Read Romans 8:22-27
Do you recall the famous Ronco commercials? Did you ever find yourself wishing you had a Mr. Microphone, the Pocket Fisherman, the Dial-O-Matic Food Slicer, or the Smokeless Ashtray? Ron Popeil the inventor revolutionized the ad industry with his sales pitch: It cuts, it slices, it dices—but wait! There’s more!
In the book of Romans, the apostle Paul is not selling gadgets, but as he teaches young Christians how to respond to the ups and downs of this life, he holds them spellbound: Jesus forgives, He transforms, He guides—but wait! There’s more!
On Pentecost Sunday we remember how Jesus returns to dwell among His people in the Person of His Spirit. In this passage, Paul unveils three ways the Holy Spirit impacts our hearts after He comes to live inside us. His Presence causes me to:
Long for the unimaginable. (vs. 22-23)
In the West, we spend enormous amounts of time and money on our health. We go to great lengths to extend the length and quality of our lives. In the United States, we have succeeded in raising our life expectancy a full ten years ahead of the world average (Source: EarthTrends http://www.earthtrends.wri.org/).
Nevertheless, despite our best efforts to combat our mortality, Paul says all creation “groans” under the weight of sin’s damaging effects (vs. 22). Everything and everyone is vulnerable to illness, disease, injury and death.
Can you imagine life in a body free of frailty, weakness, imperfection, or aging processes? Paul can! He explains that when the Holy Spirit takes up residence inside your body, He births in you a desire for God to hurry up and finish the process of adoption: setting you completely free from everything that interferes or impedes your relationship to God as His child.
Throughout your lifetime, God wants to free you from the guilt and dominance of sin—but wait! There’s more! He also wants to free you from the destructive effects of sin on your physical body (vs. 23). This is the unimaginable final act of redemption that occurs after this life: when God provides every believer with a new body unstained and free from the presence of sin.
Hope for the unseen. (vs. 24-25)
An ad for a small business consultant reads: You work long hours, have no time to relax, no time for your family, you’re often stressed and disillusioned that your dream has turned into a nightmare, and you feel more like a prisoner than a king!
Unfortunately, that describes what often happens when we pursue earthly dreams—they rarely deliver what we expected. It is normal to dream of a place or situation or relationship that could fulfill the deepest longings. We need dreams. They keep us going and they give us a reason to live.
Paul uses a different word to describe our dreams: hope.
The Holy Spirit forms in us a desire to be free from sin’s awful effects in this life. But wait! There’s more! When we were saved, Paul says we were infused with a new hope for ultimate fulfillment (vs. 24)—not here—but there with Jesus in an unseen place and time (vs. 25).
Peter agrees with Paul, explaining that God creates a “living hope” inside every Christian when they are born again. It is a hope for “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled”—it will not be a disappointment. It is a hope that is “reserved in heaven”—it cannot be found in earthly, ambitious, life-consuming pursuits (1 Peter 1:3-4).
Pray for the unknown. (vs. 26-27)
The Holy Spirit fashions in me an unimaginable longing for a new life free from sin and an expectation that one day my deepest desires will be fulfilled. But wait! There’s more! He also helps me pray effectively.
Why is that significant? If prayer is asking and expecting God to do what He wants to do (1 John 5:14-15), how can I pray when I do not know what God wants to do? I need help!
Have you ever had your hands in the sink when the phone rings? Or perhaps you were working in the garage and your hands were too dirty to hold the phone? Did someone hold the phone up to your ear so you could talk?
When you pray with the purpose of asking God to do His will, Paul explains that it is like “holding up the phone” so that the Holy Spirit and God the Father can talk. The Spirit literally joins in to help you pray (vs. 26), but His mysterious, non-verbal intercession is “according to the will of God” (vs. 27).
At the end of a movie I saw not long ago, most of the theater-goers got up to leave as the credits began to roll—but the film was not over! There were several minutes more of humorous outtakes to enjoy!
We may be forgiven, saved, and born again. But wait! The Father is not finished with us. There’s more!