Every person who has been born of the Holy Spirit by declaring his faith in Jesus as the Christ and by believing that God raised Jesus from the dead knows that his life is no longer his own. All “born again” believers know that without the sinless life, sacrificial death, and resurrection of Jesus, they stand condemned before God because of their sin. But the gift of new life through faith in Jesus makes them free from sin and free to serve God by allowing God to use them as vessels of His love to reach others.
Ephesians 2:8-10 makes it clear that we are not saved by good works, but that we are saved to do “good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” Certainly, the “good works” include the same works that Jesus did (John 14:12) such as preaching and teaching the Word of God. But can one be called to a ministry in law, or what some call “secular” professions? The answer is definitely “yes” and when it comes to law, here are some reasons why.
Jesus as the Advocate
Jesus told us to do the things He did and to teach others about the Kingdom of God (Matthew 28:18-20). His directives are for our benefit and by doing what He told us to do, we will experience the “abundant life” He died to give us (John 10:10). If we look at what Jesus did and what He is still doing, we see He is an advocate. Jesus defended the woman caught in the act of adultery and He is our advocate before the Father when we sin (I John 2:1). Jesus is our defender against the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 12:10).
Christians trained in law can be an advocate as Jesus was and is. A lawyer, as an advocate, speaks before a judge on behalf of another person. The lawyer presents the facts and articulates the law to be applied. He refutes the accusations of one attempting to do evil and advocates for the truth.
Whether as a criminal prosecutor or defense attorney, the lawyers role is to be an advocate for his client by making sure that the facts are properly presented and that the law is correctly applied. The lawyer is not the judge to pronounce judgment of guilt or innocence, but is a spokesperson for the one who chooses not to speak for himself. In a similar way, lawyers who represent clients in civil cases are to present the facts accurately and persuasively to convince the judge or jury to do justice by correctly applying the law.
Jesus as the Counselor
The prophet Isaiah proclaimed the Messiah would be Counselor and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Jesus certainly was the Counselor, who helped people understand their sinful state and proclaimed the need to be reconciled to God through repentance from sin and faith toward God. Jesus did not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be save or reconciled to God (John 3:17).
Counseling involves helping people “see” the lies they believe that are producing destructive consequences in their lives. Counseling involves speaking the truth in love with the goal of reconciliation, freedom, and restoration. Jesus gave each of us the ministry of reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:19) and if we help people abide in Jesus, they shall know the truth and the truth will make them free (John 8:31-32). Plus, we are commanded to help restore those who have sinned or who are in conflict with others (Galatians 6:1; Matthew 18:15-17).
These are also roles of an attorney. His goal is to avoid, resolve, and help heal conflicts caused through sin and wrong choices. A Christian lawyer has a tremendous opportunity to be a counselor of reconciliation between parties, as well as being a counselor regarding the law.
Jesus as the Judge
Government leaders in some countries are called “ministers” with respect to certain areas of responsibility. For example, a minister of finance oversees the financial affairs of a nation. This perspective is from the teaching of the Apostle Paul recorded in Romans 13:1-4. A civil ruler is a “minister of God to thee for good.” This includes judges, legislators, and civil executives and most of such people are lawyers.
We know that Jesus did not come the first time to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). However, we know that on the Day of the Lord, Jesus will judge the living and the dead according to the perfect standard of God (II Timothy 4:1). For those whose names are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life because of their faith is Jesus as Savior, they are deemed guiltless. But for all others, the judgment is eternal death and separation from God (John 3:18).
As Jesus is a judge, lawyers who are judges should make righteous judgments according to the law. All lawyers are officers of the court and have corresponding ethical duties, but lawyers who are in positions of civil authority are especially ministers of justice applying the truth to situations to do justice.
While all Christians should have an understanding of law, some are called to do “good works” in law and government as attorneys. With a renewed mind about law, a Christian attorney can fulfill the roles of being an advocate, counselor, and minister. This is the mission of Oak Brook College of Law: training “advocates of truth, a counselors of reconciliation, and ministers of justice,” whether as legal assistants or practicing lawyers.