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Waggoner on Romans

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    Something Worth Knowing

    May 28, 1896

    The preceding lessons have shown us that the possession of the Holy Spirit marks our relation to God as sons. It is the pledge of the life and inheritance to come.WOR 141.1

    “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 groaning which can not be uttered. 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. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:26-28.WOR 141.2

    Questions on the Text

    What does the Spirit do for us?WOR 141.3

    “The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities.”WOR 141.4

    Why is this necessary?WOR 141.5

    “We know not what we should pray for as we ought.”WOR 141.6

    How therefore does the Spirit help us?WOR 141.7

    “The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us.”WOR 141.8

    In what way?WOR 141.9

    “With groanings which cannot be uttered.”WOR 141.10

    What does he who searches the hearts know? “He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit.”WOR 141.11

    Who searches the hearts?WOR 141.12

    “I the Lord search the heart.” Jeremiah 17:10.WOR 141.13

    Why does the Lord know the mind of the Spirit?WOR 141.14

    “Because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”WOR 141.15

    What then do we know?WOR 142.1

    “We know that all things work together for good.”WOR 142.2

    To whom?WOR 142.3

    “To them that love God.”WOR 142.4

    How are such ones called?WOR 142.5

    “Called according to his purpose.”WOR 142.6

    “Praying in the Spirit”

    “And in like manner the Spirit also helpeth our infirmity; for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered; 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.”WOR 142.7

    The heart is deceitful above all things, and none can know it except God. Jeremiah 17:9, 10. That in itself is sufficient reason why we do not know what we should pray for. Moreover, we do not know the things that God has to give us; and even if we did, our lips could not describe them, for “eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:9-12.WOR 142.8

    God desires to give to us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” Ephesians 3:20. Of course a petition for such things can not be put into words. The next clause however says that it is “according to the power that worketh in us;” and the sixteenth verse tells us that the power that works in us is the Spirit. Thus we find the same thing that we read in the eighth of Romans and the second of 1 Corinthians.WOR 142.9

    “The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.” Therefore the Spirit knows just what the Lord has for us. The deepest thoughts are too great for language, and so the Spirit makes intercession for us with groanings that can not be uttered. But, although there is no articulate speech “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.” The Lord knows that the Spirit asks for just the things that he has to bestow. He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that whatever is asked according to God’s will is granted. 1 John 5:14, 15.WOR 142.10

    Now note how this statement in regard to prayer fits in with what goes before in the eighth of Romans. God has given us his Spirit to be in us, to lead us, and to direct our lives. The possession of the Spirit of God proves that we are the sons of God. Being sons, we can come to him to ask for things to supply our need, with all the confidence of a child to a parent. But while we have all confidence, our thoughts are as the earth is below the heaven. Isaiah 45:8, 9. Not only are our thoughts feeble, but our language is still more so. We can not give proper expression even to the little that we do realize. But if we are the sons of God, we have in us his own representative, who helps our infirmity and who is able to take of the things of God to give to us. What wonderful confidence this should give us in praying to God; and especially should it give confidence to those who are particularly infirm in regard to language! It makes no difference if one has a very limited vocabulary, if he stammers, or even if he is dumb; if he prays in the Spirit, he is sure to receive all that he needs, and more than he can ask or think.WOR 143.1

    With these facts before us, how much more forcible becomes the exhortation of the apostle, “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” Ephesians 6:18.WOR 143.2

    All Things for Good

    “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God.” Without this knowledge we could not have that confidence in prayer that we ought to have and that is indicated in the preceding verses. Whoever knows the Lord must love him, for he is love. And the Spirit reveals him to us. Whoever knows that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” can not fail to love him. And then all things work together for good to him.WOR 143.3

    Take notice that the text does not say that all things shall work together for good to them that love God, but that they do so work now in this present time. Everything as it comes is good to those who love and trust the Lord. Many people lose the blessing of this assurance by reading it as though it were for the future. They try to be resigned to troubles that come by thinking that by and by some good will come from them; but in that case they do not get the good that God gives them.WOR 143.4

    Note further that the text does not say that we know how all things work together for good to them that love God. People in trouble often sigh piously and say, “Well, I suppose that it is all for good, but I can’t see how.” Of course not; and they have no business to see how. It is God that makes them work good, because he alone has the power. Therefore it is not necessary for us to know anything about how it is done. The fact is knowledge enough for us. God can overrule all the plans of the devil, and can make the wrath of man to praise Him. Our part is to believe. There is no trust in the Lord if we must see how He does everything. Those who must be able to see how the Lord works, show that they can not trust Him out of sight, and thus they give Him a bad name to the world.WOR 144.1

    Called of God

    God has called everybody to come to Him. “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” Revelation 22:17. God is no respecter of persons; he desires that all men shall be saved, and so he calls them all.WOR 144.2

    Not only does he call us, but he draws us. No man can come to him without being drawn, and so Christ is lifted up to draw all to God. he tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9), and through him all men have access to God. He has destroyed in his own body the enmity, the wall that separates men from God, so that nothing can keep any man from God unless that man builds up again the barrier.WOR 144.3

    The Lord draws us, but does not employ force. He calls, but does not drive. It remains therefore for us to make our “calling and election sure” by yielding to the influence that God throws round us. He says, “Follow me,” and we must make the calling effectual by following Him.WOR 144.4

    Purpose of the Calling

    God calls us “in the grace of Christ.” Galatians 1:6. “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Ephesians 2:4. Still further, we read that he hath “called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” 2 Timothy 1:9. In our text in Romans we learned that those who love God are the “called according to his purpose.” His purpose is that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. If we yield to his purpose, he will see that it is carried out.WOR 144.5

    God designed man for a companion for himself. But there is no true companionship where there is restraint. Therefore, in order that man might associate with him on terms of intimacy, he made the will of man as free as his own. God can not work against his own purpose; and therefore he not only will not, but he can not, force the will of man. All men are as absolutely free to choose as is God himself; and when they choose to yield to the call of God, His purpose of grace is wrought out in them by the power by which he is able to make all things work together for good. WOR 145.1

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