Introduction: We conclude our 2018 Bible notes on Romans 8 by reaffirming that all God’s love and grace are only accessible to us through Jesus Christ. As Romans 8:39 says, in describing God’s love: There is an inseparable, persevering, saving Divine love for us to experience – but only as it is found in Jesus Christ: “Nothing in all creation… will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. May we be inspired this New Year to place all our hopes in Jesus Christ alone. Glorying in Christ Jesus is God the Father’s will for us (John 17:5), and the Holy Spirit’s pleasure (John 16:14).
Mon/Tues: read Romans 8:15 and 8:26-27. How we should marvel at the Holy Spirit and God the Father in their shared ability in Romans 8:26-27 to “search our hearts” in order to help us when we don’t know how to pray and when all our hearts can do is groan! Truly God’s Spirit in particular is able to supply all the needed grace for such difficult times. After all, in Romans 8:15, it is the Spirit who omnisciently knows when nothing less than the urgent cry “Abba Father” is needed – the word “cry” being translated from the Greek verb of a baby shrieking for its mother! Do we not sing of the Spirit’s omniscient ability to put our most urgent crises into timely words to be brought to Christ in order to secure help from our Savior in Heaven? One hymn by Henry Twells puts it this way:
At even, ere the sun was set,
The sick, O Lord, around Thee lay;
O, with how many pains they met!
O, with what joy they went away!
Once more ’tis eventide, and we,
Oppressed with various ills, draw near;
What if Thyself we cannot see?
We know that Thou art ever near.
O Savior Christ, our woes dispel;
For some are sick, and some are sad;
And some have never loved Thee well,
And some have lost the love they had.
And some are pressed with worldly care
And some are tried with sinful doubt;
And some such grievous passions tear,
That only Thou canst cast them out.
Meditate and Pray: Well, what do you think of the Spirit of God’s ability to omnisciently carry our deepest heart cries straight to our Savior? Some of old in the Gospels had strong friends who could bear them in their infirmities and paralysis straight to the Savior (Mark 2:3-5). How much safer and surer of help and healing is our condition, when we have no one less than the Spirit of God to bear us in our perplexities, weaknesses and sins straight to the “throne of Grace” in order that we find help in our time of need!
“Worldly cares… sinful doubts… grievous passions… sickness and woe… cold hearts and lost love for Christ… oppressive ills of every kind… AWAY WITH YOU! The Spirit of God knows how to carry us to the Savior for all these to be cast out! Hallelujah!
Wed/Thurs: read Romans 8:28-34 and Proverbs 8:22-30. It is not just God’s Spirit who has the omniscient wisdom to help us, supplying just the right groans and words to carry to Heaven when we don’t know what to say or do. We must add to this picture of the Spirit’s “omniscient compassion” what Scripture says about the omniscient, eternal compassion of God’s Son for us!
Consider for example, how the eternal Wisdom of God in Proverbs 8:30-31 is pictured as “delighting” alongside God the Father in the creation of mankind! This personified, eternal Wisdom of God is not itself created: God possessed this Wisdom from eternity (Proverbs 8:22-23). No wonder John takes up this idea of the eternal “Wisdom” or “Logic” of God and uses this idea to describe the creative work of God’s Son in John 1:1-3:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.
Do you see the lesson? God’s Son has been in the “family business” of studying the world of mankind since before we came into being! No wonder He is a Savior who understands us through and through, and can truly meet our needs – since He is able to pray for us with full knowledge of who we are in Romans 8:34!
Meditate and Pray: Thank the Lord Jesus for His thorough and insightful knowledge of our each and every need as He exercises the office of our Heavenly Mediator in Romans 8:34. Let us also confess that we do not fully appreciate how it is that: all faith; all ability; all supplies of help; all spiritual gifts; all comfort; all recoveries from illness, every easing of pain or deliverance from evil; all access into the holy presence of God – All is due entirely to the intercession of Jesus Christ for us! As John Owen says, challenging us to greater appreciation of Christ’s omniscient intercessions for us in Romans 8:34:
“The generations of the people of God in the world are at this day alive, undevoured, merely on the account of the intercession of the Lord Jesus.” (J. Owen, Vol. 2 p. 145).
