Romansby David Cook
As children of God, we are waiting for our promised inheritance (v. 17). What is our present experience as we wait?
First, Paul says it is one of suffering (v. 18). In verse 35, he outlines what he has in mind. He tells us that not only do we groan under the weight of present suffering (v. 23), but the whole of creation also groans under the frustration of its generation-growth-decay cycle. Creation is waiting for its liberation from the bondage of this cycle, and that will happen when the sons of God are revealed, that is, when Christ returns (v. 19).
We have received the downpayment of our salvation in the person of the Holy Spirit (v. 23). We groan as we wait for the rest of the payment, when our bodies will be transformed (1 Corinthians 15:35).
Our present experience is one of suffering and groaning. Paul says there should be none of the unreal positivism that dominates some churches which claim the experience of life is one triumph after another. Note also that there is none of the constant gloom that may suit some personalities, for we are not as we were before we were believers We have received the Holy Spirit, the downpayment, the first fruits that guarantee our “adoption to sonship”, and “the redemption of our bodies” (v. 23).
Secondly, Paul says our experience involves weakness (v. 26). This is not a moral weakness, but the weakness of ignorance. Sometimes, life is so complex that we simply do not know the appropriate things to pray for. However, the downpayment, the Spirit, does know. He intercedes effectively for us in a way that is consistent with God’s will when we may not know what God’s will is in a situation (v. 27).
So here is our present experience—realistic yet not one of unrelieved gloom, for through the work of Jesus, God has given us His Holy Spirit. The Spirit strengthens us to be holy (v. 13). He revitalises us (v. 11). He reminds us that we are God’s children (v. 16) and that we are on intimate terms with God (v. 15). He is the first fruits (v. 23), the guarantee of full salvation to come. He is the informed intercessor who prays for us (vv. 26–27).
How aware are you about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in your life? Do you recognise His work as outlined?
Do you thank God that the Holy Spirit has been given to you because of the work of Jesus? Note the two great blessings of salvation stated in Acts 2:38.