Most people don’t have the gift of confession. When people sin, they keep those sins close to their heart. Spilling our guts isn’t the first response when we sin against God and others. But what is the proper response? John says that Jesus is our advocate with the Father when we sin: “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” (1 John 2:1 ESV).
When we sin, Jesus should be the first one we turn to in confession. Jesus is our advocate when we sin. In other words, he will make the right judgment because he is close to us. That’s what an advocate is. It’s someone who tells someone else what to do in a time of crisis. Their judgment in the matter is important because they intimately know the person for whom they are advocating.
John goes on to say that people who say they know Jesus but don’t keep his commandments are liars. So how do we really know Jesus, our advocate when we sin? “By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1 John 2:5, 6). The more we look like Jesus the more we know him, and the more we know him the more we look like him.