VERSE 26:  “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth with our infirmities:  for if we know not what we should pray for as we ought:  but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

“Likewise the Spirit …helpeth with our infirmities”
 Literally:  “And likewise the Spirit also joins in to help our weaknesses.”–This introduces a new source of consolation and support, that which is derived from the Spirit. The “Spirit” here undoubtedly refers to the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us, and who strengthens us.

Not only the universe, not only the children of God, but also the Spirit of God Himself, as it were, “groans,” while He helps our infirmities, or weaknesses.  Our understandings are weak, particularly in the things of God our desires are weak; prayers are weak.  The same Spirit; mentioned before as bearing witness with ours that we are the children of God; and consequently it is not a disposition or frame of mind, for the disposition of our mind surely cannot help the infirmities of our mind.

              HELPS:  (Grk.–sunantilambaneô)–This is another compounded Greek word using the       Greek words sun—meaning “together, along with” and anti—meaning, against” and lambanomai, which means, “to support or help.” By putting these together we have a word   that signifies such assistance as is afforded by any two persons to each other, who mutually bear the same load or carry it between them.  

This is the same word used in Matt. 8:17—“…Himself took our infirmities.”  This word properly means, “to sustain with us; to aid us in supporting.” It is applied usually to those who unite in supporting or carrying a burden. The meaning may be thus expressed: “He greatly assists or aids us.”

“for if we know not what we should pray for as we ought”
Literally:  “For we do not know what we should pray as we ought.”–And should therefore be liable to endless mistakes in our prayers, if suitable desires were not excited by the Holy Spirit and power received to bring these desires, by prayer, before the Throne of Grace.

This is not referring to the form of our prayer, but to its circumstances.  He who prays, receives help from the Spirit of God; but he who prays not receives no such help.  Whatever our strength may be, we must put it forth, even while most implicitly depending on the strength of God Himself.

           INFIRMATIVES:  (Grk.–astheneias)–Literally: “want of strength; weakness.”This refers to the weaknesses to which we are subject, and to our various trials in this life.  The infirmatives here are not physical, but instead are spiritual.  

While we are waiting in hope, but suffering, the Spirit is a Helper of our weakness.  Not only does He strengthen us, but He also helps us in our praying.  In our ignorance we often do not know what is best for us. This is especially true in the times of our  greatest trial.  It was even an experience of our Lord in extremity (John 12:27-28) and of Paul (Phil. 1:22-23). As a result:
1.:     Our understandings are weak, particularly in the things of God;
2.      Our desires are weak;
3.      Our prayers are weak. Why Christians may not know what to pray for may be:
         a.         We do not know what would be really best for them.
         b.         We do not know what God might be willing to grant them.
         c..        We are to a great extent ignorant:
                     (1)        The
Character of God,

                     (2)         The reason for His dealings,
                     (3)        The principles of His government, and their own real wants.
          d.        We are often in real, deep perplexity or grief.

In their circumstances, if left alone, they would neither be able to bear their trials, nor know what to ask for at the hand of God.               

“but the Spirit itself (Himself) maketh intercession”
Literally:  “But the Spirit Himself intercedes on behalf of us.”–Again, be it known that the    masculine pronoun “Himself” should have been used instead of the neuter pronoun “itself.” All three Persons of the Godhead are to be referred to in the masculine gender.

By teaching us how to pray and what to pray for, and awakening in us those intense desires and fervent longings for spiritual blessings for ourselves and others, which cannot in any human language be fully uttered.  All right and acceptable prayer is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, operating on the hearts of men, awakening holy emotions, and leading them to exercise such desires as are agreeable to the will of God. Though their feelings may not be uttered in words, He understands them, and glorifies Himself in doing exceeding abundantly for all who pray in the Spirit, and watch there unto with all perseverance.

“Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit and watching thereunto   with     all perseverance and supplication for all saints” (Eph. 6:18).

“with groanings that cannot be uttered”
Literally: “With groanings unutterable.”–The
creation groans; we ourselves groan; the Spirit Himself groans. The Spirit within us intercedes by groaning which are His, in that they are prompted by the Spirit.

“And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according the will of God.”

“And He that searcheth the heart"
Literally: “But the {One} searching the hearts.”–Meaning God–“I the LORD search the heart, {I}} try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, {and} according the fruit of His doings”  (see Jer. 17:10).

Understand that in the Plan of Salvation that God the Father is the Source,  Christ is the Channel, and the Holy Spirit is the Agent Who brings it about. Wherein the Spirit dwells and intercedes. God understands our needs because He searches the hearts.  That is His exclusive prerogative.

“knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit”
Literally: “Knows what is the mind of the Spirit.”  Knows the desires which the Holy Spirit excites and produces in the heart.

God does not need that those deep emotions should be expressed in words; nor 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.  He understands the feelings and desires caused by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of men, whether uttered in words or not; they are in accordance with His will, and He de-lights to answer them (I John 5:14). This is an unspeakable consolation and encouragement to the friends of God. 

