Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 4 Study # 2
Introduction: In our last study we looked into the fact that Paul deliberately used the metaphor of an illness in order to introduce us to the intercessory ministry of the Spirit on our behalf. In that study we saw that there is a metaphorical analogy between a viral, or bacterial, attack upon our bodies and the methods of the Evil One in his attacks upon our Lives (as a composition of the physical, emotional, and spiritual elements that make "Life" what it is). In that study we saw that we are "ill" in that our Lives are under a serious and powerful onslaught of the Evil One. And we saw that the Holy Spirit, as an Intercessor, is God's answer to the problem.
Because God says, through Paul's letter, that the answer is to be found in the intercessory ministry of the Spirit on our behalf, we have to conclude that "prayer" is a key methodology in the experience of the Life of God. As a methodology, it cannot be relegated to the sidelines where it becomes only a "substitute" when one of the "first stringers" is incapacitated. But, as a methodology, it can never become more than simply a means to an end. In other words, prayer is not the objective, it is simply the critical means to the objective.
This evening we are going to look further into this ministry of the Spirit as Intercessor in order to attempt to see what is driving all of this doctrine.
January 22, 2008
- I. Our First Consideration: the Spirit as Intercessor.
- A. As Intercessor, He prays for us to the God above us in light of the problem(s) in us.
- 1. That He prays for us in the key issue of the text.
- a. We do not know what is "necessary" ("according as it is necessary" is translated "as we ought").
- b. He does know what is necessary.
- 1) The issue of "necessity" involves the reality that "Life" has some analogous parallels to the material, cause/effect, world.
- a) Relationships are not "mechanical" in the sense of the reality that a machine will function when all of the parts are properly related without any consideration of personal involvement issues [a machine does not care if you hate God, are angry with your spouse or children or parents, or are planning to kill someone; it just functions if all of its parts are working].
- b) But, though not "mechanical", relationships are "ruled" by certain unyielding factors.
- 2) In respect to getting the Father to act in behalf of a human being, the Bible is beyond clear that where there is no "prayer" there is no "activity" on His part [James said it this way: "You have not because you ask not."].
- c. His knowledge motivates His intercession.
- 2. That He prays for us to the God above us is the key mystery of the text.
- a. The Holy Spirit is God, omnipotent, omniscient, all wise, loving, just, merciful, and committed to our eternal lives.
- b. As God, one would be tempted to think that He could simply do for us what He knows is necessary in light of the issue of "Life" and how we relate to it.
- c. That He does not simply do, but, rather, interacts with the Father so that He acts, indicates something incredibly significant to both "T"heology and our experience of the "Life" of the God of that "T"heology.
- 1) Even in the Godhead, there is a precise "order" that is not violated.
- a) Both the Son and the Spirit are "Fullness of Deity", but both are cast in the role of Intercessors to the Father for us.
- b) The Father, the Son, and the Spirit do not overreach themselves in their relationships to each other.
- 2) The major conclusion that this forces upon us is that nowhere in God, or in His universe, is "independence" an acceptable attitude.
- a) Interrelational submission is one of the unyielding rules of all effective relationships.
- b) Everywhere "independence" of God and His Truth is inserted into the practices of persons, Death becomes a real part of the experience of those who are touched by the "independence".
- 3. That He prays for us to the God above us regarding the problem(s) in us is the root of our development in the experience of "Life".
- a. In the final analysis, the experience of "Life" is a consequence (the outflow) of a central reality: an uncompromised harmony between the Living God and any one of His created personalities (human or angelic).
- 1) Wherever there is a "barrier" between the Living God and any one of His creatures, there is Death.
- 2) Whenever all of the "barriers" are down the Life of the Living God automatically flows to the creature.
- b. In the present reality, no one has a consistent, clear-eyed understanding of this central principle of living.
- 1) The hearts of men are, at worst, "deceptive above all things and desperately wicked" and, at best, "regenerated" but yet subject to the ignorance of the mind.
- 2) The absolutely pervasive reality of the deception/desperate wickedness consists of only one problem: the plethora of "idols".
- a) Humanity is constantly involved in the process of "substituting" a lesser reality for God.
- b) The Spirit of God is constantly involved in the process of exposing those substitutions with what Paul calls "soundless groanings".
- i. The problem for us is this: He does not expose those substitutions to us; He exposes them to the Father and seeks His activity on our behalf so that, by His actions, we come to grips with those substitutions.
- ii. The result for us is this: we gradually become aware of the "idols" that we have erected in the stead of God and are, then, compelled to face their reality so that we must either "believe" or "reject".
- II. Our Second Consideration: Soundless Groanings.
- A. The translations are varied: they seek to render Paul's meaning, but the efficiency of the renderings depends entirely upon the grasp of the translators.
- B. The overall implication is one: the Father is seriously impatient with anything that imposes "grief" upon His Spirit.
- 1. The bottom line of "soundless groaning" is that the "groaning" is extremely muted.
- 2. Paul's apparent reason for identifying the "groanings" as "soundless" is that he wished to intensify his readers' grasp of the degree to which the Father is intentional in acting in harmony with what is needed to surface the "idolatrous barrier" that exists in His child so that the deceit of the heart is defeated and the knowledge of the "idol" becomes as clear as a bell.