Call to the Bar
The next post in my Complementarity & Mutuality series, originally scheduled for this Friday, explains what complementarians see as the Bible’s teaching on marriage and sex. However, I want to be sensitive to the Chick Fil A uproar, so I’m going to put the series on hold until sometime next week.
We don’t have Chick Fil A in Canada. (I’ve never had a waffle fry in my life. Is it a fry that looks like a waffle? I don’t even know what it is!) What’s more, the religious/political scene here is markedly different than south of the border. As an outsider, I can see how the “proper Christian response” can be argued from multiple angles, so I won’t even attempt to offer an opinion. But in the meantime, I want to share some news that I’m really excited about. Guess what? I get to go to a call to the bar!
I’m so excited! Tomorrow, I get to go to my oldest son’s Bar Call! Not “bar”—as in the place people go to have a drink; but “Bar”—as in the legal profession. In the ceremony, Clark will get to wear a fancy black robe and starched white collar for the first time, and the Judge will formally invite him to step past the barrier into the area of the courtroom reserved for lawyers.
Every courtroom is divided into two parts by a barrier known as the bar. The bar may be an actual railing, or an imaginary barrier. Apart from the parties to the case and any witnesses, only the lawyers are allowed to physically walk past the bar. Court personnel and jury members usually enter through separate doors. This is the reason why the term “the bar” has come to refer to the legal profession as a whole.
Soon, all Clark’s hard work will be rewarded. He will officially become a lawyer (Barrister & Solicitor)—an advocate who is authorized to represent clients, argue cases, and “approach the bench” when summoned by the Judge. Mama couldn’t be more proud!!!
Court Room Language
The Bible uses court room language when it talks about the predicament of sinners. All of us have broken God’s laws and deserve punishment. There’s no question that I am “guilty as charged.” The Judge is obligated by law to execute justice and pass judgment on my crime. My treason deserves the death sentence. That’s extremely bad news.
But there’s good news too. Though the Judge strictly adheres to the letter of the Law, He’s actually a big “softie.” He has a tender, compassionate heart. He’s obligated to dole out punishment to fit the crime, but He offers me a “gift”—a way out of my dire predicament. I can opt to put my faith in the Judge’s beloved son, Jesus, “who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.” (Romans 4:25) The Judge kindly offers me the option of having Jesus serve as my advocate.
An Advocate Like No Other
Jesus is an advocate like no other. Not only does Jesus act as a trial lawyer in representing my case before the Judge, He also has the ability to be my substitute, and bear the punishment in my stead. Only this particular advocate can stand-in for me like this. Through faith in Jesus, my crime is atoned for, and I am “justified”—made right—in God’s eyes.
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.” (Romans 3:21–24)
“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)
Merely the thought of the mercy that allows Christ to stand in as my Advocate is enough to make my eyes well up with tears. And I may just let out a tear and a sniffle in the Courtroom tomorrow, as I watch my oldest son get called to the Bar, into the profession that stands as a small, imperfect, visible symbol of what goes on in the Great Courtroom of God.
A Prayer for the Occasion
Clark: No lawyer is an advocate like Jesus. But in honor of that Great Advocate, I pray that you will demonstrate a deep respect for the law and the legal profession, that you may serve your clients and the cause of truth and justice well, and that you will always conduct yourself with integrity, humility, and compassion in emulation of the One in whose shadow you practice.
I love you son, and am SO proud of you!!! 😀