The accused stands almost mute against the accusations. The accuser has made a strong case based on facts that are irrefutable. The accused has tried to bury them but they are there; strong facts by which any jury would be convinced to bring a guilty verdict. The accuser is smirking, knowing that he will win and see the guilty prosecuted. The accused is weighed down by a sense of guilt and shame, followed by the dull ache of hopelessness. How often does this happen?
*It happened when the accuser prompted his allies to bring a woman who was taken in a compromised circumstance. They dragged her away to a place where they thought they could have her convicted. She had committed adultery and been caught in the very act. There was no defense. The law required stoning. She stood silent, awaiting the inevitable.
*It happened when a young man had spoken words that were wrong; filthy communication had come out of his mouth. The accuser had an ally in the conscience of the youth, which in this case also accused him. He had used the language that should never have crossed his lips. How could he ever be seen as a wholesome person again when others had heard what he said? He sank into a depression.
*It happened when a college girl had a test come back positive. The accuser’s case was based not an academic test but a medical test that showed she was now not just a coed but also an expectant mother. She couldn’t keep the secret long. So she confessed. Then she dissolved into sobs, deep sobs bathed in tears of remorse.
*It happened when a man was told that a rumor was circulating about him and he denied it. But the rumor was true. The accuser had him. He had lied. Now his reputation was on the line. Should he keep on denying? The accuser indicated that was his only hope. Deny and lie. He had already failed, so why not keep up the charade? He could try, but his heart felt like lead.
*It happened when a boy had gone through the neighbor’s yard and eaten some of the juicy red raspberries from off the vine. The accuser reminded him that he did not have permission to take them. That was stealing. The memory of those red berries haunted him in the dark.
This is how the accuser works. He often works with facts. And he rams those facts right into the face of the guilty. He has allies: the law, people who wave the law in front of the faces of the guilty, the conscience of the person who has done wrong. The accuser does not stop with those who have clearly violated God’s law. He accuses others on another level.
“That friend of yours didn’t smile back this morning. You must have done something wrong. Maybe he’s angry at you.”
“If you had done better as a preacher, those people may not have backslidden. It’s your fault. How can you think of going back to the pulpit?”
“Your family would be much better if you had not been such a failure. It’s your fault that some have strayed.”
But the accuser has an adversary: the Advocate. He stood between the woman taken in adultery and the Pharisees who had dragged her to Him. He bypassed her guilt by writing something on the ground that made her accusers forget about her and walk away. The Advocate asked the woman, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?” She replied, “No man, Lord.” Then the Advocate spoke those classic words, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.”
The Advocate stood with the young man who had spoken filthy words. He offered the happiness of forgiveness when the young man confessed his sin. He needed not to allow his failure to define his future. Since the Advocate was with him, he could go on having the past covered by atoning blood, and the future committed to Him that loved him and gave Himself for him.
The Advocate came beside the girl whose pregnancy test was positive. An ally of the Advocate opened the Bible so she could see: “There is forgiveness with thee and plenteous redemption.” “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” She was able to lift her head and make plans for the future which no longer seemed hopeless.
The Advocate stood beside the man who had lied, encouraging him to tell the truth. The man who had told him about the rumor that was circulating was an ally of the Advocate. They stepped into an empty church, walked together to the altar, and prayed. The darkness of denial and deception was defeated. Light returned to the soul and lightness to the feet.
The Advocate stood beside the boy who had stolen the raspberries as he trudged up the sidewalk to the house, knocked on the door, and faced the woman who stared down at him. When he confessed, she smiled and offered forgiveness. The visions of those berries no longer haunted his dreams.
There is good news for the accused. “If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 Jn 2:7). Here is One who will take our case right to the Supreme Justice of all creation. He has access to that holy place since He is the Son of God. He has standing to bring the needs of the accused to the Judge, since He is the Son of man. As Son of man, He represented the whole race of Adam and made a sin offering that was perfect in the sight of the great Judge of the universe. He went to the cross and did something about all those accusations, “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:14,15).
All of us stand guilty of having sometime, somewhere fallen short of the glory of God. We are condemned by our personal histories. We are condemned by the facts. We are condemned by the world which knows about us. Yet there is One who does not condemn us: our Advocate. “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (Jn. 3:17).
The accuser has an agenda. It is to show people how guilty they are of any possible wrongdoing. The accuser is not easily ignored, because the accusations come without stopping. The accuser is expert at bringing accusatory thoughts to believers, making them second guess themselves, harming their assurance. But the accuser’s agenda is thwarted by the Advocate. “And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night” (Rev. 12:10).
Here are the facts: all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but God sent His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to die for our sins so that if we believe on Him we will have eternal life. The Advocate wins!