It is popular today to consider Romans 8:26 and 27 a text explaining the gift of tongues but the text does NOT support this conclusion. Why not?
1. The context of the previous verses are dealing with suffering and futility. In those verses we see ourselves groaning and all of creation groaning for the revealing of the sons of God. Verse 26 starts off with the word “likewise” and then we see the Holy Spirit groaning.
2. These verses are not excluding certain Christians. All groan. However, we see the gift of speaking in tongues was not given to all Christians. 1Co 12:30 ESV Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?
So we have said what these verses do not mean but what do they mean? Living in a fallen world we are confronted with very hard decisions. Do we always know what is best for us? No, it has not been given us to know much if anything about our future but the Holy Spirit knows us and knows our future and knows the will of God and thus knows what is best for us. He intercedes for us according to God’s will. Every single prayer we pray is answered, some petitions are granted and some are not but we can trust: Rom 8:28 ESV And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
In a sermon given by John Piper on Romans 8:26 he reads an excerpt from John Bunyan. John Bunyan was confronted with a decision to sign a paper agreeing not to preach the gospel or stay in prison. John Bunyan had 4 small children and a wife and one of those children were blind. John Bunyan didn’t sign the paper and stayed in prison for 12 years. While there, he wrote the Pilgrims Progress. Had he known how good and popular this book would be his decision would have probably been easier. He later wrote this:
“Thou mayest do in this as it is in thy heart. If it is in thy heart to fly, fly: if it be in thy heart to stand, stand. Anything but a denial of the truth. He that flies, has warrant to do so; he that stands, has warrant to do so. Yea, the same man may both fly and stand, as the call and working of God with his heart may be. Moses fled (Ex. 2:15); Moses stood (Heb 11:27). David fled (1 Sam. 19:12); David stood (1 Sam. 24:8). Jeremiah fled (Jer. 37:11-12); Jeremiah stood (Jer. 38:17). Christ withdrew himself (Luke 19:10); Christ stood (John 18:1-8). Paul fled (2 Cor. 11:33); Paul stood (Act 20:22-23). . . . There are few rules in this case. The man himself is best able to judge concerning his present strength, and what weight this or that argument has upon his heart to stand or fly. . . Do not fly out of a slavish fear, but rather because flying is an ordinance of God, opening a door for the escape of some, which door is opened by God’s providence, and the escape countenanced by God’s Word (Matt. 10:23).”
Exactly what is the will of God for your life? The Spirit knows the will of God and the Spirit knows you.
Jesus says ask anything in my name. So we end our prayers “in the name of Jesus.” This has turned into a tag line. A magic formula for getting what we want. What does it mean to ask in the name of Jesus? It means to ask with authority but also according to His will. If we don’t know His will we can’t ask with authority but the Spirit can.
1Jn 5:14 ESV And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.
In this sermon we also discuss the roles of the Holy Spirit. Here are 4:
- Regeneration – Predestination Rejected Being Born Again – Romans
- Sanctification – Set apart for Holiness – INTERCEDING
- Sealing Us – Securing Us – Preserving Us
Eph 1:13-14 ESV In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, (14) who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
- Will raise us
Rom 8:11 ESV If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Rom 8:26-27 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. (27) 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.
THE HOLY SPIRIT INTERCEDES FOR US, Sermon given by Pastor Bryan Walker at One Way Christian Center (Church) in Olustee, Oklahoma, preached on March 23, 2014
- Romans 8:26 - 27