Likewise the Spirit - This introduces a new source of consolation and support, what is derived from the Spirit. It is a continuation of the argument of the apostle, to show the sustaining power of the Christian religion. The “Spirit” here undoubtedly refers to the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, and who strengthens us.
Helpeth - This word properly means, to sustain with us; to aid us in supporting. It is applied usually to those who unite in supporting or carrying a burden. The meaning may be thus expressed: “he greatly assists or aids us.”
Our infirmities - Assists us in our infirmities, or aids us to bear them. The word “infirmities” refers to the weaknesses to which we are subject, and to our various trials in this life. The Spirit helps us in this,
(1)By giving us strength to bear them;
(2)By exciting us to make efforts to sustain them;
(3)By ministering to us consolations, and truths, and views of our Christian privileges, that enable us to endure our trials.
For we know not - This is a specification of the aid which the Holy Spirit, renders us. The reasons why Christians do not know what to pray for may be,
(1)That they do not know what would be really best for them.
(2)they do not know what God might be willing to grant them.
(3)they are to a great extent ignorant of the character of God, the reason of his dealings, the principles of his government, and their own real needs.
(4)they are often in real, deep perplexity. They are encompassed with trials, exposed to temptations, feeble by disease, and subject to calamities. In these circumstances, if left alone, they would neither be able to bear their trials, nor know what to ask at the hand of God.
But the Spirit itself - The Holy Spirit; Romans 8:9-11.
Maketh intercession - The word used here ὑπερεντυνγχάνει huperentungchaneioccurs no where else in the New Testament. The word ἐντυνγχάνω entungchanōhowever, is used several times. It means properly to be present with anyone for the purpose of aiding, as an advocate does in a court of justice; hence, to intercede for anyone, or to aid or assist in any manner. In this place it simply means that the Holy Spirit greatly assists or aids us; not by praying for us, but in our prayers and infirmities.
With groanings - With sighs, or that deep feeling and intense anxiety which exists in the oppressed and burdened heart of the Christian.
Which cannot be uttered - Or rather, perhaps, which is not uttered; those emotions which are too deep for utterance, or for expression in articulate language. This does not mean that the Spirit produces these groanings; but that in these deep-felt emotions, when the soul is oppressed and overwhelmed, he lends us his assistance and sustains us. The phrase may be thus translated: “The Spirit greatly aids or supports us in those deep emotions, those intense feelings, those inward sighs which cannot be expressed in language, but which he enables us to bear, and which are understood by Him that searcheth the hearts.”
The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities - The same Spirit, το πνευμα, mentioned before as bearing witness with ours that we are the children of God; and consequently it is not a disposition or frame of mind, for the disposition of our mind surely cannot help the infirmities of our minds.
The word συναντιλαμβανεται is very inadequately expressed by helpeth. It is compounded of συν, together, αντι, against, and λαμβανομαι, to support or help, and signifies such assistance as is afforded by any two persons to each other, who mutually bear the same load or carry it between them. He who prays, receives help from the Spirit of God; but he who prays not receives no such help. Whatever our strength may be, we must put it forth, even while most implicitly depending on the strength of God himself.
For we know not what we should pray for as we ought - And should therefore be liable to endless mistakes in our prayers, if suitable desires were not excited by the Holy Spirit and power received to bring these desires, by prayer, before the throne of grace.
But the Spirit itself - Αυτο το πνευμα, The same Spirit, viz. the Spirit that witnesses of our adoption and sonship, Romans 8:15, Romans 8:16, makes intercession for us. Surely if the apostle had designed to teach us that he meant our own sense and understanding by the Spirit, he never could have spoken in a manner in which plain common sense was never likely to comprehend his meaning. Besides, how can it be said that our own spirit, our filial disposition, bears witness with our own spirit; that our own spirit helps the infirmities of our own spirit; that our own spirit teaches our own spirit that of which it is ignorant; and that our own spirit maketh intercession for our own spirit, with groanings unutterable? This would have been both incongruous and absurd. We must therefore understand these places of that help and influence which the followers of God receive from the Holy Ghost; and consequently, of the fulfillment of the various promises relative to this point which our Lord made to his disciples, particularly in John 14:16, John 14:17, John 14:26; John 15:26, John 15:27; John 16:7; and particularly John 16:13, John 16:14; : Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth; and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.
