January 18, 2016
Romans 8:26, 27
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
I find too often Christians either do not know the role the Holy Spirit plays in their lives, or they misinterpret Scriptures that inform them of that role. One such Scripture is Romans 8:26 and 27:
Likewise the Spirit also helps us in our weaknesses. For we do not
know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself
makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit
is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will
Let’s take this in its parts:
• Romans 8:26 – “Likewise….” This points back to what Paul has laid out for his readers in previous statements in Romans, especially in chapter 8.
* Romans 8:1-4 – “There is now no condemnation…” for believers in Jesus Christ because He has fulfilled the requirements of the law before God, and “…Jesus has made…[us] free from the law of sin and death…” by His sacrifice on our behalf on the cross.
* Romans 8:5-14 – Our lives must then be lived out by the power of the Holy Spirit within us to be pleasing to God. We are to constantly win the battle between the sinful flesh nature and God’s nature – both within us – by relying on the Spirit to lead us and give us victory.
* Romans 8:15, 16 – We, as Christians, are never to live in “…the spirit of bondage again to fear…,” because we are adopted as God’s full children – “The Spirit Himself bear[ing] witness…”! We are to be so close to Him as His sons and daughters, that we can even “…cry out, Abba, Father…” – Abba being roughly equivalent to ‘Daddy!’
* Romans 8:17-25 – We have the promise not only of new eternal bodies free from “…the sufferings of this present time…,” but also the promise of a renewed creation.
“Likewise…” – in the same way as our loving Father gives us so many other blessings…
• Romans 8:26 – …He also gives us “…the Spirit…help[ing]…us in our weaknesses.” We have a lot of weaknesses, especially evident if we rely on our own direction and strength. I have struggled with several addictions over my lifetime – food, nicotine, alcohol, drugs, pornography – and I found it practically impossible to overcome compulsive/ addictive behavior until I gave up and let the Holy Spirit work out His victory within me!
• Romans 8:26 – And what is one of our weaknesses to which Paul is referring? “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought….” Just consider those things for which we need to pray:
* Our own struggles to overcome our weaknesses.
* The challenges facing our loved ones – often related to their need to surrender to the Lord, and their stubborn refusal to do so.
* The direction of our personal mission in this life.
* The complexities of world – terrorism, uprooted societies, large scale immigration, differences between dominate nations and cultures.
* The problems facing our own country and the leadership we need to solve national challenges.
…How do we pray? What do we say?
We will explore Paul’s answer in our next blog on Wednesday.