“because  He maketh intercession for the saints
Literally: “Because He petitions on behalf of saints.”–That is, aids and directs Christians;  meaning those who are near to God.   The lack of the definite article “the” here really keeps us from thinking of these “saints” (Grk.–hagiôn) as if they constitute a special group of God’s people. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for all believers.

         MAKETH INTERCESSION:  (Grk.–entugchanô)The Greek word here rendered as “maketh intercession” literally means “to apply one's self to a person in behalf of another; to intercede or negotiate for another.” 

The Holy Spirit makes intercession for us by negotiating and managing, as our Friend and Agent, all the affairs pertaining to our salvation.  And the Spirit of God makes intercession for the saints, not by supplication to God on their behalf, but by directing and qualifying their supplications in a proper manner, by His agency and influence upon their hearts; which, according to the Gospel scheme, is the peculiar work and office of the Holy Spirit.     

“according to the will of God”
Literally: “According to God.”–According to the mind, intention, or design of God. The KJV translators insertion of the phrase, “the will of” really obscures the meaning. 

The phrase, “according to God” is truly an all-inclusive expression that wraps us in our salvation and blessing; that is, wholly in the love and power of God Almighty.  Therefore, the prayers which we offer up, and the desires which subsist in the unutterable groanings, are all such as are pleasing in the sight of God. So that God, whose is the Spirit, and who is acquainted with the mind of the Spirit, knows what he means when he leads the saints to express themselves in words, desires, groans, sighs, or tears: in each God reads the language of the Holy Spirit, and prepares the answer according to the request. It is according to God.
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.

        This does not mean that Christians are infallible, neither that they never make an improper petition, nor that they never have an improper desire; but that the Spirit 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.
          The doctrine stated here is one that is full of consolation to the Christian. We are poor, needy, 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. 

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”
This verse introduces another source of consolation and support, drawn from the fact that all things are under the direction or an infinitely wise Being, Who has purposed the salvation of the Christian, and who has so appointed all things that they shall contribute to it.

A translation of this verse into our vernacular of might read:  “And we know with an absolute knowledge that all things are constantly working together, resulting in good for those who are loving God, for those who are called ones according to His purpose(Wuest Word Studies in the N.T; vol. 1).

To understand this verse observe:
1.      That the persons in whose behalf all things work for good are they who love God, and, consequently, who live in the spirit of obedience.
2.       It is not said that all things shall work for good, but that (Grk.–sunergei), they work now in the behalf of him who loves now, (Grk.–agapôsi); for both verbs are in the present tense.

3.       All these things work together; while they are working, God's providence is working, his Spirit is working, and they are working together with Him–(Adam Clarke’s commentary)

And we know”– This is a general thought; though we do not always know particularly what will be the outcome of our trials or prayers.

                        AND:   (Grk.–de)–Literally:  “but” or “moreover," or "now"; denoting a transition to a new theme..

           WE KNOW:  (Grk.– oidamen)– This is referring to “Christian knowledge;” to that which is the common knowledge of Christians; what the Holy Spirit makes real. 

This is an often used phrase of Paul’s, and is used some 30 times in the Pauline epistles–He uses it 5 times in Romans and he uses “know” 13 times.; and the phrase is used by Paul in I Cor. 8:4; and by John (I John 5:19).  It refers

“that all things”All our afflictions and trials; all the persecutions and calamities to which we are exposed; all the good and bad;
1.      The bright and dark; the sweet and bitter; the easy, and

2.      The difficult; the happy and the sadness; the prosperity and the poverty;
3.      The health and the sickness; the calm and the storm; the comfort and suffering;
4.      The life and the death—of all things.
         Though they are numerous and long-continued, yet they are among the means that they are appointed for our betterment.

“work together for good”–To them, under God's providence, all things, even their sorrows, trials and persecutions, work together for blessing. This precious assurance is not to all mankind, saint and sinner, but is limited to a class.–the Christian.

  1. They shall co-operate;
  2. They shall mutually contribute to our good.
  3. They take off our affections from this world;
  4. They teach us the truth about our frail, transitory, and dying condition;
  5. They lead us to look to God for support, and to heaven for a final home; and
  6. They produce a subdued spirit, a humble temper, a patient, tender, and kind disposition.

This has been the experience of all saints; and at the end of life they have been able to say it was good for them to be afflicted (Psa. 119:67, 71; Jer. 31:18-19; Heb. 12:11). It is God who makes “all things working together” in our lives “for good.”  For our real welfare; for the promotion of true piety, peace, and happiness in our hearts.

“to them that love God”
Literally:  {To} the {ones} loving God.”–This is a characteristic of true godliness.  Love to God distinguishes true Christians from all other men. He that loves God is born of Him, and all things shall work together for his good.

To such, afflictions are a blessing; to others, they often prove otherwise. On others they are sent as chastisements; and they produce murmuring instead of peace; rebellion instead of submission; and anger, impatience, and hatred, instead of calmness, patience, and love. The Christian is made a better man by receiving afflictions as they should be received, and by desiring that they should accomplish the purpose for which they are sent. while the sinner is made more hardened by resisting them, and refusing to submit to their obvious intention and design.