There is in genuine faith a buoyancy, a steadfastness of principle, and a fixedness of purpose that neither time nor toil can weaken. “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Isaiah 40:30, 31. COL 147.1
There are many who long to help others, but they feel that they have no spiritual strength or light to impart. Let them present their petitions at the throne of grace. Plead for the Holy Spirit. God stands back of every promise He has made. With your Bible in your hands say, I have done as Thou hast said. I present Thy promise, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” COL 147.2
We must not only pray in Christ's name, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. This explains what is meant when it is said that the Spirit “maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.” Romans 8:26. Such prayer God delights to answer. When with earnestness and intensity we breathe a prayer in the name of Christ, there is in that very intensity a pledge from God that He is about to answer our prayer “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20. COL 147.3Read in context »
It was an important time for ----- during and after the tent meeting in 1874. Had there been a pleasant and commodious house of worship there, more than double the number that were really gained would have taken their stand for the truth. God works with our efforts. We may close the way for sinners by our negligence and selfishness. There should have been great diligence in seeking to save those who were still in error, yet interested in the truth. Just as wise generalship is needed in the service of Christ as is needed over the battalions of an army that protects the life and liberty of the people. It is not everyone who can labor judiciously for the salvation of souls. There is much close thinking to be done. We must not enter into the Lord's work haphazard and expect success. The Lord needs men of mind, men of thought. Jesus calls for co-workers, not blunderers. God wants right-thinking and intelligent men to do the great work necessary to the salvation of souls. 4T 67.1Read in context »
When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate. He knows each individual by name, and cares for each as if there were not another upon the earth for whom He gave His beloved Son. Because God's love is so great and so unfailing, the sick should be encouraged to trust in Him and be cheerful. To be anxious about themselves tends to cause weakness and disease. If they will rise above depression and gloom, their prospect of recovery will be better; for “the eye of the Lord is upon them” “that hope in His mercy.” Psalm 33:18. MH 229.1
In prayer for the sick it should be remembered that “we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” Romans 8:26. We do not know whether the blessing we desire will be best or not. Therefore our prayers should include this thought: “Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons. Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. His love for them is greater than ours can possibly be. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they may be restored, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings.” MH 229.2
God knows the end from the beginning. He is acquainted with the hearts of all men. He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether those for whom prayer is offered would or would not be able to endure the trials that would come upon them should they live. He knows whether their lives would be a blessing or a curse to themselves and to the world. This is one reason why, while presenting our petitions with earnestness, we should say, “Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done.” Luke 22:42. Jesus added these words of submission to the wisdom and will of God when in the Garden of Gethsemane He pleaded, “O My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.” Matthew 26:39. And if they were appropriate for Him, the Son of God, how much more are they becoming on the lips of finite, erring mortals! MH 230.1Read in context »
There are Christian workers who have not received a collegiate education because it was impossible for them to secure this advantage; but God has given evidence that He has chosen them. He has ordained them to go forth and labor in His vineyard. He has made them effectual co-workers with Himself. They have a teachable spirit; they feel their dependence upon God, and the Holy Spirit is with them to help their infirmities. It will quicken and energize the mind, direct their thoughts, and aid in the presentation of truth. When the laborer stands before the people to hold forth the words of life, there is heard in his voice the echo of the voice of Christ. FE 242.1
It is evident that he walks with God; that he has been with Jesus and learned of Him. He has brought the truth into the inner sanctuary of the soul; it is to him a living reality, and he presents the truth in the demonstration of the Spirit and of power. The people hear the joyful sound. God speaks to their hearts through the man consecrated to His service. As the worker lifts up Jesus through the Spirit, he becomes really eloquent. He is earnest and sincere, and is beloved by those for whom he labors. FE 242.2Read in context »
Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ's agony; but that suffering did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception, sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right, every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal, brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that were the sure result of separation from God,—subjugation by their enemies, cruelty, and death,—it is said that “His soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.” “In all their affliction He was afflicted: ... and He bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9. Ed 263.1
His Spirit “maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” As the “whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together” (Romans 8:26, 22), the heart of the infinite Father is pained in sympathy. Our world is a vast lazar house, a scene of misery that we dare not allow even our thoughts to dwell upon. Did we realize it as it is, the burden would be too terrible. Yet God feels it all. In order to destroy sin and its results He gave His best Beloved, and He has put it in our power, through co-operation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to an end. “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Matthew 24:14. Ed 263.2Read in context »