in Him.  I can be thankful, in everything, because of Him.

Always be joyful.
Keep on praying.
No matter what happens
, always be thankful,
for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Be joyful.  Be thankful.  Always.  Did you catch how this happens?  The verse in the middle.  Keep on praying.

Be anxious for nothing,
but in everything
by prayer and supplication
with thanksgiving
Let your requests be made known to God

And the peace of God,
which surpasses all comprehension,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

As I keep on praying, bringing everything to Him, I will have peace that passes understanding. His peace will guard my heart and my mind, if I am in Him.

It takes discipline to live this life He has called us to live. He has given us everything we need that pertains to life and godliness, but we must remain diligent to apply these truths to our lives. It’s not magical. It doesn’t just happen. We are told to pray.

Pray always.

Pray always, about everything.

Pray always, about everything, with an attitude of thanksgiving.

Then peace will come.

I’ve been searching for peace recently.  My heart has been anxious.  My mind has been racing.  But, you know what?  I have not been diligent to apply these truths.  I know I am in Him.  But this life I am to live in Him, still requires diligent discipline.

I think it’s time I get to work.

How about you?

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OH…and what am I thankful for this year?  Actually, many things, but most especially, my blog family.   You people have changed my world.  I’ve needed you and you’ve been there for me.  Thank you.

The Third Cup

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A Blogged Bible Study for John 18:

But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its sheath! Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given Me?” ~John 18:11

Only here in the Fourth Gospel is it specifically said that the cup is given to Jesus to drink by the Father, but again this is consistent with the synoptic gospels’ mention of the cup in Jesus’ prayer:

Going a little farther, He fell with His face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from Me. Yet not as I will, but as You will.”  ~Matthew 26:39

And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”  ~Mark 14:36

“Father, if you are willing, please take this cup of suffering away from Me. Yet I want Your will, not Mine.”  ~Luke 22:42

Four cups are given to drink in the Passover Meal.  The Four Cups represent the four expressions of deliverance promised by God in Exodus 6:6-7:

Therefore, tell the Israelites, ‘I am the Lord. I will bring you out from your enslavement to the Egyptians, I will rescue you from the hard labor they impose, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.  I will take you to myself for a people, and I will be your God.

“I will bring out”
“I will deliver”
“I will redeem”
“I will take”

The meaning of the four cups has been discussed among Jewish scholars for centuries.  One interpretation is the four cups show four worlds: this world, the Messianic age, the world at the revival of the dead, and the world to come.  Other scholars give them a matriarchal meaning: Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel, and Leah.  Some say they are the four historical redemptions of the Jewish people:

~the choosing of Abraham,  “I will bring out.”

~the Exodus from Egypt,  “I will deliver.”

~the survival of the Jewish people throughout the exile,  “I will redeem.”

~and the fourth which will happen at the end of days,  “I will take.”

Jesus drank of the cup of suffering, the cup His Father gave Him to drink.  We know He came to redeem a people for Himself.  It was prophesied:

Zion will be redeemed with justice and her repentant ones with righteousness.  ~Isaiah 1:27

The Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who repent of their sins,” declares the LORD.  ~Psalms 130:8

He did come.  All who repent will be redeemed.  “I will redeem” . . . the third cup.

AND He will return. At the end of days He will signal for them all to gather, because He has already redeemed them:

I will signal for them and gather them, for I have already redeemed them; then they will become as numerous as they were before.  Though I scatter them among the nations, they will remember in far-off places – they and their children will sprout forth and return.  ~Zechariah 10:8-9

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after giving thanks He broke it, gave it to His disciples, and said, “Take, eat, this is My body.” And after taking the cup and giving thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is My blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.  I tell you, from now on I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”  After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.  ~Matthew 26:17-25

It is the cup of suffering — the cup of redemption — the third cup — Jesus is about to experience.

When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of what He has experienced, My Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins.  ~Isaiah 53:11

One day we will drink of the fourth cup with Him in His Father’s kingdom.

Sanctify Them in Truth

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August 2, 2017  UPDATE:  What is the Christian walk all about?  What does it mean to walk in a manner worthy of the cross of Christ?  How are we to live?  I’m sticking this to the front page in hopes of answering some of these questions.  It’s old.  Life is very different now than then…but Truth does not change.  Please, consider Jesus.