            “to them who are the called according to His purpose”
            Literally: “To those being called according to purpose.”–Christians are often represented as called of

          CALLED:  (Grk.–klêtois)–This word is sometimes used to denote an external invitation, offer, or calling (Matt. 20:16; 22:14). But excepting in these places, it is used in the   N.T. to denote those who had accepted the call, and were true Christians (1:6-7; I Cor.1:2,24;     Rev. 17:14).

The word is evidently used in this sense here–that is, to denote those who were true Christians.  The Greek word translated for church is ekklêsia which means, a “called out assembly.”  All believers have been called of God.  The called are those who have been called by His grace out of the darkness and bondage of sin into the light and liberty of the children of God. As all things work together for good to those who love God, they are especially bound, in whatsoever state they are, therewith to be content; knowing that their trials, however great, will conspire to work out for them an exceeding and eternal weight of glory (II Cor. 4:17).\

“according to {His} purpose”
Literally: According to purpose.”– It implies that God  had a plan, or purpose, or intention, in regard to all who became Christians. They are not saved by chance or haphazard happening.

God does not convert men without a purpose; and His designs are not new, but are eternal. What He does, He always meant to do. What it is right for Him to do, it was right always to intend to do. Therefore, what God always meant to do, is His purpose or plan. That He has such a purpose, in regard to the God of His people, is often affirmed (9:11; Eph. 1:11; 3:11; II Tim 1:9; Jer. 31:3). This call was purposed from the time that God promised a Deliverer of the fallen race (Gen. 3:15).

             PURPOSE: (Grk.–prothesin)–Literally meaning “a proposition, or a laying down anything in view of others.” This word was generally applied to the bread that was laid on the Table of Shewbread  (Matt. 12:4; Mark 2:26; Luke 6:4).  When applied to the mind, it means, “a plan or purpose of mind.”

“For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn amongst many brethren.”

“For whom He did foreknow”\
Literally: “Because whom He foreknew.”–This fore-knowledge and choice is placed in eternity:  "According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in  love” (Eph. 1:4).

           FOREKNEW: (Grk.-proegnô)This Greek word has been the subject of almost     endless disputes in regard to its meaning in this place. This word is used 5 times in the N.T. (here and 11:2; Acts 26:5; I Peter 1:20; II Peter 3:17); and each time it means to  foreknow. 

         This word does not mean foreordain; instead it signifies prescience; not pre-selection or pre-election as our Calvinist (TULIP) brethren are so prone to make it say.  F.B. Meyer said, “It is God’s being aware in His plan, by means of which, before the subjects are destined by Him to salvation, He know whom He has to destine thereto.”  The literal meaning of the word cannot be a matter of dispute.  It simply denotes to know beforehand; to be previously acquainted with future events.
     While the word used here, therefore, does not of necessity mean to decree, yet its use does suppose that there was
a purpose or plan; and the phrase explains what Paul has just said, that it was according to the purpose of
God to conform the believer to Hi image.
      No other idea could be consistent with the proper meaning of the word, or be intelligible. It is clear, also, that it does not refer to external privileges, but to real conversion and piety: since that to which they were predestinated was not the external privilege of the gospel, but conformity to His Son, and salvation. See v. 30–Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called, them He also justified, them He also glorified.”  
     No passage could possibly teach in stronger language that it was God's purpose to save those who will be saved. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ unto Himself” (Eph. 1:5), “Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will” (Eph. 1:11), 

“to be conformed to the image of His Son”– To resemble His Son with an inner and essential conformity. We may learn here:
1.     That
God does not determine to save men, whatever their character may be. The decree is not to save them in their sins, or whether they be sinful or holy. But it has primary respect to their character. It is that they should be holy; and, as a consequence of this, that they should be saved.
2.     The only evidence which we can have that we are the subjects of His gracious purpose is, that we are in fact conformed to the Lord Jesus Christ. For this was the design of the decree. This is the only satisfactory proof of piety; and by this alone can we determine that we are interested in his gracious plan of saving men.

“that He might be the first-born of many brethren”
Literally: “For Him to be {the} First-born among many brothers.”  The first-born among   the Hebrews had many peculiar privileges.

The idea here is,
1.      That
Christ might be preeminent as the model and exemplar; that He might be clothed with peculiar honors, and be so regarded in His church; and yet,
2.      That He might still sustain a fraternal relation to them; that He might be one in the same great family of
God , where all are sons (comp. Heb. 2:12-14).
3.      That He be their Savior Prince, and, Leader and have many who, as His brethren, should be joint-heirs with Him to His kingdom of heavenly glory.

      Conformity in temper and conduct to the example of Christ, is the only sure evidence of being elected, and predestinated to eternal life. “The First-born,” the Son by nature; His “many brethren,” sons by adoption. That they were called. This passage does not affirm why, or how, or on what grounds God foreknew that some of the human family would be saved. It simply affirms the fact; and the mode in which those who will believe were designated must be determined from other sources.
        This passage simply teaches that
God knew them beforehand; that His eye was fixed on them; that He regarded them as to be conformed to His Son; and that, thus knowing them, He designated them to eternal life. (see John 3:16).