January 20, 2016
Romans 8:26, 27
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
We are exploring the ministry of the Holy Spirit as an intercessor. The 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
Looking at each part of the verse, we just completed in the last blog, “For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought….” Often, in light of what seems to be overpowering situations, we just don’t know what to say concerning ourselves, family, friends, nation, and world…
• Romans 8:26 – “…but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” The Holy Spirit intercedes for us! But in Hebrews 7:25 we are told: “Therefore He [Jesus] is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He ever lives to make intercession for them.” So who is it that makes intercession for us? Is it Jesus or the Holy Spirit?
In John 14:16 and 17 the Lord told His disciples, “…I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He will abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth….” The word another in the Greek is ‘allon,’ and means “Another of like kind” (Robertson’s Word Pictures). The Sermon Bible Commentary explains it this way:
The Holy Spirit is promised as another Comforter. This surely indicates, not
a new office to be discharged, but an old one, or one already subsisting, to be
discharged by a new person….The ministry is the same though another minis-
ter is to be employed in it. The work is the same, though a new and different
workman is to be engaged about it.
The Holy Spirit is called “…the Spirit of truth….” And Jesus is “…the way, the truth, and the life….” Both are fully God! So much are Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit like one another that, when it is the Spirit who dwells in us as Christians, Paul can say, “…Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27). So when the Spirit is making intercession for us, there is no discrepancy that it is Jesus who is also interceding!
As far as Jesus being on earth, He was self-restricted to a human body. He could only be at one place at one time! And while He could minister to thousands (see Matthew 16:9, 10), there were/are multiple millions who need His presence! The Holy Spirit, being spirit, does not have the physical limitations of a body (see Luke 24:39). So He can be “…the fulness of the Godhead bodily…” (Colossians 2:9) in all believers at the same time!
• Romans 8:26 – “…with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Here is the phrase that I often hear to be misunderstood, especially among Pentecostals and Charismatics. They say, “When I don’t know how to pray, I just pray in tongues, with groanings which cannot be uttered!” But it is the Spirit who so prays, not us! How can any human being utter groans which cannot be uttered?
• Romans 8:27 – “Now He who searches the hearts….” In Jeremiah 17:10 God declares, “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” And in Hebrews 4:13 He tells us, “…there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” You cannot hide anything from God! (See Psalm 139:1-16).
• Romans 8:27 – “…He…knows what the mind of the Spirit is….” Since the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all perfectly attuned to one another, of course the Father and the Son will know exactly what the intercedings of the Spirit would be!
• Romans 8:27 – “…because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” This is why it is so encouraging to me to know the Holy Spirit is interceding on my behalf. Too often I ask for the wrong thing! If God gave me that for which I asked, it might be a detriment to my Christian life!
I remember the summer of 1976. My wife and I had found a place to live – 16 acres north of Scranton, Pennsylvania, on which to homestead. The towering spruce trees, the run-down mobile home which I could fix up, the hand-dug well, the shed we could use for goats (yes, we were a back-to-the-land family common 40 years ago!) – it was perfect – at least to my mind! And I remember telling the Lord in effect, “I don’t care what you want! I want this!” And I could later just imagine God answering, “You want it? You got it!” So many things went wrong – the well went dry, the roof leaked like a sieve, underground springs made the driveway impassable and the lawn unnavigable, income from my new sales career didn’t come in as expected, and a dozen other things – by Spring I was pleading with the Lord to take it all away! In His graciousness, He did! And I was called to pastor my second church!
I would much rather have God answer the intercession of the Holy Spirit which is according to His own will! Let the Holy Spirit do His ministry, and just follow His leading!