Paul says, “Even we groan, having the Spirit’s first fruits as adopted sons of God while awaiting the redemption of our bodies.” Our bodies being the natural aspect of our total being that contacts the physical world and will ultimately received fuller redemption when we receive a glorified body. [Verse 23]
We groan, as does Creation for a revelation of Glory that only the ultimates can produce, the second coming of Jesus Christ with His glorified heirs. This groaning answers to Creation’s groaning in both the present and ultimate sense of fulfilled purpose.
In verse 25, Paul asserts that while we await the ultimates, “we hope with endurance.” That is, we continue to hope and while we hope, we endure the present groaning and childbirth labor All participates in together, a process that produces God’s purposes.
This frames the revelation of how things work in the spirit concerning the process of childbirth labor that will someday produce the ultimate but continues here and now to produce the restoration of purpose through the same process of shared spiritual experience.
“Moreover also likewise” starts out verse 26. These words signal how Paul’s discussion of ultimates, comparisons of passionate endurance, and other shared spiritual experiences between Jesus and the heirs of God applies to here and now as well as future fulfillment of All.
“In the same manner, in addition to that, also the Spirit helps together.” The term, synantilambanetai, means “aggressively lay hold of together.” Holy Spirit joins in our groaning and childbirth labor. Actively involved in what we are experiencing here and now, pregnant with purpose and laboring to produce that purpose. Here and now, not only in the ultimate sense because only the second coming of Jesus can bring the ultimates. Holy Spirit is doing what we are doing, aggressively laying hold of a purpose that must be birthed and set into place so it can mature.
Early in my childhood, I stayed all night with my friend, Stan on the William’s farm. The next morning his dad and the local vet were fully engaged in helping a weary cow give birth to a calf. It was a breech birth, feet first, and the cow was fighting for her life. The vet and Stan’s dad had a chain wrapped around the calf’s hooves and were both pulling, bent backs, strained arms and legs, groaning with extreme effort to birth that calf. Since the process of labor had begun, the process of labor had to finish if they were to save the calf and his mother.
Consider how “aggressively laying hold” fits that picture.
Holy Spirit helps us do what we are supposed to be doing. Holy Spirit doesn’t give birth to purpose but aggressively lays hold with us in the process.
We cannot separate what we are doing here and now from what we are going to ultimately experience when we receive a glorified body because we are experiencing the groans and childbirth labor here and now without a glorified body. We have limitations here and now. That is Paul’s point. The discussion certainly means Jesus is coming back to finish something that only He can finish, but Paul speaks of here and now in tandem with his sense of ultimates.
He helps us with our limitations. After identifying Creation’s futility, Paul identifies our limitations. Creation cannot produce purpose because it was created for God’s heirs and has no purpose within and of itself. Creation’s purpose awaits what God’s children birth. God’s children are engaged in birthing, just as Creation, but they have limitations as well. Their limitation lies in their lack of information about what to pray, their inability to fully discern purpose so they can give birth to it.
What We Should Pray For
Paul fits the groaning childbirth labor experience into prayer. He says, Prayer is the birthing process. Our prayer is limited because we lack knowledge of what to pray.
Obviously praying anything we please doesn’t produce what has caused our groaning and childbirth labor, doesn’t release what our shared spiritual experiences should release. Praying isn’t enough! Praying purpose finishes the birthing process. The groaning and childbirth labor we experience comes from our shared spiritual experience with Jesus, as equal heirs of God with Him, to produce the same purposes He died, rose again, and ascended in authority to restore. When we share His passion, we share His glory. When we enter into this process of groaning, we are groaning for a very different reason with a different outcome from All of Creation. We can give birth to purpose! However, we have limitations.
“We do not know how to pray what is necessary.” That’s our limitation. Creation’s limitation comes from having to await the heirs of God because Creation lacks innate purpose beyond being the inheritance of Jesus. Jesus sets us into place as equal heirs so we can share His spiritual experiences of intense, focused passion. We become pregnant with purpose and enter into groaning and childbirth labor to produce that purpose.
We do not know when or how to birth because we are limited, right now we lack a glorified body to endure, to finish, and to produce.
Therefore, God helps us!
Creation groans. We groan. God groans.
We should stop here to say something about the two words, “prayer” and “intercession.” The word for prayer is “proseuxometha.” The word for intercession is “hyperentynchanei.” Very different terms. They relate and meet together in birthing through the direct involvement of Holy Spirit in the process of groaning and childbirth labor.
Prayer is “to pray towards, request, wish or desire towards. The sense of the word is that we enter into an interactive or shared persuasion. We are persuaded with a sense of persuading God. The sense of being persuaded so we can enter into a persuasive interchange with God should overshadow the immature viewpoint of God being there to get us what we want.
Intercession is “come into alignment with for the benefit of.” This is the same sense of “pulling out the calf” with aggressive assistance. The intercession word used here occurs only here in all the New Testament and applies to the spiritual condition Holy Spirit creates when He helps us break through our limitations. He brings us into alignment with eternal purpose so we are releasing God’s will. The next verse has the word “intercession” in it but it is not “hyper” because birthing requires both Holy Spirit and us together groaning in childbirth labor.
He can assist us because He searches hearts, knows the mind of the spirit, and intercedes for the saints according to God.
That brings us to Romans 8:28 with a much better understanding of why and how “God symphonically orchestrates together All for good.” What is “good?” Better question is, “Who is good?”
Jesus answers, “None but God.” Jesus answers in this way, not that He isn’t God, but He understands that goodness intertwines intrinsically with the purpose of God. That is, God is good because He is the origination of all purpose, so good is measured by what is perfectly consistent with what God wants.
God symphonically orchestrates together All to produce purpose for those loving God who are, because of this passion, positioned, ordained, assigned, and called with purpose in mind.