The Spirit Intercedes for the Saints

Romans 8:16-17 ESV

“The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”

It was God’s will that Jesus Christ should suffer and die for us on that cross so that we would be delivered from our slavery to sin and so we would be given new lives in Christ Jesus free from the control of sin and Satan, and so we would be empowered by God to live godly and holy lives. For Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to his righteousness.

So, we are called of God to suffer with him, both in his death to sin and in his persecutions for the sake of righteousness, and so that we learn obedience from the things that we suffer, like he did, and so we share in our Lord’s holiness. And suffering produces endurance, character, and hope. And we suffer so we are compassionate with others in their suffering, etc.

Suffering is necessary for the follower of Jesus, but the specific suffering being referred to here, I believe, has to do with us dying with Christ to sin and us denying self and the flesh to walk in obedience to our Lord. And it has to do with being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, too. For if we are following the Lord in his ways, he says we will be hated and persecuted as he was.

But let’s go back to the preceding verses here so that we get the proper context. We are not to walk any longer according to the flesh but according to the Spirit, so there is a denying of the flesh there. We are not to live in sin or it will result in death, not in life eternal with God. And we are to please God. And by the Spirit we are to be putting to death the deeds of the flesh (of the body) so that we can live with Christ for eternity. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God (Rom 8:1-14).

Okay, so now we have the context. So, when this says that we are heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may be glorified with him, this is primarily about putting sin to death in our lives daily, by the Spirit, and us following our Lord in obedience to his commands.

It is about our daily walks, and us being led by the Spirit in walks of obedience and in surrender to our Lord and it is about us not living in sin any longer. For if we live according to the flesh we will die in our sins and we will not live with our Lord for eternity.

Romans 8:18 ESV

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Because of Adam’s sin we are all born in the image of Adam with sin natures. And the world suffers because of sin. And so while we live on this earth we will suffer, but whatever suffering we are called to go through on this earth, it does not compare with the glory that is to be revealed to us. One day it will be worth it all if we endure and if we persevere and if we continue in the faith steadfast and sure and we do not retreat.

I know that I look forward to the day when my suffering will all be over and I will be with my Lord for eternity. I look forward to no longer being in pain, and to having my tears wiped from my eyes, and to having no more battles with Satan or facing hardships and persecutions for the sake of the gospel. I look forward to not being sinned against and to not being tempted nor taunted by the enemy. I look forward to being with Jesus most of all.

Romans 8:26-28 ESV

“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. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

But while we still live on this earth we will suffer. But the Spirit will help us in our weaknesses when our hearts and our flesh fail us and when we feel we can’t go on or the pain is too great. The Lord is our strength and our song. He is our comfort and our joy. He gives us all that we need to endure suffering for the sake of his name. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. He will help us through it all if we will let him and if we will yield to his control.

Oh, many times I have been there when I did not know what to pray. The words would not come. Satan was fighting hard against me and I was being attacked from multiple fronts and all I could do was pray, “Help!” And that was enough for the Lord to come to my aid and to help me and to give me strength and endurance to make it through and to keep moving forward and to not let the troubles of this world take me out.

We just have to learn to turn to the Lord and believe that he is all powerful and fully sovereign over all things and that he absolutely has all things under his control. We have to believe that he has a plan and a purpose for it all in our lives and that nothing can touch us but what God allows it and he allows it for a purpose and that he is going to bring good out of it. And so we just need to ask him to teach us what we need to learn and to direct us in how to respond to people and to our circumstances, and then just follow him.

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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