Thursday, September 6, 2012

Understanding Romans 8:26-27

Romans 8:26 – 27 “26 Likewise the Spirit also helps 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. 27 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 of God.” (Nelson, 1893 New King James Version)

The central idea in Romans 8:26-27 is the Spirit aids believers by expressing to the Father what we ought to say but cannot articulate. Notice Paul does not affirm the Spirit gives these words to us. These verses are not about our becoming eloquent in prayer. The Holy Spirit intercedes for us by relating to God what we cannot adequately express. He speaks for us in these cases, disclosing the contents and needs of our heart.

Basically what Paul was saying is that creation and believers are sighing or groaning over the fallen state of mankind and that all of creation is longing for the “manifestations of the sons of God” and for “the glorious liberty of the children of God (vs. 21,19).” We all are groaning under the weight of our fallen state (waiting for our bodies to be redeemed), but Paul is bringing out that we are not alone because “likewise” the Holy Ghost (Spirit) is groaning over the same thing.

 “Groanings – stenagmos (sten-ag-mos) a sigh

                “Which cannot be uttered” – alaletos (al-al-ay-tos); unspeakable

                “Utterance” – apophtheggomai (ap-of-theng’-om-ahee) – to enunciate plainly, i.e. declare; to say, speak forth (Enunciate means to “pronounce–words, sentences, etc.–especially in an articulate or a particular manner; to state or declare definitely; to announce or proclaim.”

During that period they did not have the conveniences of modern day Bibles and technology we are equipped with today.  They had the letters that were presented to the church.  The vast difference in that period of time and now shows that the relationship between us today and them (the past) with the Holy Spirit still stands true today.

Theological principle in this text is that the Holy Spirit helps us pray when we just have utterance. The word for "intercedes" is found only here in the New Testament.  It means, "meet, to turn to, approach, appeal, petition."  This is work of our Helper, the Holy Spirit Himself .

Paul’s words should inspire great comfort and courage in the hearts of believers today, as they must have for the letter’s original recipients. What is a father to say in prayer as he kneels by the hospital bed of his terminally ill child? How do we adequately give thanks for the greatness of the salvation God gives to us in Christ.  As a believer, we are not left to our own resources to cope with problems.  Even when we don’t have the right words to pray, the Holy Spirit prays with and for us, and God answers.  With God helping us pray, we don’t need to be afraid to come before him.  Ask the Holy Spirit to intercede for you “in harmony with God’s own will.”  Then, we bring are request to God, we can have faith the he will always do what is best.   This is the message of Romans 8:26-27. It is a message of victory.     


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