Romans 8:27
And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
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(27) God recognises the voice of His own Spirit, because the prayers that the Spirit prompts are in strict accordance with His will.

What is the mind of the Spirit.—What are the thoughts of the Spirit, and therefore what is the echo of those thoughts in the prayers that are offered to Him.

8:26,27 Though the infirmities of Christians are many and great, so that they would be overpowered if left to themselves, yet the Holy Spirit supports them. The Spirit, as an enlightening Spirit, teaches us what to pray for; as a sanctifying Spirit, works and stirs up praying graces; as a comforting Spirit, silences our fears, and helps us over all discouragements. The Holy Spirit is the spring of all desires toward God, which are often more than words can utter. The Spirit who searches the hearts, can perceive the mind and will of the spirit, the renewed mind, and advocates his cause. The Spirit makes intercession to God, and the enemy prevails not.And he that searcheth the hearts - God. To search the heart is one of his attributes which cannot be communicated to a creature; Jeremiah 17:10.

Knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit - Knows the desires which the Holy Spirit excites and produces in the heart. He does not need that those deep emotions should be expressed in words; he does not need the eloquence of language to induce him to hear; but he sees the anxious feelings of the soul, and is ready to aid and to bless.

Maketh intercession for the saints - Aids and directs Christians.

According to the will of God - Greek, "According to God." It is according to his will in the following respects:

(1) The Spirit is given according to his will. It is his gracious purpose to grant his aid to all who truly love him.

(2) the desires which he excites in the heart of the Christian are those which are according to his will; they are such as God wishes to exist; the contrite, humble, and penitent pleading of sinners for mercy.

(3) he superintends and guards Christians in their prayers.

It is not meant that they are infallible, or that they never make an improper petition, or have an improper desire; but that he has a general superintendence over their minds, and that so far as they will yield themselves to his direction, they shall not be led into error That man is most safe who yields himself most entirely to the influence of the Holy Spirit. And the doctrine here stated is one that is full of consolation to the Christian. We are poor, and needy, and ignorant, and blind; we are the creatures of a day, and are crushed before the moth. But in the midst of our feebleness we may look to God for the aid of his Spirit, and rejoice in his presence, and in his power to sustain us in our sighings, and to guide us in our wanderings.

27. And—rather, "But," inarticulate though these groanings be.

he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he—the Spirit

maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God—As the Searcher of hearts, He watches the surging emotions of them in prayer, and knows perfectly what the Spirit means by the groanings which He draws forth within us, because that blessed Intercessor pleads by them only for what God Himself designs to bestow.

Note, (1) Are believers "led by the Spirit of God" (Ro 8:14)? How careful then should they be not to "grieve the Holy Spirit of God" (Eph 4:30)! Compare Ps 32:8, 9: "I will … guide thee with Mine eye. Be not (then) as the horse, or as the mule," &c. (2) "The spirit of bondage," to which many Protestants are "all their lifetime subject," and the "doubtsome faith" which the Popish Church systematically inculcates, are both rebuked here, being in direct and painful contrast to that "spirit of adoption," and that witness of the Spirit, along with our own spirit, to the fact of our sonship, which it is here said the children of God, as such, enjoy (Ro 8:15, 16). (3) As suffering with Christ is the ordained preparation for participating in this glory, so the insignificance of the one as compared with the other cannot fail to lighten the sense of it, however bitter and protracted (Ro 8:17, 18). (4) It cannot but swell the heart of every intelligent Christian to think that if external nature has been mysteriously affected for evil by the fall of man, it only awaits his completed recovery, at the resurrection, to experience a corresponding emancipation from its blighted condition into undecaying life and unfading beauty (Ro 8:19-23). (5) It is not when believers, through sinful "quenching of the Spirit," have the fewest and faintest glimpses of heaven, that they sigh most fervently to be there; but, on the contrary, when through the unobstructed working of the Spirit in their hearts, "the first-fruits" of the glory to be revealed are most largely and frequently tasted, then, and just for that reason, is it that they "groan within themselves" for full redemption (Ro 8:23). For thus they reason: If such be the drops, what will the ocean be? If thus "to see through a glass darkly" be so very sweet, what will it be to "see face to face?" If when "my Beloved stands behind our wall, looking forth at the windows, showing Himself through the lattice" (So 2:9)—that thin veil which parts the seen from the unseen—if He is even thus to me "Fairer than the children of men," what shall He be when He stands confessed before my undazzled vision, the Only-begotten of the Father in my own nature, and I shall be like Him, for I shall see Him as He is? (6) "The patience of hope" (1Th 1:3) is the fitting attitude for those who with the joyful consciousness that they are already "saved" (2Ti 1:9; Tit 3:5), have yet the painful consciousness that they are saved but in part: or, "that being justified by His grace, they are made (in the present state) heirs according to the hope (only) of eternal life," Tit 3:7 (Ro 8:24, 25). (7) As prayer is the breath of the spiritual life, and the believer's only effectual relief under the "infirmity" which attaches to his whole condition here below, how cheering is it to be assured that the blessed Spirit, cognizant of it all, comes in aid of it all; and in particular, that when believers, unable to articulate their case before God, can at times do nothing but lie "groaning" before the Lord, these inarticulate groanings are the Spirit's own vehicle for conveying into "the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth" their whole case; and come up before the Hearer of prayer as the Spirit's own intercession in their behalf, and that they are recognized by Him that sitteth on the Throne, as embodying only what His own "will" determined before to bestow upon them (Ro 8:26, 27)! (8) What a view do these two verses (Ro 8:26, 27) give of the relations subsisting between the Divine Persons in the economy of redemption, and the harmony of their respective operations in the case of each of the redeemed!

