Security in Christ demonstrated in our present sanctification – Romans 8:25-28

 

We have seen how our security in Christ is affirmed by the indwelling Holy Spirit of God and the security in Christ established in our future hope. Now, in verses 25-28, we see our security in Christ demonstrated in our present sanctification. The term ‘sanctification’ refers to the working of God in the life of a believer to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. God is working in us in order to mold us and make us to be just like Jesus. We know we have been justified not only because of the Holy Spirit within us and the hope of glory that we have to look forward to, but we also know we have been justified because of how God is working in our lives right now in the present time. There are four basic principles that we see in our text.

Suffering and Sanctification go hand in hand. Notice what Paul says in verses 25-26. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it. 26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities…”[1] The thing we hope for is that day when our salvation is complete and we are glorified. We cannot see the glory that is to be revealed in the future. All we see right now is the sufferings of this life. Our hope is that one day the glory will be revealed and there will be no more suffering. However, while we suffer through this life, we are patiently waiting for that day when the glory is revealed. It is in this process of waiting that we see both suffering and sanctification. The point here is that suffering in this life is a part of our sanctification. There are a couple of things to understand here. (1) Suffering is not a part of God’s original plan. God never intended that we should suffer. We suffer as a result of living in a sin cursed world. If it were not for the fall, there would be no suffering. (2) God has a plan to use the suffering for our sanctification. In God’s foreknowledge, He knew that man would fall, therefore, out of love; He has a plan to carry us through the suffering in order that we may be conformed to the image of Christ. Therefore, even though God did not plan for us to suffer, He has a plan in the suffering. God uses the suffering and circumstances of life in order to bring us through this sanctification process to ultimately make us to be just like Jesus. The comforting thought here is that when we do suffer, God has a plan. He is using the suffering in order to sanctify us. That is why we can still be thankful even in the suffering.

We are not alone. I love the comforting words that Paul gives in verse 26. “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” [2]The good news is that God does not leave us to try and sanctify ourselves. When we came to faith in Christ, He did not say, ‘Okay, here you go, I want you to be conformed to the image of Christ, but you’re going to have to do it on your own.’ He did not say that we would have to endure suffering on our own. He has given us the Holy Spirit as our comforter to carry us through the suffering that leads to our sanctification. Look at what Jesus says in John 14:16-18. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; 17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. 18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”[3] We have been given the Holy Spirit of God not just for the security of our salvation, but also as a comforter to carry us through the sufferings of life.

As we suffer in life, we often do not know how to pray. We do not understand the right way to pray. The Holy Spirit who lives within us, prays on our behalf. “As it is hope that carries us through our times of suffering (vv. 24–25), so it is the Spirit who comes to our aid when we find ourselves unable to pray as we ought.”[4] The Holy Spirit is groaning with us. He understands our pain. He knows what we are going through. He feels for us. Warren Wiersbe writes, “God is concerned about the trials of His people. When He was ministering on earth, Jesus groaned when He saw what sin was doing to mankind (Mark 7:34; John 11:33, 38). Today the Holy Spirit groans with us and feels the burdens of our weaknesses and suffering. But the Spirit does more than groan. He prays for us in His groaning so that we might be led into the will of God. We do not always know God’s will. We do not always know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes so that we might live in the will of God in spite of suffering. The Spirit shares the burden.”[5] This is a very comforting thought for us as believers. It is good to know that someone is carrying our burdens with us. It is a great comfort to have someone by our side when we our suffering. However, it is even a greater comfort to know that the Holy Spirit is with us. He is there. He is sharing in our burdens. He is working in us through the sufferings of life. He is using the sufferings of life to bring us into God’s perfect will and plan for us.

God knows what is best for us. It is also a great comfort to know that God knows what is best for us even though we may not see it. Notice what it is says in verse 27. “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” [6] The New American Commentary states, “God is the one who has complete access to the heart. His knowledge is direct, not dependent upon one’s ability to articulate concerns. God is a searcher of hearts and knows the desires of the Spirit as the Spirit intercedes for us. He knows that the Spirit is interceding for saints in harmony with his will. No passage of Scripture provides greater encouragement for prayer. The Spirit comes to the aid of believers baffled by the perplexity of prayer and takes their concerns to God with an intensity far greater than we could ever imagine. Our groans (v. 23) become his (v. 26) as he intercedes on our behalf.”[7] It is because the Holy Spirit is so in tune with the heart of God that He prays for us within the will of God, knowing that God knows what is best for us. What God knows is best for us may not seem like the best when we are going through it. However, God knows. He has already been there in your sufferings, and He knows what is best for you. As a father, there are times when I must say no to my children because I know what is best for them. They may not like it. They may try to rebel against it. Yet, because  I love them, I want to lead them in the best way. This is how God is with us. He loves us; therefore, He wants the best for us. In order to have His best, He may lead us through suffering in order that we may come out on the other side understanding God’s best for us. Therefore, as you suffer, be encouraged. God is working something in you to bring about His very best for you.

God is working all things for our good. Verse 28 is one of the most beautiful verses in all the Bible. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”[8] It is because of the fact of how God is working in us through the sufferings of this life in order to conform us to the image of Christ; that we can with confidence say that ‘all things work together for good.’ Who is God working everything for good for? For those who by faith have been justified. Those that love God are those whom God is sanctifying. Those whom God has called is the church, His bride. His purpose for those called is to bring glory to God through our sanctification process. This is a comforting thought. If you are a born-again believer in Jesus Christ, everything you go through in life, God is working it out in order to sanctify you for your own good. He is working all things out in order that we might be just like Jesus.

It is the fact that suffering and sanctification goes hand in hand and that God is working through our suffering to bring about His best for us; that brings us great comfort and encouragement to trust Him more. No matter what you are going through, if you are a believer in Christ, God is working it all out for your good and for His glory!

 

[1] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 8:25–26). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[2] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 8:26). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[3] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Jn 14:16–18). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[4] Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 186). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[5] Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 1, p. 541). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[6] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 8:27). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[7] Mounce, R. H. (1995). Romans (Vol. 27, p. 187). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[8] The Holy Bible: King James Version. (2009). (Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version., Ro 8:28). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

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