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I’ve been sharing a short series on God’s sanctuary, his beautifully complex theatre of grace. Last week, I wanted to get you thinking about our need for an advocate. How does our need for an advocate connect to the sanctuary?

In the sanctuary, there is an aspect of judgment that becomes most evident during the time of Yom Kippur or Day of Atonement. I don’t have time to do into detail right now but the Bible is clear we are currently in the time of judgment on the eve of Jesus Second Coming; it’s even at the door!  The Bible says his return is certain and when he returns he will have his reward with him. These promises indicated that a judgment will take place on who will be coming home with Jesus and who will not. 

The problem is when we talk about God’s judgment I’ve heard a couple scenarios. Some of these pictures of God that we pick up are dangerous. As CS Lewis once wrote: “Not that I am in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like.” A Grief Observed

Most of the time, judgment is talked about in courtroom language. Let me attempt to diagram with words the judgment scenarios I have heard people talk about:

Scenario #1

Heavenly beings (Jury)

You (guilty party)  –>   Jesus (your advocate) —>   Father (judge)

Like a good advocate, Jesus is pleading with your Father for you. His role is to convince God and the heavenly beings to accept you.  The problem with this scenario is it puts the son against your Father when they are both in the saving business. God (all three members of the trinity) delights in you; he wants you to be in his home. Jesus did not die to change your Father’s mind about you.

Scenario #2 – slight variation of Scenario #1

Heavenly beings (Jury)

You (guilty party)  –>   Jesus (your advocate) —>   Father (judge)

                           Satan (prosecuting attorney)

This is a slight variation on Scenario #1.  Satan is in the mix and he is arguing the case against you. Jesus is still pleading for you as your advocate. Unfortunately, the goal is still to get your heavenly farther to accept you.  

Scenario #3

Heavenly beings (Jury)

You (guilty party)  <—  God  —>    <—— Satan (accuser)

This is the scenario I see in scripture. You are saved by grace. God has done for you what you could not and cannot do for yourself. God desires you in his home; he even has a celebration banquet planned for your arrival. Satan is furious that God would let you into heaven so he goes on the attack. Satan accuses you, points out all your sins and wrongdoings; he says you shouldn’t go to heaven, don’t deserve to go, wouldn’t be safe if you were there. What does God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – do?

Jesus your Advocate, Your Father in heaven, your comforter the Holy Spirit stand up for you; they stand between you and Satan, rebuke him, and claim you as their child!

Can you have faith in a God like that?