Read This Week: Romans 8
If Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God. – Romans 8:10, 26-27 NIV
The Holy Spirit has been referred to at times as the “Forgotten God” because so many Christians neglect His presence in their lives. The Spirit is the member of the triune Godhead mentioned the least during Sunday gatherings and whose power we often fail to access in our daily journey. Some even substitute the gospel for the work of the Holy Spirit. But, His existence is undeniable, and His presence is what empowers the people of God to live out His purpose, accomplish His will, and be the Church in the world.
The Apostle Paul does not forget or neglect the Holy Spirit in the teachings of Romans 8. From the second verse to the end of the chapter, he asserts that it is not possible to be a Christian without the Spirit. We cannot separate the person and work of the Holy Spirit from the Father or from Jesus. Paul sets the tone for this in verses 2 and 5-6:
The law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires, but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.
Here, we see that the Spirit is the One who causes us to believe in and benefit from Christ’s finished work on the cross. He enables us to do God’s will and gives us the power over sin and death in the present as well as the ability to live victoriously apart from what our flesh wants to do. The Holy Spirit reminds us that we are justified before God and no longer condemned.
Paul also uses this opportunity to teach the Roman believers and us that the Holy Spirit is our Helper as Jesus said He would be in John 14:26. He helps by teaching us the deep things of God and how to obey the Lord’s commands. The Spirit helps us escape from and avoid sin. He stands in the gap for us in our weaknesses. And as Paul specifically points out, the Spirit prays for us and intercedes on our behalf. Verse 26 says:
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us.
In our new life with God, the Holy Spirit shows up in ways and at a point where we often need it most, in our prayers. Because of our weakness, we sometimes don’t know how to pray as we should. But the Spirit comes and ministers to us by assisting in our communion with God even when we can’t find the words to say. The Holy Spirit, however, understands our hearts and the meaning of our deep emotions, and through them, pleads to God for us. He is the ever-present help in time of need.
It is no wonder after Paul outlines this ministry of the Holy Spirit that he writes, We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. This verse is never more true or understood when we remember that we have the power of the Holy Spirit living in us, the same power that raised Christ from the dead. How could all things not work together for good when we know we have the Spirit of God with us at all times? May we never forget that beautiful and hopeful truth.