A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 17:

HAGIAZO is rendered sanctified, holy, honored, sanctify, consecrated, hallow

1) to render or acknowledge, or to be venerable or hallow
2) to separate from profane things and dedicate to God
2a) consecrate things to God
2b) dedicate people to God
3) to purify
3a) to cleanse externally
3b) to purify by expiation: free from the guilt of sin
3c) to purify internally by renewing of the soul

To be holy is to be “other,” to be different in a special way. The same basic meaning is used when the word holy is applied to earthly things….The things that are holy are things that are set apart, separated from the rest. They have been consecrated, separated from the commonplace, unto the Lord and His service….

References given in the video ~

Jesus prays for all those the Father has given Him:

“Sanctify them (set them apart) in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. For their sakes I sanctify Myself (I am set apart), that they themselves also may be sanctified (set apart) in truth.” 
~John 17:17-19

We know He prays this for us, as well as His disciples:

“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word”  ~John 17:20

Speaking of Christ and the church:

“…so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word…”  ~Ephesians 5:26

Please don’t misunderstand.  I am not speaking of being taken out of the world.  Jesus makes that point, also, in this chapter.  I am discussing the internal work that immediately follows justification.  God does the work and He has declared us holy…sanctified…set apart unto Him, for His service.  We cooperate in this work of sanctification by learning from, and leaning on Him.

Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ~Philippians 3:13-14

The Work of the Spirit

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A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 16:

For if I do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send Him to you.

Jesus will be leaving soon.  He will be going back to His Father.

Our Advocate, our lawyer, our helper, the Holy Spirit will come; but He cannot come unless Jesus goes.

Why?

It was the plan of God, before the foundation of the world, that the Son would come to redeem mankind from his sin.  This was not an afterthought because Adam sinned — an “OOPS! What do We do now?” — it was always the plan that Jesus would come:

He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake.  ~1Peter 1:20

God has a plan He will accomplish.  He knows the end from the beginning:

Remember what I accomplished in antiquity! Truly I am God, I have no peer; I am God, and there is none like me, Who announces the end from the beginning and reveals beforehand what has not yet occurred, Who says, ‘My plan will be realized, I will accomplish what I desire,’ Who summons an eagle from the east, from a distant land, one who carries out my plan.  Yes, I have decreed, yes, I will bring it to pass; I have formulated a plan, yes, I will carry it out.  ~Isaiah 46:9-11

And now Jesus is explaining part of the plan — the reason He must leave — it’s time for the Advocate to come and do His work.

The Holy Spirit (the Advocate) would come upon the apostles in a magnificent display of God’s mighty power on the Day of Pentecost.  But the disciples are not understanding it all at this point. 

Jesus continues explaining the work of the Holy Spirit:

And when He comes,

He will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment –

To prove the world wrong means to convict or expose.  The world will be exposed concerning sin, righteousness and judgment.

concerning sin, because they do not believe in me;

Remember 3:19: Now this is the basis for judging: that the Light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the Light, because their deeds were evil.  And in 12:37: Although Jesus had performed so many miraculous signs before them, they still refused to believe in Him.

concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will see Me no longer;

L. Morris states, “The Spirit shows men (and no-one else can do this) that their righteousness before God depends not on their own efforts but on Christ’s atoning work for them” (www.net.bible.org)

and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.

This does not mean that Satan does not continue to be active in the world, and to exercise some power over it, just as in 3:19-21 the people in the world who have rejected Jesus and thus incurred judgment continue on in their opposition to Jesus for a time.  In both cases the judgment is not immediately executed.  But it is certain.

The Spirit has a work to do in the world.  But He also has a work to do in the disciples and, eventually, all those who will believe — US! Jesus explains, there is much more that needs to be said, but it will have to wait.  The Spirit will guide them into all truth when He comes:

“I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.  But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth. For He will not speak on His own authority, but will speak whatever He hears, and will tell you what is to come. He will glorify Me, because He will receive from Me what is Mine and will tell it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine; that is why I said the Spirit will receive from Me what is Mine and will tell it to you. In a little while you will see Me no longer; again after a little while, you will see Me.”

Isn’t the transition beautiful? 

The Father has given everything to the Son…

…and everything the Son has, the Spirit will receive,…

…and then the Spirit will tell it to you.**

I have told you these things so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have trouble and suffering, but take courage I have conquered the world. ~Jesus, the Christ, the Son of the Living God

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The Father is Glorified

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I believe it is an impossible task to do justice to John 15 in a blog post.  Of course, this is not the first time I’ve felt this way.  It’s been a huge task to properly exegete these chapters and then condense the teaching into a post.  I’ve attempted, a few times, to share a portion of what I’ve learned, but it’s never been comprehensive.  Looking through the chapter for this week has brought me to a point of frustration.

