Friday, December 16, 2016, 9:55 p.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “When in the Stillness.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Romans 8:26-39 (Select vv. ESV).
He Intercedes for Us (vv. 26-27)
Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
Who is the “us” spoken of in this passage of scripture? First of all, we are those who are in Christ Jesus by faith in him. We are those who do not live according to the sinful nature (in lifestyle), but according to the Spirit. We have our minds set (fixed) on what the Spirit desires, not on what our sinful nature desires. We walk in obedience to our Lord, and live to please him – not in absolute sinless perfection, but as those whose lives are surrendered to their Lord. We are no longer controlled by the sinful nature, but we are now slaves of righteousness. We have been crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we have been resurrected with him to newness of life (new birth). By the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of our sinful flesh, so that we might live with Christ for eternity. And, we are those who are being led (guided) by the Spirit of God. [Summary of Romans 8:1-17.]
The Spirit helps us in our weakness. When we are going through difficult times, and we don’t know what to pray, he intercedes for us. I know that there have been times in my life when all I could pray was “help,” and he helped. But, he intercedes for us according to the will of God. In other words, he is not going to help us to disobey God or to give us something we want to use for our sinful pleasures. So, he is not going to help us if we are not committed to the will of God for our lives. If we pray for help, but we resist God and quench his Spirit, and we continue to do what we know displeases our Lord, then we can’t expect help from God. He knows our prayer is not sincere, in that case. God won’t help us if we slam the door in his face, in other words. We have to be open to the will of God for our lives.
He Works for Our Good (vv. 28-30)
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
So, who are those who love God? Jesus said that if we love him, we will keep his word (Jn. 14:23-24; cf. 1 Jn. 2:3-6). The Apostle John said that to love God means to obey his Word (1 Jn. 5:3; cf. 1 Jn. 3:24). This is not to say that we will never disobey (never sin), but it is to say that walking in obedience to our Lord and to his Word should be the normal course of our Christian walks of faith. This should be our daily practice.
If we love God, he works all things together for our good. So, what is for our good? It is whatever pleases God and brings glory to his name, and that which grows us in our faith, matures us in Christ, makes us holy, conforms us to the image of Christ, and what leads us to love God with all our hearts, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. What is for our good is what we need, i.e. what is necessary in our lives to make us more like Jesus. What we may want may not be what is best for us, so God will work all things for what is in our best interest, i.e. for what will draw us closer to him.
So, what does it mean to be called according to his purpose? What is his purpose? Well, his purpose for us, and for which he died, is that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. His purpose is to make us holy, set apart (unlike, different) from the world, because we being conformed to Christ’s likeness. His purpose is that we listen to him, and that we follow (obey) him, and that we do his will. His grace is not a free license to continue in sin. Instead, it teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Christ’s return. This, too, is his purpose to which he has called us (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Jn. 10:27-30; Tit. 2:11-14).
Who Can Be Against Us? (vv. 31-38)
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
Just because we love God and we are called according to his purpose, it does not mean people won’t be against us. They will, because Jesus said so. So, it isn’t that we won’t have people opposing us, but that God is going to supply us with everything we need to endure, to persevere, to resist Satan, to flee temptation, and to draw near to God. He will give us the courage, the determination, the stamina and the power of the Holy Spirit to keep on obeying him, and doing his will, even in the face of the fiercest of persecution and rejection, and even in the face of death for the sake of his name. No enemy can thwart the perfect will of God. God will prevail!
For those of us who love God, even though our enemies may do all kinds of evil against us, they cannot separate us from God’s love. Amen! Our God will never leave us or forsake us. He will always be there giving us courage, comfort, encouragement, counsel, direction, and instructions in the way we should go. He is absolutely sovereign over every aspect of our lives, and he is in control over all things. Nothing will touch us but what God allows it, and he allows it for a purpose, so we need to surrender our lives to him, and allow him to do his work in our lives and through our lives for his glory.
We are More Than Conquerors (vv. 37-39)
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
The ”us” and the “we” in all of this is the “us” we talked about here at the beginning of this writing. We are the ones who can’t be separated from the love of God that he has for those who are his; for those of us who are in Christ Jesus, by faith in him. While it is true that God so loved the world that he gave his Only Begotten Son for the whole world, there is a special love that God has for those who are his, in that he provides for us his Holy Spirit for our comfort, care, nurturing, counsel, empowering and strength, etc.
We are the ones who are conquerors over Satan and sin and spiritual forces of evil. We are the ones who victorious over all of Satan’s evil schemes that he devises against us, when we choose to put on the armor of God to fight off his evil schemes. We don’t have to go this alone. God is always with us.
When in The Stillness / An Original Work / September 26, 2011
When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.
While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.
Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.