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The Accuser and the Advocate

It was during the Christmas holidays when I took some “prayer walks” over a several-day period . . . I found myself confessing to God some specific sin patterns in my life . . . There was no harshness, no beating myself up, and no cowering before Him. Rather, this was a refreshing time of open and honest response to His Holy Spirit, for He had gently revealed these shortfalls to a heart that had come to trust Him. I’d long ago learned to discern between the devil’s sharp, accusatory tones—always meant to berate, harm, discourage, and destroy—and the Spirit’s gentle, caring voice of correction and guidance. This was the latter, so I was eager to listen, understand, and respond.1

Over the past 13 weeks, we have been focusing on hearing God, and this excerpt from my first book, Christ in Me, gets at the heart of today’s topic—distinguishing the voice of our Advocate from that of our accuser. So let’s start here: we sin. God knows it, we know it and Satan knows it, too. But how God responds to our wrong is far different than what Satan desires. Both are illustrated in the prophet Zechariah’s vision about Joshua the high priest standing before God in filthy clothes (symbolic of sin) and “Satan standing at his right side to accuse him.”2 This is who the devil is: “The accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night.”3 Then how did God respond to this finger-pointing nemesis? “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! . . . Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”4 Where the enemy sought guilt and condemnation, God proclaimed salvation and forgiveness.

Does this mean God marginalizes sin? Quite the opposite, Christ died to paid its price and lives to give us life. “If anybody does sin,” wrote John, “we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins.”5 For as Paul taught us, “in Christ God [reconciled] the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them.”6 Then He sent His Holy Spirit to “convict the world regarding sin.”7 But God’s purpose in pointing out our wrong is to call us away from the chaos of sin and turn us back to Himself in truth, peace and joy as the people of His highest affection. He draws us into His Word “to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.”8 This is the way of the Father, and love is the tone of His voice. We need not be afraid, but to listen, understand, and respond.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.9 Amen.

1 Paul Nordman, Christ in Me, (Maitland, Florida: Xulon Press), 13.
2 Zechariah 3:1
3 Revelation 12:10
4 Zechariah 3:2
5 1 John 2:1
6 2 Corinthians 5:19 ESV
7 John 16:8 NSAB
8 2 Timothy 3:16 NLT
9 Psalm 139:23-24

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