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Romans 8:26-28 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Montgomery   


"Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8:26-28

It seems that these three verses comprise one paragraph.  I take it to mean that the thoughts of these three verses probably are meant to be taken as a whole and that they support one another in making a unified point.  I have long considered v. 26-27 to be talking about the efficacy of the Holy Spirit in prayer.  For instance, when I don’t know the right words to say, the Spirit takes the groanings of my regenerated heart (i.e., the new creature) and presents them to the Father in accordance with His will.  Upon further study and meditation, I feel there is much more to it than just that.  The task is to see how these verses fit the context of Romans 8 and, in actuality, all of Romans.  When considered from that point of view, I begin
to see a greater deeper richer facet of the truth than that which I thought I saw.

“Likewise the Spirit…” The Apostle shows that the Spirit does something similar for us to what hope does.  “Likewise” means “moreover, in that manner.”  In that manner which hope saves us, the Spirit helps us.

The Spirit “shares” our “feebleness of body or mind” in the following manner.  The colon mark means that the following statement shows a concrete example of our infirmities and how the Spirit helps us.  Our infirmity is that we don’t know what to ask for, as we ought.

The word “know” (Gk. Eido) is the same Greek word used in v. 28 for “know”. We know not what (it does not say: “not how”) we should pray for. The verbal phrase “should pray” is in the subjunctive mood indicating whatsoever we should now possibly pray for.

The born again child of God, being in a state of feebleness because of the infirmity of the flesh, is in dire need of assistance from God.  Yet it does not know what things are essential and therefore does not know what to ask God for and consequently does not know even how to ask for them.  If you don’t know exactly what you need but you know you need something, then you have the infirmity of which Paul speaks here.  It is the very Spirit of God that intercedes for us on our behalf by first putting within us the urge to pray (i.e. communicate) to our Father for help.

This is how the Spirit helps us.  He “groans” within our spirit meaning He speaks to our Heaven born spirit in a language for which no mortal tongue can tell, but our inner man understands and feels.  Our spirit groans in reaction to the groanings of the Holy Spirit.  These groanings, being stimulated by the Holy Ghost, the very third Person of the Godhead, obviously are in perfect harmony with the will of God.  The Father, who is the one who searches our heart in which the Spirit stimulates these groanings, responds to them and answers them with a reaffirmation of His eternal love to us.

The inner man groans for release from “the body of this death.”  It yearns for escape from the vanity to which God subjected it.  The same God who subjects the inner man to vanity also subjects it to hope.  This hope is the earnest expectation that waits for the manifestation of the sons of God in eternal glory.  God is the one who makes us groan for deliverance from our vanity and deliverance to the object of our hope.

Since it is He who makes us groan, it is He who responds to us that we will certainly be delivered.  God answers these groanings because they are in accordance with the will of God.  God constantly reassures those who do groan that they will certainly be delivered.

This is the same manner in which our hope does now presently save us.  We do not possess the finality of our redemption, so we earnestly hope for it and we groan for it.  It is none other than God Himself, through the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Ghost, which makes us to hope and to groan for that for which we do earnestly expect to come to pass.  It is God who will and does answer the groanings of His children by assuring us constantly of the certainty of it.

Because of this, we can then wait with patience for our expected end.  It is because of the intercessory work of the Holy Ghost that we are able to look beyond the sufferings of life and know that God’s eternal purpose, as defined in Romans 8:29-30, will safely bring all of God’s Elect safely to Heaven and Immortal Glory.  God makes sure that we groan, and this groaning is evidence that we are His Elect.

This groaning is a desire that will be satisfied.  God gave us the desire, and He will make sure it will come to pass.  “Hope deferred maketh the heart sick: but when the desire cometh, it is a tree of life.” (Prov. 13:12)  One of these days our hope will bear its eternal fruit.  The reality of it will have arrived and we will no longer need to hope for it.  Until then, we ache for its fruition.  This ache is the result of God stimulating us to yearn for eternal glory.

Romans 8:28 is God’s answer to those who are groaning for deliverance.  In this verse, the Apostle assures us that our groanings are not in vain.  The groanings are heaven sent and those who do groan are heaven bound because God has so arranged things that all His Elect will receive that for which they do groan.  The response of God to those who groan is that He has an eternal purpose which embraces all His Elect.

We must always remember that the “all things” always “work together” for the eternal “good” of all the Elect.  In this sense, tribulations cannot be a part of the “all things” because God did not purpose tribulations to work together for our eternal good.  This eternal good is what we ache for. Tribulations enhance this ache.  The more we are troubled the more we yearn
to be set free.

Because God has set this hope in us, we rejoice in confident expectation of receiving the end of our hope.  Knowing this, the Apostle Paul states that the tribulations of life, whatsoever they may be or however they originate, cause our inner man to ache for deliverance.  Tribulations are not by themselves an evidence of grace, but the effect those tribulations have on us certainly are.  If, in every tribulation, we are made to yearn for God and Heaven, then we have assurance we belong to Him.

If we will keep this in mind, we will be able to meet the next adversity in a hopeful manner based now on the knowledge that came from our previous experience with adversity.  The hopefulness with which we meet the ensuing adversity, is not that we will be delivered from it, but that one of these days we will be in a place free of adversity.  This is how our hope presently now saves us.  Because of the knowledge the Holy Ghost gives us that there is something awaiting us that is too good for words, we are able to see beyond the present distress and bear our temporal adversities.

There is no guarantee of temporal deliverance from tribulations.  The only guarantee of deliverance is eternal deliverance.  We may not receive salvation from the present distress of our temporal lives.  We may, for example, die at an early age.  Even so, we will be like those of Hebrews 11:35, “and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection.”  The better resurrection is guaranteed to all of God’s Elect.

Mike Montgomery

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