To intercede means to plead or appeal on behalf of someone – He represents us before God! Verse 26 tells us that He does this in a way that cannot be expressed in human language – often this is a deep sense of longing or dependence upon God which we fail to express in words – when that is our experience we know that the Holy Spirit is pleading for us in the presence of the Father. This verse does not support the idea of praying in tongues – praying in the Spirit, as some suggest. The New Testament is clear that “tongues” is a sign-gift for unbelievers (particularly for 1st century Jews) and never speaks about tongues being used in worship or in prayer to God. Furthermore, verse 27 shows that this intercession produces “groanings” in the heart, which is clearly not a description of speaking in tongues”.Incidentally, this passage disproves what some teach that the Father, Son & Holy Spirit are just different representations of the same person. Here we see the Father and the Spirit actively communicating together, showing that they are two distinct persons.
Just as it is helpful to think of present suffering in terms of our future glory, it is important to remember that God’s purpose for us is from eternity past! If God has promised a glorious future, and was planning for us individually in the past of eternity, can’t we trust Him for the present?
If Christ has defeated even death, none of these lesser things can separate us from His love. In fact even the sword – to be martyred for Christ – will not separate us from His love, but will bring us into His presence for ever.
As Paul already said in Romans 5, we glory in tribulations, because they produce godly character in us. Although an unsaved person may be able to manage through trials and difficulties, they know nothing of Christ-likeness through the trial. The believer, however, not only survives, but conquers – even more than conquers through Him who loved us!Neither the fear of death, nor the temptations of life can frustrate God’s purposeThere is no spirit-being, however good or evil, that can separate from God’s loveThere is nothing in this life, nor in the next that can harm usThere is nothing from Heaven above, nor even from hell beneath which can snatch us from His handIn all of the universe, if there is any other thing not covered above – it is unable to remove us from God’s eternal love.In this chapter we have seen that God, by the Holy Spirit has come to dwell in the believer, making him a child of God. As a child of God we have God-given confidence that we will inherit every purpose of God for us, and we have the power to live now for His glory. Not only that, but we know that God will complete the redemption which He began in us when we trusted Christ, knowing that His purposes for us had their origin in eternity. In the meantime we have the Holy Spirit to help us, interceding as he does with the Father for us. Nothing – nothing can separate us from God’s love, for He chose us and called us to Himself in grace!
Paul’s Letter to the Romans The Holy Spirit as the Power for Holy Living – Part 2: The Holy Spirit helps us through Suffering for God (Chap. 8:18-39)
Your Questions? Any Questions from last topic or from preparation for today?
Review The Gospel Introduced (Romans 1:1 – 1:15) The Gospel Defined (Romans 1:16-17) The Good News of God-Righteousness to all who believe on Christ The Universal Need for Righteousness (Romans 1:18 – 3:20) The Basis and Terms of the Gospel (Romans 3:21-31) RIGHTEOUSNESS, JUSTIFICATION, REDEMPTION, PROPITIATION, GRACE, FAITH
Review (continued) The Agreement of the Gospel with the Old Testament (Romans 4) The Practical Benefits of the Gospel (Romans 5:1-11) The Victory of Christ’s Work over Adam’s Sin (Romans 5:12-21) The Gospel’s Way to Holy Living (Romans 6) The Place of the Law in the Believer's Life (Romans 7) The Holy Spirit as the Power for Holy Living – He makes us Sons of God (Romans 8:1-17)
The Holy Spirit helps us through Suffering – Glorification (Future) Read Romans 8:18 Discuss what Paul means when he says that our present sufferings are not worthy to be compared with our future glory When we attain our future glory with Christ, our present sufferings will seem so small that they are not worth comparing! We ought always to remember that even though our present difficulties seem great, as children of God (v16) and joint-heirs with Christ (v17) we are certainly going to inherit all that God has for us! Read Romans 8:19-22 Discuss what it means that creation was subjected to futility (vanity or frustration) and to bondage of corruption (v20-21) God cursed the ground because of Adam’s sin (Gen 3:17-19) and since then it has never yielded its potential – the creation is frustrated because the one who was to subdue creation sinned and brought a curse. Why does creation eagerly await the glorious revealing of the sons of God? When redeemed mankind is finally glorified then the effects of the curse will be removed and creation will be delivered too (v21)
Glorification (Future) - continued Read Romans 8:23-25 A person consists of body, soul & spirit. Which part of a saved person is still waiting redemption? A person who is “in Christ” is truly saved, for they have the Spirit of Christ (the Holy Spirit) dwelling in them, but their body is still to be redeemed (v23) Paul calls this “the adoption” when we will finally be placed in our position as Sons of God. (Adoption is used in other passages to mean being brought into relationship with God.) In v23, what guarantee does a believer have that God will complete this redemption? We have the “firstfruits” of the Spirit – the promise of the full harvest to come! According to v25, how can this knowledge help us daily? The hope (confidence) that we will be glorified helps us to endure suffering below.
Intercession (Present) Read Romans 8:26-27 What help does the believer have when he does not know what to pray? When we are struggling to know God’s will or to express ourselves in prayer we can rely upon the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us. How do we know that such intercession is heard by God (v27) The intercession of the Holy Spirit is really communion between two persons of the Trinity, taking place in the heart of the believer! The Father, who searches men’s hearts, knows the groanings the Spirit has produced there, for the Spirit always intercedes according to the Father’s will.
Predestination (Past) Read Romans 8:28-30 How can we be sure that God is presently using every circumstance of life for our good? We can be sure because God’s working with us now is part of a plan which began in eternity! What are the four steps of God’s plan in v29-30? Foreknowledge – means to know a person (not just knowing beforehand) Predestination – means that God planned beforehand that believers should be exactly like His Son Calling – God worked in the heart by the Holy Spirit to produce true repentance and faith in Christ Glorification – the ultimate complete of salvation – being completely like Christ in sinless humanity
No Separation from God’s love Read Romans 8:31-32 What reason does Paul give for saying that God will graciously give us “all things”? God has already paid the highest price possible for our salvation – He delivered up His own Son to the shame and death of the cross. Read Romans 8:33-36 If God has justified us, can anyone bring a charge of sin against us? It is impossible! According to v33 we are God’s chosen ones – who can question our righteousness if God has declared us righteous? If Christ has died and is now risen to the right hand of God to intercede for us there, who can separate us from His love? That too is impossible! Christ has conquered death and the grave – he has died to sin and risen again – for us.
No Separation from God’s love – continued Read Romans 8:37-39 Why do you think Paul says we are “more than conquerors” in all these things? Not only does the believer have power to endure these hardships, but in doing so we grow closer to Christ, becoming more like Him. What do you think Paul meant when he said these things cannot separate us from God’s love? Death, or Life Angels, Principalities or Powers Things present, or things to come Height, or Depth Any other created thing What do these verses say to you above the believer’s security in Christ, and their ability to live a holy life for God?
For next time: Duty as a believer – Romans 12:1-21 Try to read the passage two or three times before our next meeting Think about what the passage says about Self-sacrifice Spiritual Gifts Christian behaviour Think carefully about your position before God Read pages 101 - 107 in Alive and Free Write down any QUESTIONS YOU WOULD LIKE TO ASK