Saturday, August 8, 2015

right now...interceding for us

artwork by Lori Bedo

Lori Bedo described this beautiful work of art on our Artful Story Journaling Facebook page, “I was going through some boxes in my art room and came across some pages from an old art journal. Though years have passed since these were made, I can still see that my eyes were on my Creator…the swirls of paint with a cross scraped in the midst…scrapes and smudges, smears and cuts, using a putty knife on globs of paint with a cross in the midst…loving Jesus…I have loved the Lord all these years and He has kept me close to His side through it all.”

I reflected on Lori’s inspired artwork as I listened to one of my favorite hymns from Selah, Before the Throne of God AboveBefore the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect Plea; A great high priest whose name is Love, Who ever lives and pleads for me. My name is graven on His hands, My name is written on His heart. I know that while in Heaven He stands, No tongue can bid me thence depart. When Satan tempts me to despair, And tells me of the guilt within, Upwards I look and see Him there, Who made an end to all my sin. Because the sinless Savior died, My sinful soul is counted free, For God the Just is satisfied, to look on Him and pardon me. Behold Him there, the risen Lamb; My perfect spotless Righteousness, the great unchanging all I Am, The King of glory and of grace. One with Himself, I cannot die; my soul is purchased by His blood. My life is hid with Christ on high; with Christ, my Savior and my God…this inspired me to do a word study of the word “intercedes” from Romans 8:26-27:

NASB: In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

Amplified: So too the [Holy] Spirit comes to our aid and bears us up in our weakness; for we do not know what prayer to offer nor how to offer it worthily as we ought, but the Spirit Himself goes to meet our supplication and pleads in our behalf with unspeakable yearnings and groanings too deep for utterance. And He Who searches the hearts of men knows what is in the mind of the [Holy] Spirit [what His intent is], because the Spirit intercedes and pleads [before God] in behalf of the saints according to and in harmony with God’s will.


NLT:
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying, for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.

Phillips: The Spirit of God not only maintains this hope within us, but helps us in our present limitations. For example, we do not know how to pray worthily as sons of God, but his Spirit within us is actually praying for us in those agonizing longings which never find words. And God who knows the heart’s secrets understands, of course, the Spirit’s intention as he prays for those who love God.

Wuest: And in like manner also the Spirit lends us a helping hand with reference to our weakness, for the particular. thing that we should pray for according to what is necessary in the nature of the case, we do not know with an absolute knowledge; but the Spirit himself comes to our rescue by interceding with unutterable groanings.  Moreover, He who is constantly searching our hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because, according to God, He continually makes intercession on behalf of the saints.

Young's Literal: And, in like manner also, the Spirit doth help our weaknesses; for, what we may pray for, as it behoveth [us], we have not known, but the Spirit himself doth make intercession for us with groanings unutterable, and He who is searching the hearts hath known what [is] the mind of the Spirit, because according to God he doth intercede for saints.

Intercedes for us: the Greek words entugcháno (from en = in + tugcháno = get, obtain) means to meet up with or to encounter and then to approach someone with a petition, and hupérentugcháno (from hupér = for, on behalf of + entugcháno = entreat) means to make intercession, bring a petition to a king on behalf of someone, ask for something with urgency and intensity. It means to make an earnest request through contact with the one approached. To entreat (in favor or against), to bring a petition to a king on behalf of someone, to ask for something with urgency and intensity, to plead, beg, appeal to or to petition. It further means to intercede for or in the behalf of someone or to plead for someone. It is a picturesque word of rescue by one who ‘happens on’ one who is in trouble, and ‘in his behalf’ (hupér) pleads ‘with unuttered groanings’ or with ‘sighs that baffle words.'

Intercedes for us: the preposition for (hupér) is the Greek preposition which in this context expresses the idea of substitution. Instead of for, one can render it as, Christ intercedes—in place of, for the benefit of, on behalf ofus. This act of love can never be fully appreciated until we understand exactly who the objects of that love were—unlovable, unlovely, ungodly, helpless-to-help-themselves-sinners, constantly rebelling against God's will for their lives, God's mortal enemies! It is for such as these that our constantly Risen Lord constantly makes intercession. Our Great High Priest speaks to His Father on our behalf and He is engaged in this gracious work continually, in the present tense, He is continuously interceding on behalf of His children.

Greek Scholar Kenneth S. Wuest writes, “God the Father who searches the hearts of His saints, understands the intent or bent of our unutterable prayers, unutterable because we do not know the particular things we should pray for in connection with a certain circumstance, for He knows the mind of the Holy Spirit praying for us and in our stead in our prayers in the case of the above-mentioned items for prayer, the Holy Spirit praying according to the plan of God for our lives. The Messiah's current intercession includes every form of Messiah’s identifying Himself with humanity, and includes the idea of intercession. The Apostle Paul speaks here of the present intercession of Messiah on behalf of believers, which is based upon and follows His once-for-all offering of Himself as the sacrifice for sin.”

Pastor John F. Walvoord notes that “the verb hupérentugcháno is used twice to refer to Christ's intercession. For those prepared to enter into its wonderful truth, the fact that Christ intercedes for His own in heaven is another guarantee of the security of the believer. While the hope of the believer for eternal salvation rests essentially on his possession of eternal life and the finished character of the death of Christ, it is undoubtedly strengthened by the fact of the intercession of Christ. In His intercession in heaven, Christ sustains the believer and keeps him from many of the spiritual dangers of life. Such intercession pleads the fact that the believer is in Christ and a partaker of His righteousness. The doctrine of intercession emphasizes the great truth that Christ never ceases to intercede for His own. While human prayers on earth are limited in both extent and power, the intercession of Christ knows no limits within the will of God. As an infinite person, Christ is able to concentrate His intercession wholly on each individual believer without any diminution or detraction from the needs of any other. In effect, the believer is assured of the intercession of Christ in such a manner as would be true if Christ centered all His love and all His intercession on that one believer. Whatever may be the limitation of human prayers, the believer is assured that there is One who never ceases to pray to him and his needs and that this Intercessor has all power and favor with the Father and, accordingly, “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”

Robert Murray McCheyne, the beloved Scottish minister of the 19th century, wrote, “It was dawn, and I was painfully aware of being only a few weeks into widowhood. After another restless night, I felt too weary to pray for myself. ‘Lord,’ I sighed, ‘I need someone to pray for me right now.’ Almost instantly God's Spirit comforted my distraught mind with the words of Romans 8:26-27, reminding me that Jesus was praying for me that very moment. With a wave of relief, I acknowledged Him as my lifelong intercessor. I will never forget how that bleak morning became gold-tinged with hope. Since then, I have drawn courage and strength countless times from my faithful High Priest. If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference. He is praying for me!"

There are tears of joy flowing from my eyes even now as I recall the many times in 2004 that our then 13 year-old son, Jason, and I sang along with the album, Hiding Place, by Selah as we were driving in the car. The playlist includes the wonderful songs: You Raise Me Up, I Bless Your Name, There is Power in the Blood, You Are My Hiding Place, Through It All, By and By (We’ll Understand It Better), and the song I featured here, Before the Throne of God Above. The tears remind me what a joy it is to know that I know that I know that I am, right now, under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Nothing I do will make Him love me more, and nothing I do will make Him love me less. Because I have placed my trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, I am redeemed by His precious blood, I am a greatly blessed, highly favored, and deeply loved child of God. As He is, so am I in this world (I John 4:17). The threat of failure, judgment, and condemnation has been removed (Romans 8:1). Knowing that God’s love for me and approval of me will never be determined by my performance is the most encouraging promise to which I cling. The tears of joy now falling from the eyes of my heart, come from the assurance and joy of our salvation, that God could not love us more, and He could not love us less than He does right now—interceding for us Before the Throne of God Above.

Previous word studies from Romans Chapter Eight…

Romans 8:1-3

Romans 8:10-11

Romans 8:14-15

Romans 8:24-25


12 word studies from Ephesians Chapter One…

Weekly LinkUps…


42 comments:

  1. Beth, I have always been in awe of the fact that Jesus intercedes for us before the Father, and have often been comforted by the fact that when I have no words...the Holy Spirit prays effectively. Your words study of the Greek meaning of the words that make up INTERCESSION has given me a whole new level of understanding. Thank you can never adequately express my gratitude for your in depth studies.....they are always excellent...but this one surpasses them all for me. Truly grateful Beth. <3

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    1. Mary, I so appreciate you taking time to stop by and share such sweet encouragement...you are a blessing to me and so many others, may God richly bless you, indeed ❤️

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  2. Wonderful post, Beth. I am so grateful our Lord lives to make intercession for us. When words fail, when strength wanes, He is ever interceding. Such comfort. Blessings!

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    1. Joanne, thank you so much! I so agree with you...great comfort...many blessings to you ❤️

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  3. How cool! Thanx for visiting Christ in Me. Your words in the section, "There are Tears of Joy..." sound mighty familiar! I'd say God bless you, but I know he already does!

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    1. Thank you, Judy. I loved your post about the robe of righteousness we wear all because of the finished work of Christ on the Cross...truly the work of "Christ in Me"...thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Fascinating! I love hearing what the Greek actually mean. It is so encouraging to think of the Spirit and Jesus constantly interceding for me. I especially like the notes of Pastor Walvoord. I'll be back to read more of your posts.

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    1. Constance, I love digging a little deeper for these word studies...it does help our understanding to see the many facets of meaning and commentary...thank you for leaving such encouraging comments. Many blessings to you!

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  5. I often skip to Romans 8:28 because I love it and it's deeply rooted in my testimony, BUT I love reading what comes just before that. Good stuff and I'm glad I linked up next to you at Soli Deo Gloria. :)

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    1. Kristin, thank you so much for your affirmation! I, too, love Romans 8:28...I'm working on that post right now...as He intercedes for us...many blessings to you ❤️

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    2. And thanks for linking up at #ThreeWordWednesday. It's always good to see you there too!

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    3. Thank you, Kristin, it's such a blessing to get to know so many sweet sisters in Christ through linking up at great sites like #ThreeWordWednesday ❤️

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  6. Love this reminder that Jesus is praying for us. So comforting and encouraging to know how much he loves each of us.

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    1. Thank you, Kathryn, I so agree with you...He comforts us with His Truth so that we can comfort others...many blessings to you ❤️

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  7. I love this Beth. I praise God that he is interceding for us. The Spirit calls out what we cannot speak on our own. Cheering you from the #RaRalinkup on Purposeful Faith. Keep deep diving us in the Word of God!

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    1. Kelly, thank you so-o-o-o much for your constant and consistent encouragement and affirmations to all your Cheerleaders 4 Christ--we are blessed to have you as our leader...many blessings to you!

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  8. Beth - Sometimes it takes a few repetitions before I see a pattern... I am taken at how the Holy Spirit intercedes, pleading with depth and passion and urgency - It brings to mind how very blessed we are - our God pursues us. Pursues! We live in endless, bottomless, eternal, infinite arms of love and righteousness. I love this post! I'm your next door neighbor at Unite.

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    1. Janet, I'm so glad you stopped by to leave such an encouraging comment...I came over to your blog and left a comment also...love your open, honest, transparent writing, especially the metaphors! Many blessings to you!

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  9. Good stuff! I am always so grateful when reminded that I don't have to be perfect, not even my prayers have to be perfect, because Jesus has got us covered. Love it.

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    1. Carol, thank you so much for your kind comments...I so agree with you! Many blessings to you ❤️

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  10. Your posts are like being in Bible College! xo

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    1. Thank you sweet friend! It is such a joy to dive deep into God's word...such endless treasures pointing us always to our Savior and Lord Christ Jesus. Many blessings to you ❤️

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  11. I read the first half of this and had to stop, and pray the Lord would speak to me using your words, and then start all over. The part that catches me most was that for the Holy Spirit to intercede for us is to "ask for something with urgency and intensity."
    Does that make one feel humbled? Wow. It certainly does me. Not only will He go to the throne to ask for something on my behalf, but with urgency and intensity. I think we all know I've never been nor will ever be worthy of such intercession--but He just loves me this much.
    Thank you for your encouragement today.
    Blessings,

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    1. Thank you for stopping by Deborah...I so agree with you...what a blessing it is to know and believe that Jesus took all our sins, past, present, and future on Himself on that cruel cross, He exchanged our sin and unworthiness for His Robe of Righteousness...Many blessings to you ❤️

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  12. Thanks for leading me in a little devotional time this morning, Beth ...

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    1. Thank you so much, Linda! You are such a sweet encourager to me and so many others...many blessings to you ❤️

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  13. Hello Beth, thanks for this beautiful reminder. The Holy Spirit is our intercessor.
    I enjoy your study devotional. May God continue to fill you with wisdom.
    Thank you dear Beth.
    God Bless

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    1. Ifeoma, I so appreciate you kind words! I enjoy your insights and great writing also...many blessings to you ❤️

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  14. Oh yes... "Before the throne of God above, I have a strong and perfect Plea; A great high priest whose name is Love, Who ever lives and pleads for me." Love that hymn! So thankful that Jesus is ever praying for me! Great post!

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    1. Karrilee, I so agree with you about the words of that hymn...truly anointed gospel words...so clear...so comforting...many blessings to you ❤️

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  15. Selah is one of my favorite singing groups. I am also reminded of the phrase. "When you don't know what to say, just say Jesus. There is power in the name, the name of Jesus." I hope you have a wonderful day!

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    1. I so agree with you! When I first heard the song, Just Say Jesus, I felt like it was the cry of my heart so many times during the day and night...many blessings to you. ❤️

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Denise...many blessings to you ❤️

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  17. I appreciate how you lead others to study His Word in depth and awe of the amazing power it brings into our lives. The fact that Christ intercedes for us has always been humbling. That He loves us and passionately fights for us is amazing to me. I enjoy listening to Selah's music as well.
    Blessings!
    Dawn

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    1. Dawn, I so agree with you...it is humbling and amazing...the deep, deep love of our Heavenly Father, all because of Jesus, and His finished work on the cross for us...Selah's music takes us straight to the Throne of Grace every time! Many blessings to you :)

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  18. Drawn to the bold expression of faith through art. Exquisite composition and color.

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    1. Lisa, thanks for stopping by...I, too, am greatly inspired by art and music...many blessings to you ❤️

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  19. I love Selah! My daughter is named Selah as well. Not after them, but their name helped me hear that word as a name :-) Visiting from #GiveMeGrace!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

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    1. Thank you, Lori...that is a beautiful name...many blessings to you!

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  20. Super post! Thanks for linking at Women With Intention Wednesdays!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Jenny...many blessings to you ❤️

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