Pivotal to an understanding and appreciation of the victorious Christian life is a proper understanding of our relationship to time. We, as humans, are bound by time and space. God created both. In 2 Peter 3:8 we read, “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” In Isaiah 55:8-9 we read, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”
We are creatures with a very short life-span, although longer than most of the animals. That life span has been, generally speaking, reducing over time. Conditions under which we live, such as malnutrition, famine, poor health and irresponsible life-styles, all serve to further reduce our longevity. Since, by the grace of God, and at time of writing, my mother is 103 years old, I will use 100 years as the span of human life on earth. This 100 years spent and measured in “time” must now be compared with eternity which initially begins at 999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999,999 years, and then repeats that period, 999,999,999,999,999,999 times in phase 1 alone, before starting all over again.
With this in mind, try to understand that in the grand scheme of things, our 100 years on earth is less than the blink of an eye in God’s sight. The implication of this is that the overwhelming majority of the blessings and promises that God has reserved for us are for eternity, even if He chooses to give us a glimpse of them on earth. He could guarantee the Israelites that they will be delivered in 400 years, without prejudice to the fact that thousands of them died within that 400 year period.
Romans 8:22-23 speaks to the fact that sin was not a part of God’s plan for His creation, although He made provision for it. The groaning of all created things, and even the groaning of Believers in Jesus Christ, is nothing more than “compliments of sin”, and from which we will one day be freed. For the believer in Christ, it will end with consummation of our adoption to sonship which will be evidenced by the redemption of our physical bodies.
Romans 8:24 clearly establishes that our salvation is not complete as yet – “For in this hope we were saved.” There are those who speak of progressive sanctification as we allow ourselves to become more and more like Jesus. With practice and with the help of God’s Holy Spirit we obey God more and more and disobey the Devil more and more, as we demonstrate our love for God, made possible, only because He first loved us. So whereas at conversion we are saved from the penalty of sin; as we mature in Christ we are daily saved from the power of sin; and when Jesus returns for His bride, the dead in Christ shall rise first, and we who are alive will be caught up together with them to be with the Lord forever (1 Thessalonians 4:14-17). At that time, we who are alive would have been saved from the presence of sin.
Paul identifies the consummation of our adoption as that which every believer waits and hopes for, and by definition, it is yet to come. The rest of creation cannot await adoption, but it awaits release from the effect of the curse of sin and its implications. We can expect the lion to lie down with the lamb, and the lamb to wake up alive.
Romans 8:26 begins with, “In the same way…” Which way? For this, go back to Romans 8:10, 16. Romans 8:1 introduces the central focus of God the Holy Spirit in this chapter and the word “Spirit” is mentioned no fewer than 23 times. In Romans 8:10 we read, “…the Spirit gives life because of righteousness.” In Romans 8:16 we read, “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” Next, in Romans 8:26, we are introduced to yet another ministry of the Holy Spirit.
It is a fact that God will give us anything we ask. But there is a caveat. It must be according to His will. 1 John 5:14-15 states, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.” Therefore it is not rocket science to figure out that what carries the swing is not “what we ask”, but, “His will”. Not many Believers in Christ that I know have testified that they always know the will of God for them in every area of their lives. Generally, we know that God’s will for us lines up with God’s Word. That’s the easy part. But is it the will of God that I wear blue socks or black socks today? Simple matter I might think. But how would I know that the first prize of $1,000.00 will go to the first person who can come on stage with a pair of blue socks? And what about which job to take when you have options? The truth is, speaking for myself, I am very reluctant to tell God what I want or even what I need, without including the caveat, ‘not my will but Thine!”
God’s Holy Spirit is aware that very often, I simply do not know the will of God for me in a specific area of my life. Accordingly, I do not know how I should pray, since I want God’s will for my life. In such times, regardless of the reason, God’s Holy Spirit prays on my behalf in a way that I may not be able to understand, but which is perfectly understood by God. Talking about a set-up! This is the greatest of all set-ups. God the Son interceding for me (Hebrews 7:25), at the same time that God the Holy Spirit is praying on my behalf, who along with God the Son, are addressing God the Father on my behalf. That’s what I call a set-up. What option does God have, but to hear my prayer and grant the request!
Remember to visit RBC’s Our Daily Bread Devotional today at www.ODB.org