Third: Triumphant Summary of the Whole Argument (Ro 8:28-39).

He that searcheth the hearts; this phrase is a periphrasis of God, and is spoken of him after the manner of men. God doth not properly search or inquire into any thing; but because amongst men knowledge comes by searching, therefore, by way of resemblance, this is attributed to God, though that which is intended by it is only this, that God knoweth the heart, Jeremiah 17:10 Acts 1:24.

Knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, both with the knowledge of apprehension and approbation.

Maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God: our prayers shall be sure to speed, if they are of this sort, 1Jo 5:14,15. Praying according to the will of God, respects;

1. The matter of our prayers.

2. The manner of our praying.

3. The end thereof, Jam 4:3. And he that searcheth the hearts,.... This is peculiar to God, and a "periphrasis" of him; angels, neither good nor bad, can search into the hearts of men; one man cannot know the heart of another, nor any man fully know his own; this is the prerogative of God: and

he knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit; not the spirit of men, but of God: that affectionate desire and meaning of the Spirit of God, in the unalterable groans of the saints; he knows the wise meaning there is in them, for so may signify, and is opposed to the carnal mind, or wisdom of the flesh, which desires foolish things. The searcher of hearts knows this, not barely by his omniscience, but he regards it, approves of it, attends, and gives an answer to it; which is no small encouragement to pray, though it be but with sighs and groans unutterable; since the omniscient God understands, and respects such kind of prayer: and the reason is,

because he, the Spirit of God,

maketh intercession for the saints, according to the will of God; the persons for whom he intercedes are saints: to whom Christ is made sanctification; who are called to be saints; are sanctified by the Spirit of God, and walk after him: now such are the objects of God's delight, they are chosen by him, preserved in Christ, and have his righteousness imputed to them; to these he has made known his Gospel, has given his grace, and will at last the inheritance; so that intercession made for such will certainly be regarded: it may be rendered, "he maketh intercession for holy things according to God"; for spiritual blessings, divine favours, things that belong to God; or divine things, which are agreeably to his nature and will: and since it is the Holy Spirit that makes intercession, and the persons are holy for whom he makes it, and this is made for holy things, and all according to the will of God, which the Spirit of God must fully know, saints may be confident of the prevalence and success of such intercession.

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the {i} mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints {k} according to the will of God.

(i) What sighs and sobs proceed from the impulse of his Spirit.

(k) Because he teaches the godly to pray according to God's will.

Romans 8:27. ʼΟ ἐρευν. τὰς καρδ.] Traditionally hallowed (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Kings 8:39; Psalm 7:10; Proverbs 15:11; Jeremiah 17:9 f.), description of God, bearing on the subject in hand; for it is in the heart, as in the central laboratory of the personal self-conscious life (comp. Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 254), that the praying Spirit sighs, Galatians 4:6.

ὅτι] Not for, as many think, including Tholuck, Rückert, de Wette, Philippi, Ewald, and Umbreit. What follows in fact conveys no real ground, since God would in every case know the purpose of the Spirit, and to take οἶδε in the pregnant sense: understands and hears (so Rückert, following Calvin), is utterly unjustifiable, especially after ὁ ἐρευν. κ.τ.λ. The ὅτι is rather that, annexed by way of explanation: that He, namely. Comp. Grotius, Estius, Benecke, Reiche, Fritzsche, Maier, Krehl, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bisping, Reithmayr, van Hengel, and Hofmann. See on Php 1:27; Php 2:22, al.