Here are just some of the topics we could dive into:

The true Vine,  the Vinedresser, fruit, bearing fruit, branches, pruning, Romans 12, Psalm 80, abiding, abiding in the Vine, My commandments, love, loving one another, friends, sacrificial love for friends, friends of Jesus follow His command, I chose you to bear fruit, I command you to love one another, hate, the world hates Me, the world will hate you, the world persecuted Me, you will be persecuted, the world does not know Me, My Father sent Me, the world does not know My Father, the world has no excuse for their sin, they saw Me and hated Me and the Father, they hated Me without cause, Psalm 69, the Helper will come, the Helper is the Spirit of truth, He will testify about Me to you…

OVERWHELMING!!!  And I’m not at all sure I found every topic.

For a few years, Chuck Swindoll was our pastor.  Wow…they were great years learning under a phenomenal teacher.  He would choose a book and then spend as much time as necessary to complete it.  It took us a little over a year to get through Job.  AWESOME.  Each week we learned much due to his careful exegesis and outstanding communication skills.  Yet, there were still times he said he would love to spend even more weeks on a topic, but instead he implored us to study on our own.  Those were great years.  

Now to the point of a Blogged Bible Study.  I admire Carl for choosing to challenge us to look at the book of John and share what the Lord has put upon our hearts.  I don’t really know how everyone involved studies, but I do know everyone does.  We were not given the task to write a commentary, only insights from our studies.  The insights shared have been encouraging and many times, quite challenging.  I have been uplifted, convicted, amazed, edified and strengthened DAILY from these studies.  I’ve been reading the chapter during the week, contemplating the meaning, digging into passages and word studies, and enjoying my fellow contributors’ insights. 

So…please forgive me… for this will be the worst of my posts for the study.  But I’ve felt the need to thank everyone involved for the perseverence given to, and the fellowship I’ve experienced through, this endeavor.  It’s been good for me and has blessed my life.

Thank you, Carl, Darla, Joe, Scott, Annie, Dale, Nor, and Nate (miss you, Nate).

I’m happy to be a part of an undertaking which brings glory to the Father, for as it is stated in John 15:

Abide in Me, and I in you.  As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing . . . My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples.  ~John 15:4,5,8

Who Will Plead Your Case?

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A Blogged Bible Study entry for John 14

Have you ever needed a lawyer?  I know, lots of us don’t have the greatest esteem for lawyers.  But if you need one, you certainly want the best.

We’ve all seen, or heard, of the unscrupulous conniving and unethical standards of many lawyers.  However, imagine with me the help a righteous lawyer would be.  Imagine (I understand the need for MUCH imagination in this exercise) a holy lawyer; one who sees all sides and still pleads your case.

Two-and-a-half years ago we had need of a good lawyer.  We knew if we did not choose one with ethical standards, we would not please God.  We knew we couldn’t “fudge.”  We had to admit guilt and suffer the consequences.  You see, we understand all will one day stand before a Holy Judge and give an account for our deeds done on earth.  We (Phat and I) don’t want to be ashamed at His coming.

So . . . we did the right thing.  We found a Christian lawyer willing to allow us to plead guilty.  She fought long and hard for us.  She did all within her power to lessen the sentence upon our lives.  She did a good work.

We are told in the book of John that the Spirit is our Advocate*.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.  And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Advocate*, to be with you foreverThis is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. You know Him, because He abides with you, and He will be in you.  ~John 14:15-17

In this passage our Advocate*, our lawyer, is one who comes to our aid and is described as “another.” 

Another?

So, who is the first Advocate* — the first one to come to our aid?

John wrote his epistles sometime after his gospel.  Scholars place the writings around 85-95 AD, when he lived in Ephesus.  In his first epistle, John proclaims the truth of the gospel, the light of the world, once again: 

This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in Him there is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with Him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; but if we walk in the light as He himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and His word is not in us.  My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate* with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.  ~1 John 1:5-2:2

Who will plead your case before the throne of the most Holy God?

You can have a Righteous, Holy Advocate* who will stand beside you and declare,

“Father, this one is covered by the blood of the Lamb.  This one receives mercy.”

The Father will hear His Son and you will walk free.  Free from your sin.  Free from the penalty of death.  Free to serve a new Master.  And the most glorious thing?!  It happens the moment you repent and believe.  Then, at that point in time, His Spirit, another Advocate*, comes to your aid.  He will abide with you and help you walk this life of freedom on earth.

“He will be in you.” ~Jesus, the Son of God

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