Friday: read Romans 8:34-39 and Revelation 1:12-18. The ultimate proof of our Savior’s omniscient power to intercede for us before His Father’s throne in Romans 8:34, is that He is able to anticipate every kind of trouble that could ever attempt to separate us from His love in Romans 8:35-39. In pictorial terms, this omniscient Savior has eyes in Revelation 1:14, which “burn with insight,” penetrating all our enemies’ stratagems against us, with the result that nothing in all creation can separate us from God’s love; from God’s loving purpose to glorify us with Himself one day, and from God’s love fully displayed towards us in Jesus Christ. As Romans 8:35-39 so emphatically put it in JB Phillips’ translation:
35-36 Can anything separate us from the love of Christ? Can trouble, pain or persecution? Can lack of clothes and food, danger to life and limb, the threat of force of arms? Indeed some of us know the truth of the ancient text: ‘For your sake we are killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter’.
37 No, in all these things we win an overwhelming victory through him who has proved his love for us.
38-39 I have become absolutely convinced that neither death nor life, neither messenger of Heaven nor monarch of earth, neither what happens today nor what may happen tomorrow, neither a power from on high nor a power from below, nor anything else in God’s whole world has any power to separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord!
Sat/Sun: read Romans 8:34-39 and John 14:18. Our Savior’s continuous regard for His church means that, when He had every right to leave us in order to ascend back to Heaven to enjoy His well-earned glory with His Father once again, He instead committed Himself to coming back to us in our need. He promised in John 14:18 that He would not leave us as “orphans,” but would by His Spirit “come to us” after His resurrection. This is exactly what He does in Romans 8:34, where His first request from His Father in Heaven, as He now stands interceding for us before the throne, is that the Holy Spirit would be sent to us, thereby ensuring that each moment on earth He can be with us Himself through that very Spirit whom He asked to be sent to live within us as our Comforter!
Marvelous! Christ Jesus is glad to continue to exercise His office as our Mediator in Heaven! Not one moment of self-regard on the part of our Savior. Despite His stupendous resurrection and victory in Romans 8:34, He continues to be mindful of us….
- Knowing full well how much glory is due Him for His victory at the Cross…
- Knowing full well how perfect was His obedience to His Father’s every command while on earth…
- Knowing full well how all of Heaven stands ready to give Him all glory and praise for His sinless, glorious character and impeccable working out of our salvation…
- Knowing full well how He possesses by nature and right all the glory of God which “He had with His Father before the world was” (John 17:1-6)…
- Nevertheless… He chooses to employ the full energies of His omniscience towards us and our plight!
Meditate and Pray: Let this be one of our New Year’s resolutions: to daily give thanks to Jesus for His ongoing, unselfish commitment to being our Mediator in Romans 8:34. No one else will ever hold the office of Mediator between God and man because it is the Father’s pleasure to bestow that economic role on His Son alone. Let us also never forget that literally everything of eternal spiritual value for us comes through the nail-pierced hands of Jesus Christ.
My prayer, therefore, as I write these New Year Bible notes is that we would see how profoundly Christ-centered our faith must be. Whether looking back to the mists of eternity or forward to the glory to come… all graces and benefits only come to us through Him! Yea, we must say it even more forcefully by asking ourselves the question:
“Who of us would want any good thing if it came to us apart from Christ’s intercessions? Even if we are suffering trials – which of those painful trials will not grow in luster when we see that Christ speaks to the Father about it before it comes? Shall we refuse what comes into our lives as a result of His prayer for us? ‘No! In all these things we are more than conquerors’ – even in the trials which we must share with Christ if we would reign with Him one day” (Rom. 8:17)!