by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 8 Paragraph # 4 Study # 3 January 29, 2008 Lincolnton, N.C.
27 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.
1901 ASV Translation:
27 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.
I. Those "Soundless Groanings".
A. Paul said in 8:26 that the Spirit "makes intercession with soundless groanings".
B. Now, with the comment that He that searches the hearts knows the mind of the Spirit He adds more fuel to the idea that the "intercession" is "soundless"...because it is unnecessary for one to "know the mind" unless that "mind" is not being expressed in words.
1. No matter how one looks at these comments, it is a mysterious thing for Paul to twice write of "making intercession" and to twice directly address the fact that this "intercession" is not vocal.
2. What is behind these claims? What is important about the "silence" of the intercession of the Spirit?
a. In our last set of notes, we posited the implication of the Father's unwillingness to long tolerate anything that causes the distress that "groaning" indicates. It is His commitment to bring "distressing" situations to a solution.
1) In the coming verse (8:28) there is strong assurance that He is, in fact, doing just that by "all things" that He allows to take place in His creation.
2) Because of these contextual implications, at least a part of the answer to the questions surrounding the intercession of the Spirit is to be found in the fact that the Father is of such a nature that He is committed to resolving stressful situations.
a) The main challenges to this "commitment" are two: the appearance of unworkable methods; and the appearance of failure by reason of delay.
i. The Cross was/is deemed "foolishness" by those who are bound up in their own ignorance and selfishness. This means that they "see" the "method" to be completely "unworkable".
ii. That it often appears that God's "solution" is "promised" but not "delivered" ("Where is the promise of His coming? -- 2 Peter 3:4) is a major stumbling block to those whose perspective is completely wrapped up in themselves and their own tiny slice of "time". It is true that the only individuals who "live to see" the activity of God in fulfillment are those who happen to live in that slice of time that includes the fulfillment, but that is not a "failure" of God. It is, rather, a failure of the blind who do not understand the unity of the human race (everyone in Adam and Adam in everyone) or the enduring existence of its individual parts (no one ceases to exist who has ever come to exist, physical death is no more than a "transition" into what is currently an unseen realm for the physically alive).
b) The main features of this "commitment" are the inalterablewisdom of an omniscient Creator Who knows how His creation functions and the inexorableprogress of the innumerableparticularmethodologies toward the final conclusion. Every accomplishment stands upon an uncounted number of earlier accomplishments, all of which have this same characteristic and none of which fail to yield their contribution to the whole.
b. However, the Father's character does not seem to be the issue in the question of the "silence". That He does not need "words" to move Him to action seems to be at least a part of the issue. But if not "words", what? This seems to be the point of "He that searcheth the hearts". Apparently it is "heart" things that makes the crucial difference. The Father needs no "words" to provide Him with motivation to act on the behalf of one whose "heart" is in harmony with His. But what if, in the "searching of the heart", He sees some seriously "out of kilter" values? It seems that this may be what is driving the "groaning" of the Spirit -- why would He "groan" if His host is in tune with the Father? But there is this also: the "groaning" may be because the heart is in tune, but the circumstances are not. In other words, consider Gethsemane. The heart of the Son was on target, but He did not deserve the sufferings involved in those circumstances. Surely there was "groaning" there that had nothing to do with any flaw in the "heart".
1) It is important to remember that the Holy Spirit is cast by this context as a "Helper". We are involved also. There is the fact: just because we do not know what to pray for "as we ought" does not, for a minute, mean that we are not "in there" yakking our heads off. Ignorance does not stop very many from expressing themselves. Thus, when the Father considers our input, He does so with a "search of the heart". And, when the Father considers the soundless groanings of the Spirit, He also does that with a "search of the heart". This is all very "anthropomorphic" (what need does the omniscient Father have of "searching" the heart?), but its point is one: we have a potent and hyper-qualified "Helper" in light of the critical nature of actions taken in a cause/effect universe.
2) "Groanings" can arise from two "problems": the "problem" of a "heart" that is off target; and the "problem" of "circumstances" that are "of Death". For a heart that is not off target, "circumstances" will be manipulated according to the omni-wisdom of God. For a heart that is off target, those circumstances may well be left alone in order for them to produce their "Death" impact so that those who "longed for them" in their hearts might learn by the bitter fruit to adjust their hearts.