κατὰ Θεόν] This, explained by Origen “secundum divinitatem,” does not mean: on the instigation of God (Tholuck, appealing improperly to 1 Corinthians 12:8), but: in accordance with God, i.e. so as God desires it, κατὰ γνώμην αὐτοῦ, Theodore of Mopsuestia. Comp. 2 Corinthians 7:9-10; 4Ma 15:2; Plat. Apol. pp. 22 A, 23 B. The sense: in pursuance of the divine disposal, more common in classic usage (see Wetstein on the passage, and Valcken. ad Herod. iii. 153), is here foreign. Böhme, Reiche, and Fritzsche render it before God, with God (“in Deum quasi converses”). This is indeed justifiable from a linguistic point of view (Bernhardy, p. 240), comp. Wis 5:1, Sir 34:6; but how superfluous and unsuited to the emphasis of the prominent position assigned to it! With the emphasis on κατὰ Θεόν it cannot appear strange that Paul has not written κατʼ αὐτόν, but has rather named the subject. Comp. Xen. Mem. i. 3. 2 : εὔχετο δέ πρὸς τοὺς θεοὺς, … ὡς τοὺς θεοὺς κὰλλιστα εἰδότας κ.τ.λ. The omission of the article, which does not render the expression adverbial (against Hofmann), establishes in the case of Θεός no difference of sense (Winer, p. 115 f. [E. T. 151]).

ὑπὲρ ἁγίων] for saints, without the article because qualitative;sancti sunt et Deo propinqui et auxilio digni, pro quibus intercedit,” Bengel. On ἐντυγχ. ὑπέρ τινος, to pray for any one, see Bähr on Plut. Flamin. p. 83.Romans 8:27. This intercession, with which our heart goes, though it is deeper than words, the Heart Searcher understands. τί τὸ φρόν. τοῦ πνεύματος: what the Spirit is set upon, the whole object of its thought and endeavour. ὅτι, viz., that He intercedes κατὰ θεόν in agreement with God’s will, see 2 Corinthians 7:9-11. ὑπὲρ ἁγίων on behalf of those who are God’s. Both the intercession of Christ and the intercession of the Spirit are represented in the N.T. as made on behalf of those who are in Christ—saints, the Church, not mankind in general.27. He that searcheth the hearts] Certainly here, the Father. But it is the more noteworthy that the same words are used of the Son, Revelation 2:23.—“The hearts” here are human hearts. In them the Father sees, below the surface of “ignorance what to pray for as they ought,” the sacred longings which are the expression of the Spirit’s influence.

knoweth] And meeteth with a corresponding answer; crossing perhaps the saint’s explicit prayer, but granting the implicit.

the mind] The whole Aim and Choice of the great Intercessor.

because] If this rendering is kept, the connexion is; “The Father knows (and welcomes) the ‘mind of the Spirit,’ because in its requests it is in Divine harmony with His own.”—But it is better to render that. “The Father knows the mind of the Spirit; He knows that He intercedes in harmony with His Own will and purpose, and for His Own children.”

the saints] Lit. saints (without article). Such is the character of those for whom He pleads.

according to the will of God] Lit. according to God; in unerring coincidence with the Father’s will. The words are used in emphatic contrast to the possible errors in detail of the saint’s unaided desires and prayers.Romans 8:27. Δὲ) [Not and, as Engl. Vers., but] refers to a privative in ἀλαλήτοις [Though they can not be uttered, yet, etc.]—τὰς καρδίας, the hearts) The Spirit dwells in the hearts [of believers], and makes intercession. Christ is in heaven. He who searches the hearts is the Father, to whom especially that act is attributed in Scripture.—τὸ φρόνημα τοῦ πνεύματος, the mind of the Spirit).—Comp. φρόνημα, Romans 8:6, Sensum,[97] the nominative: from the plural sensa, sensorum.—τοῦ πνεύματος, of the Spirit) the Holy Spirit, as in the preceding verse.—κατὰ) according to [ad], κατὰ Θεὸν, according to God, not κατὰ ἄνθρωπον, according to man (comp. 1 John 3:20) [after the manner of God, not man], as is worthy of God, and in a manner acceptable and manifest to Him. The Holy Spirit understands the style of the court of heaven, which is acceptable to the Father. Κατὰ is the emphatic word of the sentence, inasmuch as it is placed at the beginning of the clause.—ὑπὲρ ἁγίων, for saints) The article is not added; they are saints, who are both near to God, and are deemed worthy of assistance, being those for whom [the Spirit] makes intercession.

[97] Beng. uses sensum here to express φρόνημα, not the accus. of sensus, but an old disused nominative singular, the plural of which is often found sensa sensorum.—ED.
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