My friends, we are at one of my all time favorite promises of the Bible. God laid the groundwork for this truth in me before I could even read as a child. I grew up knowing it, and I remember being surprised when I read it in the Bible the first time.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. (Cliffhanger!) We are about to get there though. First I want to start with our Scriptures and tell you a story. Go ahead and read Romans 8:26-30 below and in your preferred translation if it isn’t included. I’ll meet you on the other side…
ESV: 26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. 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. 27 And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. 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. 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. 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.
VOICE: 26 A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan. 29-30 From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future. You see, He knew those who would be His one day, and He chose them beforehand to be conformed to the image of His Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of a new family of believers, all brothers and sisters. As for those He chose beforehand, He called them to a different destiny so that they would experience what it means to be made right with God and share in His glory.
Verse 26 is profound when we think about the Holy Spirit actually speaking and praying for us. I will never forget this sound. I’ve heard it only once, and it was the night my pre-believer finally told me he’d decided he was an atheist. I was grieved deeper and ached more than I can even describe.
As I laid down, trying to sleep after hearing this devastating news, I heard this groaning in the silence of the night. It was deep within me but didn’t come from my throat or mouth. I could hear it only in my spirit. I later came to understand that groaning was the Holy Spirit stepping in when I couldn’t, and I believe Abba Father allowed me to hear it so that I could be comforted. I don’t know what He was “groaning,” but I look forward to one day finding out how He prayed for me that dark night.
Verse 27 further expounds on this amazing gift of being “known.” My friends, I know this path we walk with our pre-believers can be lonely because we don’t feel like our spouse “gets us.” We are limited and even unable to share the depths of our relationship with our Abba Father, Savior and Friend Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who dwells in us. But know right now, this very day, that YOU ARE KNOWN BY HIM!
Paul states this truth too:
Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. — 1 Corinthians 13:12
I believe this word is specifically for several of you reading this right now. So I will say it again and if you feel a piercing in your spirit, then know that this word is for you today, my friend.
You don’t “feel” understood and “known” right now, but God knows you inside and out. He knows everything you are walking through right now and He. Is. There. He sees you. He loves you. He KNOWS you.
Wow, now I felt that one roll over me big time as the Holy Spirit guided my words. That’s from His heart to yours, my precious friend. And think about this: He’s given me this word for you and I’m writing it down hours before you even read or knew about it. See how He turns His thoughts to you (Psalm 139:17-18)?
The rest of this powerful verse describes how the Holy Spirit pleads for us, His saints (Eph 1:18), to align us with God’s will and heart. And that brings another powerful verse to mind because in this process of the Holy Spirit praying for us, to align us with the Father, we begin to delight in Him. Now look at the verse from a new perspective:
Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it. — Psalm 37:4 NASB
So we have the Holy Spirit, who knows us best, interceding for us when we don’t know what to pray, working on our behalf and aligning us with God’s plans and purposes. And now we move into that truth I told you about, that God ingrained in me as a child.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28
And all means ALL, my friends. This is an astonishing truth that you won’t find in the world. It is the heart of the redemption message. God redeems everything. He brings good out of everything, which means we do not suffer, endure, and persevere without purpose. He is not wasteful. He will not allow us to walk through or into anything (bad or good) that He doesn’t have a plan and purpose for our good.
He knows us, He is for us, and He is good.
This is one of the most profound truths in the Bible, and when we can truly embrace it and fully believe that God is always good, then we walk in astounding freedom from sins like unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred, envy and more. How about freedom from fear?
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. — 1 John 4:18
This is also the place the place the enemy likes to hit us hard, to make us stumble and doubt. This is where I got hit last year. I’ve stood on the truth of Romans 8:28 for years and proclaimed it as my life verse. I shared it, taught it, lived it. But I’d allowed the enemy in and listened to his darts of doubt. Suddenly the very truth I’d built my life upon wasn’t standing strong. My foundation began to crumble, and the hardest part was that God allowed it.
I questioned. I railed. Until I saw that I’d allowed these lies to be part of my faith foundation and the only way to get rid of them was to tear it apart until only the truth remained. The truth of Romans 8:28: God is always good and He is always working for our good. That’s His character and the only way He works.
When doubt creeps in, dear friends, ask yourself this: “What do I know to be true?” Ask the Holy Spirit to show you. I promise you, He will. I love what Kris Vallotton says about the truth of Romans 8:28. “If it isn't good yet, then God’s not done.”
And finally, verses 29 and 30. I know there is discussion and confusion about predestination, but for me, these verses spell it out clearly. What is our destiny? To be like Jesus. That’s it. It’s that simple.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. — Ecc. 3:11
Abba Father created us to be like His Son, Jesus, even to the point of sacrificing Him for our benefit (can I get a God is REALLY GOOD here?). That is His heart for us. And in the moment we accept that calling, we are justified and then glorified. For Him. We are His and He is ours.
Now I will close with this jewel from verse 29 in the Voice translation:
From the distant past, His eternal love reached into the future.
Think about this and let it soak deep into your bones. His loves reaches us from the past of the cross, carries us through the present and ushers us into eternity. It’s constant and relentless—for us and for our pre-believers.
Just one more part to this series and I just love this one too. It’s a promise that brought His bright light into some dark moments last year. I can’t wait to share that one with you too!
Links to previous parts to this series:
A Introduction to Empowered Living
Empowered Living: Romans 8:1-4 (part one)
Empowered Living: Romans 8:1-4 (part two)
Empowered Living: Romans 8:5-8
Empowered Living: Romans 8:9-11
Empowered Living: Romans 8:12-17
Empowered Living: Romans 8:18-25