(This is an excerpt from the blog, “Laboring in the Lord,” by Pastor Jon Clayton, whom I am privilege to call my friend. This is just one of the many excellent studies he has on his blog and I couldn’t help but post it for your edification. You can read his blog at http://laboringinthelord.com). Grace and peace…
“For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance. (Romans 8:24-25, NKJV)
God has promised that a believer’s body will finally be delivered from sin and its effects by the work of His Son. Those who respond by faith to that promise have hope, a confident expectation of that bodily redemption (cf. Galatians 5:5). This is the final step of salvation and it was in that anticipation that we were saved. The redemption of the body obviously has not yet occurred (Who hopes for what he already has?), but it is hoped for and eagerly anticipated with steadfast endurance (patiently is literally, through endurance) in present sufferings (v. 18).
These verses point out that believers are not left to their own resources in their sufferings (v. 18) and groaning (v. 23). The Spirit helps (present tense, keeps on helping) us in our weakness. It is not that the Spirit helps in those occasional times when Christians are weak; their state is one of weakness and the Spirit continually helps them.
One evidence of their weakness is the fact that Christians do not know what we ought to pray. In their weakness both the content and the manner of proper prayer eludes them, but the Spirit Himself comes to their rescue and intercedes (present tense, keeps on interceding) for us with groans that words cannot express. Natural Creation groans (v 22) and believers groan (v 23), and so does the Holy Spirit. This has nothing to do with praying in tongues, as some suggest. The groaning is done by the Holy Spirit, not believers, and is not stated in words. The help the Spirit gives (v 26) is His interceding. Intercedes translates hyperentynchanei, which occurs only here in the New Testament; it means approaches or appeals to someone. The One who searches our hearts is God (1 Samuel 16:7; Hebrews 4:13), and He knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will. Even though the Spirit’s words are not expressed, the Father knows what the Spirit is thinking. This is an interesting statement about the Father’s omniscience and the intimacy within the Trinity. The Lord Jesus continually intercedes for believers in God’s presence (Hebrews 7:25) and the Holy Spirit also intercedes on their behalf! Though believers are ignorant of what to pray for and how to voice those requests, the Spirit voices their requests for them.
Think It Through
I am grateful for the hope we have in Christ.
I am grateful for the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit…