|Unleashing God's Truth, One Verse at a Time
Well let's come to the study of the Word of God tonight and with a great amount of joy, as we look at Romans 8 again. I draw your attention to this great 8th chapter of Romans. A mountain peak in biblical revelation, in it we ascend to great heights of life in the spirit. Romans chapter 8, we're going to be looking at two verses tonight, verses 26 and 27. I'll read them.
"And in the same way, the Spirit also helps our weakness. For, we do not know how to pray as we should but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God."
One of the most thrilling and hopeful statements in the Scripture is found in 1 Peter 1:5. In 1 Peter 1:5 it says that we are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. The promise is that we are kept. As Christians, our basic hope, our basic comfort, our basic joy and peace is dependent on the confidence that God will bring us to eternal glory, in other words that we are kept by his power unto salvation. It's thrilling then to hear that promise. It's another way of saying what Paul said in Philippians 1:6 that He who has begun a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ. It reminds us that we will be taken all the way to glory. Our salvation is not yet complete but it will be. In verses 29 and 30 of the same chapter, Paul says, "For whom He knew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the first born” or the premier one “among many brethren, and whom He predestined, these He also called. And whom He called, these He also justified. And whom He justified, these He also glorified." Our salvation is not complete until we are glorified but if we have been called and justified, we will be glorified. And that's because we are kept unto that glorification by the power of God.
Theologians have called this keeping eternal security or they've called it the perseverance of the saints. And Scripture clearly establishes that once a person has been saved, once they have been delivered through justification from the penalty of sin, they will be taken all the way to glory. In 1 John 3:9, it says, "No one who is born of God practices sin because his seed remains in him and he cannot sin because he is born of God." In other words, once you become the child of God and are born of God, you can never again have as the unbroken practice of your life the pattern of sin that characterized you before your conversion. You are in a new and permanent state. In 1 John 2:27, it says, "As for you the anointing, which you received from Him, abides in you." The end of the verse: "Just as you abide in Him." There is the presence of God remaining in you. There is a new life remaining in you. There is a new seed remaining in you that will take you all the way to glory. In John 10:28, it says, "You are held by Christ and by God and you are kept and no man can take you out of God's hand."
Scripture in many, many places affirms the security of the believer that God will take us all the way through from salvation to glorification. In Hebrews chapter 9, it tells us, verse 11, that Christ appeared, made a sacrifice and that we have been saved, verse 12, not through the blood of goats and calves but through His own blood and then He entered into the holy place once for all, here's the key, having obtained eternal redemption. What salvation Christ obtained on the cross is an eternal salvation. Nothing shall ever separate us from the love of Christ, as we will note later in this chapter.
So we have here the doctrine of eternal security or the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. The saints will persevere in faith unto glory. They are secure unto glory. They are kept by the power of God. I love what Thomas Watson, the Puritan, said about this doctrine. And I quote "the exercise of grace maybe hindered" and he means by that saving grace. "The exercise of Grace may be hindered as when the course of water is stopped. The godly may act faintly in religion. The pulse of their affections may beat low. Instead of grace working in the godly, corruption may work. Instead of patience, murmuring; instead of heavenliness, earthliness; thus lively and vigorous may corruption be even in the regenerate. They may fall into enormous sins but though their grace may be drawn low, it is not drawn dry. Though grace may be abated, it is not abolished. Grace may suffer an eclipse, not a dissolution. A believer may fall from some degrees of grace but never from the state of grace." End quote. Why is this? Because we are secure, because we are kept by the power of God.
Every member of the Trinity is involved in this security, every one. God the Father is involved. Philippians 1:6, as I mentioned earlier, "I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you,” that being God, “will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." What God begins God finishes. Second Corinthians 1:21 says, "Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee." It is God who saved us. It is God who sealed us. It is God who established us. God the Father then establishes our eternal security. In 2 Timothy 2:19, the Scripture says, "Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, the Lord knows those who are His."
God the Father then establishes our security. Secondly, God the Son confirms that security. God the Son confirms it. First Corinthians 1:8 says, "The Lord Jesus Christ,” the end of verse 7, “who shall also confirm you to the end blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." The Father establishes us in security. The Son secures us in security. How does He do that? Well He does that by His intercessory, high priestly work.
In Hebrews 7:25, "He is able to save forever." Why? How is it that He gives us this eternal salvation? Because “He always lives to make intercession for us.” God establishes our security and Christ confirms that security by always interceding for us and thus He is able to save us forever, take us all the way to glory. But as we noted a moment ago in 1 Corinthians chapter 1, "It is God...” 2 Corinthians 1, I'm sorry. “It is God,” in verse 21, “who establishes us and sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge.” So you come then to the third member of the Trinity and the Holy Spirit seals our security. The Father establishes it. The Son confirms it and upholds it and sustains it and the Holy Spirit seals our security. He is the seal of that security.
Now in Ephesians you have the very same promise and I'm just giving you some introductory material, very important. Ephesians 1:13 tells us that we have been given the Holy Spirit of promise as a seal. Verse 14: "We have been given the Holy Spirit as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God's own possession to the praise of His glory. The Holy Spirit is a seal, a down payment, a pledge, a promise, a guarantee of future glory.
So the whole Trinity is...is involved in this marvelous work of securing the believer and that is what is basically summed up in the benediction at the end of 1 Thessalonians. First Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 23: "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you and He also will bring it to pass.” What a great benediction. God who called you will bring to pass your ultimate glorification. He will preserve you. He will sanctify you entirely. He will make sure you are sanctified in spirit and soul and body, preserved complete without blame when Jesus comes.
There will never be in your life any sin held against you, which could cause you to forfeit your salvation. You will be brought to the very return of Christ blameless. That is simply because all your sins have been placed on Christ and when you sin, Jesus Christ intercedes on your behalf. The Father preserves you from any assault of Satan that might destroy your faith because you are persevering in faith and the Spirit of God also sustains you by His constant work as the guarantee and the pledge of your future redemption.
You have been saved then - justification - saved from the penalty of sin. You are being saved - sanctification - from the power of sin. You will be saved from the presence of sin and that's glorification and the whole Trinity is involved in it.
In fact it is noteworthy I think to go back for a minute to the 17th chapter. Well it's the 6th chapter of John and I sort of debated whether to do this but I really cannot resist it. Even if I don't get finished, we'll just finish it next time. But in John 6 I...I... You need to understand this that this whole matter of security is all bound up in the special care of the Trinity. In John 6 Jesus says, very important, verse 39 John 6, "This is the will of Him who sent me." This is God's will, "that of all He has given me" all who believe that means, all who are redeemed, all who come to faith, all who are saved, "of all that He has given me, I lose none but raise it up on the last day. This is the will of my Father that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life,” verse 40 “and I Myself will raise him up on the last day." It is God's will that Jesus Christ make sure that all the elect who come to faith be brought to glory. The Father has given Me that responsibility. God has established it and asked Me to confirm and sustain it. So it is the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ to sustain our faith, to intercede on our behalf, to provide all we need, to protect us from temptation that could be totally destructive. He cares for His own and will lose none but raise them up at the last day.
There's a remarkable reference to this in the 17th chapter of John to which I would call your attention just briefly. And it shows you how seriously the Lord Jesus took this responsibility from the Father. In verse 11 of John 17 quite a remarkable statement, John 17:11. Jesus is anticipating leaving the world. He's anticipating going to the cross and dying and He's anticipating that during the time that He is in the grave, His body is in the grave, during the time even hanging on the cross when He is separated from God, which lasted only for a brief time on the cross, He is looking at that time of separation, that brief time on the cross when He is bearing sin and says, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me!" that time when He has become a sin sacrifice and He's concerned about that brief time. And this is what He says in verse 11, "I am no more in the world and yet they themselves are in the world and I come to Thee, Holy Father, keep them in Thy name."
It's almost... It's almost an insight that's overwhelming. Jesus is saying there's going to be a time when I'm not going to be able to hold them. There's going to be a time when I'm bearing sin and I'm not going to be able to intercede for them and I'm not going to be able to protect them, Father. I'm asking You to guard them during that time. Keep them. Verse 12, "when I was with them, I was keeping them." Later in the verse, verse 12, I guarded them and not one of them perish but the son of perdition, in other words, the one who was born to perish. I kept them Father and now I've got a problem. I'm facing alienation and Father would you please keep them for me. And even further, I'm coming back to heaven. And when I get back to heaven, who's going to protect them down here? And in part, of course, the Father heard and answered this prayer by protecting them when Jesus was separated from Him for those hours and then secondly by sending the Holy Spirit to pick up where Jesus left off.
But what I want you to see in that little insight is the concern that the Savior had for the care of His own. We are kept by the power of God through every member of the Trinity doing a part. We are sustained. Our faith is sustained because nothing can overwhelm our faith. The Lord would never let anything do that. Satan can't come against us. No condemnation can be brought. No charge can be laid against us that will stand.
Now while all the passages that I've discussed with you are marvelous passages on this theme, certainly Romans 8 is the monumental passage on the security of the believer, the perseverance of the saints. Because at the beginning of chapter 8 remember he says that therefore is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. That says it right there. We will never be condemned. That means we are going to go all the way to glory. We will never be condemned. The chapter ends the same way. Verse 34, "Who is the one who condemns?" The highest court is Christ Jesus and He's not going to condemn us because He has already died for us and was raised for us and He is now interceding for us. And nobody can separate us from His love. So, at the beginning and at the end, we are reminded of our no- condemnation status. If you are saved, you are going all the way to glory, and in between verse 1 and verse 34 is all of this marvelous teaching about the work of the Holy Spirit as He takes care of us.
It is the Holy Spirit... We are looking particularly at verses 17 now through 30. It is the Holy Spirit who guarantees our glory just as He confirmed our adoption, in verses 14 to 16, empowered our victory, in verses 12 and 13, enabled us to...I should say, changed our nature in verses 5 to 11, enabled us to fulfill the law, in verse 4, freed us from sin and death, in verses 2 and 3, so coming to verses 17 to 30, He guarantees our glory. We have been chosen by God. We have received grace to believe in Jesus Christ and we are on the way to glory and we are specially secured by the work of the Spirit.
Now as we look at these verses, verses 17 to 30, we have seen the incomparable gains of glory in verses 17 and 18. We are now looking at the inexpressible groans of glory, verses 19 to 27. And we've already considered the fact that creation groans, verses 19 to 22, the whole creation is groaning, waiting for glory to come, waiting for the new and renovated earth, the restoration of Edenic life. And then in verses 23 to 25, the groaning of believers; we groan waiting for the redemption of our bodies because we are sick of being in our sinful flesh. Even though we are redeemed, we live in these sinful bodies. We carry about “this body of death” as Paul termed it in Romans 7.
So we've heard the groaning of creation as it waits the restoration and the renewal and rejuvenation and the regeneration of the universe when the Lord restores paradise. And we've talked about the regeneration of believers when we receive our glorified bodies like unto the body of Christ after His resurrection and now we come to verses 26 and 27 and the groaning of the Holy Spirit. This is the groaning section.
Really profound, deep, rich treasure is found here, and particularly in verses 26 and 27. It is such a glorious encouragement to know that we are supported by the Father, who has designed us to make it all the way to glory, by the Son, who has completely taken care of our sin and covered us with His righteousness to secure our eternal salvation, and by the Holy Spirit, who is consistently working in our behalf to bring us to glory. Now I have to say that verse 26 is a severely abused text. I frankly expect most Bibles to bleed here. And the people who have abused this text most have been those who have been associated with this speaking in tongues interest. They have manhandled this text as a tool to advocate speaking gibberish. In fact if you read books on the subject of tongues, they invariably refer to verse 26 and they will identify tongues as groanings too deep for words. That is utterly foreign to this passage. There is nothing in the remotest sense that could connect this with any human experience, including speaking in tongues. And I'll show you why as we go through.
He begins in verse 26 by saying “in the same way.” In the same way as what? In the same way as creation groans, and you have creation groaning in verse 22, the whole creation groans and suffers together until now. All of the whole universe has been tainted by sin and the whole universe sort of is personified as if a person were groaning. The whole universe feels the pain of sin because it cannot be everything God had originally designed it in Eden to be. The whole universe groans to be all it can be. It is not an actual groaning. It is metaphoric. And then in verses 23 to 25 believers are groaning. We groan, verse 23, within ourselves. We... This groaning longs to be delivered from the impact of sin just like the whole creation does. So you are talking about a groaning here that is inexpressible.
You can't hear creation groaning and you can't hear us groaning. And it's in the same way that the Spirit also helps our weakness by groaning. It is not an audible groaning anymore than the creation’s groaning is audible or believers’ groaning is audible. It is a longing, and creation longs to express itself fully in the glory of a restored earth and we long to express ourselves in the fullness of a glorified body with no more sin and the Holy Spirit longs in the same way for us to come to glory.
The Holy Spirit has a desire for us to be freed from sin, freed from the effects of the Fall. The Holy Spirit is groaning in anticipation of the glorious liberation of the children of God. The Holy Spirit is groaning for our eternal glory just as we are groaning for our eternal glory and creation is groaning for its glory. There's nothing in here about any human gibberish. This is the Holy Spirit groaning.
Now back to verse 26. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness. What is he talking about here? Well, "for we do not know how to pray as we should but the Holy Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words." They are unutterable. They aren't audible groanings. They are inaudible groanings. They are too profound for words. There are no words. There are no sounds. There are no noises. It is the Holy Spirit doing this. Not us. And what is it He's doing? He's helping our weakness. This refers not just to sort of weak prayers but it refers to the whole debilitating power of our fallenness. We are so sinful, so fallen, so stained by sin. Sin is so endemic to us, it's so much into the fabric of our beings that we...we bear two heavy burdens. We bear the burden of sin and the burden of suffering. And under both of those, we're supported by the Holy Spirit. Under the burden of suffering, He's our comforter. Under the burden of sin, He is our intercessor.
He helps our infirmities, the Greek says. He deals with the whole scope of our weakness. It's not just weakness in the style of our prayers or the frequency of our prayers or the manner of our prayers, it's weakness in our very nature that limits the expression of prayer. And it's weakness in the content of prayer. God answers prayers but we just don't know how to pray. We don't know how to pray, he says, as we should. Why? Because we can't see the future. Because we can't even understand the present. Because we don't know what's good for us. Because if we had our choice we'd pray that we never had any suffering or pain or anything and that we'd always be healed of everything and all of our difficult circumstances would go away.
We don't know how to pray for the future because we don't know what's coming. We are too fallen and too corrupt and too weak to secure our own eternal glory by our weak prayers. We're helpless in our sin. We're helpless in our suffering. We don't even know what to pray for. Now listen carefully. Inherent in this statement is a very important divine truth that we are secure - listen carefully — we are secure not simply by some divine decree in the past. There was such a decree but that's not what sustains our security. We are not secure because of some warranty valid forever, no matter what we do or don't do, no matter what God does or doesn't do. We are secure - listen to this - by ongoing prayer. In other words, I think we sometimes think that God just created the world and then just sits back and lets it all go and it all sort of just floats along in His sovereignty.
No, God sustains his plan all the time with the same amount of energy He used in creation and of course, no matter how much energy He uses, none is dissipated. Nonetheless it takes all that God is to create and all that God is to sustain the creation and the reason things go the way they go is not just because God said they would but because God said they would and then makes sure they do. He upholds all things by the word of His power. He continues to sustain everything and faith is sustained by prayer.
We are saved, we are kept saved by ongoing faith and our ongoing faith is preserved by prayer. Problem is it's not sustained by our prayer. Our prayers aren't powerful enough to do that. But we have a High Priest, Hebrews 7:25, who always makes what? Intercession for us. It's not our prayers that keep us saved. It's His prayers. It's the prayers of the great High Priest on our behalf. It's His intercession with the Father. Father, bring them to glory. Just like John 17, Father, bring them to glory. Father, bring them to glory. Father, protect them. It's His prayers. Not our prayers.
Hebrews 10:21, we have a great High Priest. We have a great High Priest. We have, according to 1 John 2:1, an immense promise. We have an advocate with the Father, a lawyer on our behalf. It's not our prayers. They are just too weak, too meager, too infirm. It's the prayers of Jesus Christ and the prayers of the Spirit. Jesus Christ, our faithful High Priest in heaven and the Holy Spirit, our faithful priest in our hearts.
We could never attain to the resurrection. We could never come to glory. We could never make it to heaven by the strength of our own faith. We could never get there by the strength of our own prayers. We could never overcome our sinfulness. We could never, ever know what to pray for. We don't know what's coming. We could never protect ourselves from the temptation that would overwhelm us. We have to be helped and the Spirit helps us. He helps us by interceding for us in a profound groaning for our glory that could never be uttered by human lips. To take that verse and make it have something to do with talking gibberish is a travesty. It's an absolute travesty on the profound reality of what is being presented here and must grieve the Holy Spirit deeply.
As active as we are in the perseverance of the saints, as active as we are in obedience, and as active as we are in learning the Word of God so that our faith is strong, and as active as we are in our prayers and in the application of the means of grace, all of our activity, including our most passionate prayers, could never sustain us to glory because we do not know what to pray for. We are so weak. So we have an advocate in heaven at the right hand of the Father interceding for us at all times and we have an advocate on earth dwelling in us interceding personally on our behalf.
We are secured by two interceding priests. Now how does the Holy Spirit intercede for us? Let's look back at verse 26, "the Holy Spirit makes intercession." The word, the verb here has the idea of rescue. Has the idea of rescue by one who finds someone in trouble and has no resources to deal with it. It's a verb that means saving a life that otherwise would be lost. And that's the point. The Holy Spirit rescues us. And apart from Him we wouldn't make it. He pleads for our deliverance, which to us is impossible. You'd like to think that you could pray your way through life right? Call upon God. I need your help here. I need your strength here, Lord. I see this coming. It's more than I can bear and you've promised no temptation shall be take...shall overtake me that I'm unable to bear, 1 Corinthians 10:13 etc. We can't pray. We just can't do that. So the Holy Spirit - I love this - Himself and the writer adds the autos, the pronoun, Himself, personally.
Jesus, you hearing Him praying in the garden. He says Father, I kept them personally. I kept them and now I'm going to be gone for a while and I can't do it. Please Father, while I'm gone, You take care of them and when I come back to heaven, may the Holy Spirit take care of them down here. That's really what He was saying, and the Spirit Himself does it. And again I remind you, this is an ongoing, moment-by-moment activity by the Spirit of God in you. These are not human groans. They are not human grunts, not human tongues, ecstatic speech. These are groanings which cannot be spoken, too deep for words.
The Holy Spirit is doing that all the time. He understands our flesh. He understands our weakness because God has perfect understanding. And He is of course the Spirit of Christ, who is the perfect High Priest, who was in all points tempted like we are, touched with the feelings of our infirmities. The Holy Spirit understands that not only do we sin, but we can't even pray right to deal with it. So on our behalf, He intercedes with deep sighs for our glory. How could you lose your salvation when you're covered so many ways? The Father has decreed that whoever He predestines is going to be in glory. The Father decrees that your sins were placed on Christ and He bore the penalty for all of them, so they are all paid for. And the Father decrees that the righteousness of Christ, His perfect life, is imputed to you and it's as if He lived your life and you lived His. And you have perfect righteousness to your account so that when you come to face God someday you will be blameless because it will be as if you lived Christ's life and it's as if He lived yours and that's the sin He bore on the cross.
How could you ever lose your salvation thirdly when the Spirit of God is continually interceding for you along with Christ in heaven so that nothing ever comes into your life that could destroy your faith or could destroy God's commitment to you? No condemnation in glory will stand because Christ is there to intercede and nothing in this life will assault you and destroy your faith because the Spirit is there to pray to God for power in that event. The Holy Spirit yearns for your future glory, groans for it. The Son of God intercedes for it. And the Father has planned for it.
This is just an overwhelming reality, staggering in every sense to the mind. It transcends language. I don't...There’s... There’s no...I don’t... I don’t even comprehend the inter-trinitarian conversation, boggles my mind. I certainly don’t want to reduce this verse to some trivial, meaningless, human utterance.
Turn in your Bible for a moment to Philippians 2 because I think this ties in so beautifully. Paul doesn't ever want us to be irresponsible because of this wonderful truth so he says in Philippians 2:12, "So then my beloved, just as you have always obeyed,” that is, obeyed the truth of God “not as in my presence only but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling." There's definitely... The verb means to continue to work out. There's definitely a continuous, sustained, and strenuous effort. We're running a race. We're pursuing a prize. We're in a contest. We're fighting. We're making war. We're pressing on. We're holding fast. All of those are biblical concepts. We're moving to glory with fear and trembling and that means with a sense of holy awe and reverence. We are called to persevere. With all our strength, we devote ourselves to Christ. With all our resolve and all our commitment we employ those means of grace to study of the Word of God, prayer, diligence in worship. We employ all of those things, the application of the Word of God on a daily basis. We do it with all our might, as Paul expressed it so marvelously to the Colossians when he said, "For this purpose I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works in me."
Nobody would ever debate whether Paul worked hard, whether he agonized as a Christian. He fought the fight. He ran the race. And we come at the Christian life with every ounce of our strength but it's really His strength in us. Verse 13, "For it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work for His good pleasure." This is what is called in Philippians 1:19 the supply of the Spirit. It's God who is at work in you. You give it everything you've got but when all is said and done, it wouldn't be enough. You could try to hang onto your salvation all you wanted, you wouldn't do it. You are too weak. You see if you deny the security of the believer, if you say God doesn't keep you, you can fall in and out. You are all going to fall out. Because if God doesn't keep you, you're not going to be kept, folks.
You can't hang on. I want to remind anybody who denies the doctrine of security or denies the perseverance of the saints, that what you are going to have left is the damnation of everybody because nobody could hang on. We don't even know how to pray to hang on. There's no way that we could even go to the throne of grace and tell God wisely and accurately what's going on. We just don't have what it takes. We can't hang on. We can't even pray right, let alone live right. We don't have the strength to deal with our sin and suffering. We have to be strengthened, as Ephesians 3 says, "with power through His Spirit in the inner man." This is the Spirit's work.
Ephesians 1:13, "You were sealed in Him with Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance with a view to the redemption of God's own possession to the praise of His glory." I read that earlier. I come back to it because here I want to identify the Holy Spirit as a seal. What does that mean? Well in the ancient world, it would be like saying it had the stamp of authenticity. Seals were used in ancient times. King had an insignia or a signet ring or a stamp and that was pressed into wax with an official seal on a document. It was a sign of authenticity and when God gave us the Holy Spirit it was the official stamp by God that we are authentic children. That's inherent in that concept of seal.
You can see that illustration in 1 Kings 21, where a seal is used as a mark of authenticity. Secondly, seals were used in ancient times as marks of completed transactions. If, for example, there was a shift of ownership, there was a signature that was sealed. Jeremiah 32 gives us an indication or an illustration of that kind of use of a seal to identify ownership because a transaction is completed and property passed from one person to the next and there was an official seal to mark that transaction. Also, thirdly, seals were used as a sign of authority, not only authenticity and completed transaction but authority. In other words, if I was sent from the king to bring a message to someone, how does someone know that that message is authentic? Well they'll know it if at the bottom of that message there is a seal and the king's insignia is embedded in the wax. You'll find that in Esther chapter 3 and chapter 8, illustrations of a seal being used as a sign of authority.
So we could say that we have been sealed with the Spirit as a sign of authenticity. We are truly the children of God. As a sign of a completed transaction, we have been taken out of the family of Satan, into the family of God, out of the kingdom of darkness and become part of the kingdom of light. You could also say that it is a sign of authority. We have delegated authority. We are the representatives of God and Christ in this world. But primarily, primarily a seal was used as a sign of security, a sign of security. That's what I think Paul is doing with it here. And you find that also in the Old Testament where a seal identifies security.
In Daniel 6 verse 16: "King gave orders and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lion's den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, your God whom you continually serve will Himself deliver you, and a stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet ring of his nobles so that nothing might be changed in regard to Daniel." Okay, you put Daniel in there. Let's say you are the guard outside or you are somebody outside with a little bit of authority and you hear Daniel screaming and yelling and saying I'm not supposed to be here. You got the wrong guy. Don't let those lions loose. You've got to let me out. You've got to let me out. And you look and you see the seal of the king and of all the nobles, you don't touch the door. That thing is secure. You can't let that person out. When the king commanded Daniel to be confined in that den of lions, he fixed the seal of his ring on the door and no one could break it because he had sovereign power. Same thing happened in the burial of Christ, remember? Put the stone on and the Roman seal. No one can alter that situation.
So the Holy Spirit is the mark of our security. And only one greater than God could break the seal and no such one exists, right? And the seal is the Holy Spirit of promise. That simply means the Holy Spirit, who is connected with the fulfillment of God's promise. And what is God's promise? To bring us to glory, to bring us to the redemption of the purchased possession — That's us. We have been purchased by the blood of Christ — to bring us to full redemption, including the redemption of our body, which will be to the praise of His glory, which is why God did it in the first place that we might be to His glory forever and ever.
And so the Spirit, verse 26, is our seal. When God gave you His Spirit you were sealed and no one can break that seal. No one can alter the condition that God has placed you in. You are in His kingdom and the door is sealed. Verse 27 then. Tremendous verse. Looks at God's viewpoint on this. "And He who searches the hearts." Who's that? God. How do you know that? 1 Samuel 16:7: "Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart." First Kings 8:39: "You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men." First Chronicles 28:9: "The Lord searches every heart and understands every motive." Psalm 139:1 and 2: "Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up." Jeremiah 17, you know these words. "The heart is deceitful above all thing...things. It is exceedingly corrupt. Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the mind. I try the heart."
Hebrews 4:13: "There is no creature hidden from God's sight. All things are open and laid bare before the eyes of Him with whom we must give an account." He who searches the hearts is God. I love this. God, who knows everything, knows what the mind of the Spirit is. Why? Well because it's in the Trinity. I mean God knows everything that's in the mind of the Spirit because they are one in essence. They are in perfect harmony, omniscient agreement. Why? Because He intercedes for the saints according to God. Isn't it interesting? This is just really unfathomable to all of us. But God the Holy Spirit is always interceding for us, always in perfect accord with God's will. And what is God's will for us? God's will is that whom He predestined, He called. Whom He called, He justified. Whom He justified, He what? Alright.
God's will is to bring us all to glory and the Spirit prays according to the will of God. The Holy Spirit unceasingly prays for your glorification. Is that incredible? I don't know how these people live who think they have to stumble around and hang onto their own salvation by their fingernails. You say, well I'm not worthy for the Holy Spirit to do this. That's right. You weren't worthy to be justified. And you're not worthy to be sanctified and you certainly aren’t worthy to be glorified. And that's the whole point.
God did it because you weren't worthy so He could display His what? His grace. Just makes the case, folks. But the Bible says you're kept by the power of God through faith because God has so decreed it. Christ has confirmed it. The Spirit makes sure that it happens. The Son up there interceding to make sure we’re...there's never any condemnation and the Spirit down here interceding to make sure that there is never any circumstance and He always prays according to the will of God. And the will of God is that we would be brought to glory. And by the way, you have to throw verse 28 in here. Everybody knows verse 28 but not everybody knows how it's connected.
We know that God causes all things to work together for what? Yeah, that's right. Nothing works together for bad. Everything works together for good to those who love God to those who are called according to His purpose because His purpose is to predestinate us, to call us, to justify us and glorify us and nothing is going to intrude into that and so everything's going to work for that ultimate good. God does everything to bring us to glory, everything in the world, everything in life, all the circumstances He turns toward good, which is our ultimate glory and His ultimate glory. The Son intercedes for us to bring us to glory. The Spirit intercedes for us to bring us to glory.
You have in you the blessed Holy Spirit, always interceding according to the will of God, which is to bring you to glory and God knows exactly the mind of the Spirit and hears those unutterable groanings. Because of the intercession of the Holy Spirit everything works together for good. Because of God's plan, everything works together for good. Because of Christ's intercession, everything works together for good and good means your final glory. It does not mean and people trivialize that verse. We'll say more about it next time. It doesn't mean that every single thing that happens in life is good. It's not.
But everything in life works together for God's own to produce good because we will in the end be brought to glory. Paradise was lost and a sword of fire was set up to turn in every direction so as to guard the way of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. That sword of fire was meant to throw a ring of flame around the garden. It was like a blazing fence. What could be so menacing as a sword in a fire? Would threaten instant death for any man who tried to return to the garden by his own self-effort. And it would preserve the garden, in a way, as if to show that God purposed to bring man home someday to a paradise. And He will. He will and the Son of Man came to sheath that sword in His own body, put out that fire and open the gates and let us back into the kingdom of God. He made possible a new creation, a new glorious creation, ascribed in the millennial earth and finally a new heaven and a new earth, where there is no more curse, Revelation 22:3. That's the glory that awaits us. That's the glory we groan for. That's the glory the universe groans for. That's the glory the Holy Spirit groans for in perfect harmony with the will of the Father, who hears and answers the Spirit's prayers.
Spirit of God incessantly prays for you to bring you to glory. What a great truth that is. Let's pray.
Father, just the contemplation of these things is staggering to us. We are definitely searching the deep things. We don't understand the Trinity. It is mystery as to its essential character, how to define three in one. We don't understand the communion between the members of that Trinity. We can't comprehend it. But the limits of our understanding don't limit our joy. All we need to know is that you the Father and you the Son and you the Holy Spirit are guaranteeing that we will be glorified, that the plan will come to its fruition. This is immense truth. We couldn't hang on. We don't even know how to pray, let alone how to live, how to protect ourselves. We don't even know what's coming. We can't even see the kingdom of darkness work. We don't know when demons are around or not, when Satan’s here or isn't here. We don't know what circumstances we can bear and which we couldn't, which would destroy our faith, but You do. And You keep us by Your power. We wouldn't have it any other way. We didn't deserve to be justified. We don't deserve to be sanctified and we certainly don't deserve to be glorified and that's the point. That gives You all the glory. For such a display of grace, we praise Your name and that we should be the recipients of it is overwhelming and fills our hearts with thanksgiving. We thank You in Christ's name, amen.
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