“For in this hope we were saved” – part 3

Paul defines “hope” in Romans 8 as waiting eagerly and patiently for our adoption as children of God and the redemption of our bodies, verses 23-25. One day, we’ll be free of this ridiculous, insane, frustrating world forever. And it was in this hope we were saved; it lifted us out of the empty, purposeless, fear-filled, death-ending life we were in, and into this new life God offered as his child. It was hope that did it too, because we had no proof at that point that this new life actually existed.

So where did this hope suddenly come from, and where does it come from every day, too? According to Paul, it’s the Spirit’s doing. “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children,” verse 16. This isn’t something we need to cook up for ourselves; the Spirit does it for us. It’s the Spirit who helps us realize who we are. It’s way beyond our ability to understand, so the Spirit “helps us in our weakness.” If we could grasp what it means to be a child of God, we’d surely have no trouble praying, but the Spirit has to help us with that, too (verse 26).

And what the Spirit prays on our behalf is beyond our capabilities too, because he “intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” When it comes to grasping the enormity of having God as our Father, we’re at a loss for words, but with the Spirit praying on our behalf and “testifying with our spirit,” verse 16, understanding comes, hope grows and an eagerness for “the glorious freedom of the children of God,” verse 21, fills our heads and hearts every day, enabling us to keep functioning as Christians in this horrible, futile world.

This is what we can look forward to the Spirit doing for us, then. This is why the Father and Christ gave us the Spirit in the first place, to “give life” to these mortal bodies of ours by helping us realize we are no longer governed by the fears and frustrations of this world, we’re “sons of God,” verse 14, who literally and truly “belong to Christ,” verse 9. And what worries can anyone have who belongs to Christ, Paul asks (verses 35-39)?

But that’s what adoption as God’s children means. It means we belong to him. And belonging to him means we have his Spirit living in us, living his thoughts in us, so that when God “searches our hearts” what he sees is the “mind of the Spirit” working his heart out in us, “interceding for the saints in accordance with God’s will,” verse 27.

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