The fourth Sunday of Pentecost – June 18, 2023

Holy Trinity Church – Tom Mount


Scripture reading: Romans 8:26-30  

Brief Review: Romans 8:1-25

  • The Spirit of life (vv.1-13)
  • The Spirit of adoption (vv.14-17)
  • The Spirit of glory (vv. 18-30)

Exegesis: Romans 8:26-30

26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness.

  • “Likewise” – in the same way as hope sustains us (vv. 24-25).
  • “helps” – synántilambanomai, “bear a burden along with.” Cf. Ex 18:22; Lk 10:40.
  • “weakness”- when tired, faithless, angry, lonely, tempted

For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.

  • Ever feel this way?
  • “intercedes”hyperentygcháno, inarticulate communication. Same root word found in v.34 of Jesus (entygcháno). See also Heb 7:25.
  • “groanings”stenagmós, sigh or groaning. Cf. Acts 7:34.
  • “too deep for words”alalétos, wordless. Not glossolalia but inarticulate communication.

27And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the holy ones according to the will of God.

  • “He who searches hearts” – e., the Father
  • “knows the mind of the Spirit” – How? The triune Persons share the same mind and will (6th Ecumenical Council, A.D. 680, Constantinople).
  • “holy ones”- hagiōn, typ. translated “saints” (“sanctified ones”).

Summary and takeaway for vv. 26-27: The Spirit in us reads our minds and prays to the Father; the Father reads the Spirit’s mind and our heart and answers. So, pray boldly on all occasions!

28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

  • “all things work together for good” –What is the good? For whom is it promised? Two qualifications:
  • “for those who love God” – You love what you most think about
  • “for those who are called according to his purpose”- What is God’s purpose for us?

29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

  • “for those he foreknew” – proginosko, “knew intimately by prior experience”, i.e., “chose earlier to enter into a relationship” (Heb. yada). Cf. Eph 1:4,11. Does not mean he saw ahead of time we would chose him (contra Arminianism). Nor does it mean he chose us apart from our voluntary relational participation (contra Calvinism). He chooses us and we choose him.
  • “predestined [to be] conformed to the image of his Son” – proóritzen summórphous tes eikonos tou hiou, predetermined that we be formed into beings significantly “like” Jesus; summorphos, (morphos-form, sun-with); eikon, image.
  • Take a minute to absorb that: from eternity past, God established a relationship with you, before you were born, with the express purpose that you would be like his one and only Son. Second person only one who is “Son” by nature; we are sons and daughters by grace (creation/re-creation/adoption). Why did God do it?
  • “that he (Jesus) might be the firstborn among many brothers” – God wanted a large human family to be with forever!

30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

  • “called” – kaleo, The Church (ekklesia) comprises the “called out ones”
  • “justified” – dikaioó, declared righteous by law (being made righteous in fact)
  • “glorified” – doxazō, radiant with the splendor of God!

Summary and takeaway for vv. 28-30: Note the progression: God foreknew (chose) us – he predestined us conformed to Christ’s image – he called us – he justified us – he glorifies us. Ask the Lord to help you re-frame your current sufferings so as to see them as an essential part of your overall training regimen to make you glorious like Christ!