In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.
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. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.
Obedience to God’s will transforms us. This week we’ve been thinking about how submission to God can help free us from our sinful nature. But even Paul continued to struggle with his sinful nature, and so do we. We have hope that one day we will assume our true natures and be completely free from sin, but in the meantime, we have optimism because the Spirit continues to help us in our weakness. In fact, the presence of the Holy Spirit is the very thing that saves us from God’s judgment. God searches our hearts and minds. Without the Spirit, we are inevitably controlled by sin. The Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf when we allow Him to enter and take up residence. Our very thoughts and feelings can be offered to Him to shape into perfection.
Imagine that your extremely finicky grandfather is coming to visit your house for the first time. You might try to do some home renovations in preparation for his coming. If you are anything like me, you’ll probably botch everything you try to fix and make everything worse. The paint didn’t dry evenly. The stairs are crooked. The light fixtures are askew. The Holy Spirit is like a professional who comes in and works miracles in your home. All of the sudden your hardwoods are gleaming and new. The kitchen has been opened up and there’s a new tub installed in the bathroom. Your grandfather will be so pleased! The oddest part of this analogy is that your grandfather is also the hired worker! God wants you to be saved!
Reason for Optimism 5: The Spirit continues to help us.