Justice, Not Mercy


1 John 2:1 says:

But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

The Bible says that Jesus Christ didn’t just die for you. He stands beside you as your lawyer. When you sin, what does Jesus say to the Father? “Oh Father, they’ve sinned. They are guilty. But have mercy on them.” Is that what Jesus says as your advocate? No! You don’t hire a lawyer so you can plead guilty and grovel for mercy. You want a lawyer to plead a case.

When a Christian sins, Christ stands before the Father saying, “Your law demands justice and payment, and I have paid. I do not ask for mercy. I demand justice. And justice demands acquittal.”

In confessing our sins, we trust the gospel promise, that there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ. We are also confessing that though our sins no longer condemn us, they do break fellowship with our Father, and we long to be close to him.

Non-Christian, as you hear us confess our sins, understand this: nothing is more important than to recognize your own need for mercy and to see Christ dying in your place, receiving God’s justice, so that he can welcome and receive you. So, even this is an invitation, to come and trust Christ.

This reminds us of our need to confess our sins, so let’s pray.


Gracious Father,

We know that heaven is your throne, and earth is your footstool. You are great and glorious beyond our ability to comprehend. But we also know that you hear the prayers of poor and humble sinners such as us.

You’ve given us two commandments and we’ve broken both of them. We have not loved you completely, and we have not loved our neighbor as we love ourselves. And we could confess specific sins all day until night turned back into morning. Your word speaks truly when it says that we’ve become wise in doing evil. (Jer. 4:22) From the white lies we told this week to the war across the ocean, we can see that all have fallen short of your standard (Rom. 3:23) and there is none righteous (3:10).

Father, we know that if we say, “Amen,’ to this prayer while still regarding sin in our hearts this prayer will be useless to us, so hear us as we silently confess our individual sins to you now.

Father, according to the multitude of your tender mercies, blot out our transgressions. Wash us and make us clean. (Psalm 51:1-2) Thank you that you have not repaid us according to our sins (Ps. 103:10), but instead have chosen to show mercy. We pray now that your kindness would lead us to even greater repentance (Romans 2:4)

And we ask all this in the strong and mighty name of Jesus, Amen.

ASSURANCE OF PARDON – Ezekiel 36:25-26

25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. 26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.

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