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Monthly Archives: May 2021

A Hardened Heart

A Hardened Heart

In my last post, I started taking a little side trip to discuss mercy, from a biblical perspective. I explained that mercy is one of three foundations of God’s righteous law. The three are faith, judgment, and mercy.

Now we need to understand the important role that mercy should have in our lives.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you,

1 Peter 1:3-4

The mercy of God speaks of new birth and an inheritance. It’s the family blessing of God. As I said in my last post, mercy is the reward for being an obedient child of God.

In essence the walk of sonship is the walk of mercy. It’s a higher way of life than the faith-walk.

But, what we don’t get, is how it ties into the fact that God exists outside of time. That’s why His mercy looks random to us sometimes.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me faithful, appointing me to his service. Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief.

1 Timothy 1:12-13

This is Paul’s testimony of the work of Christ in his life. Paul received mercy, not based upon what he had done, but upon what God knew he would become in the future.

God knows who is going to respond to Him. So, He sometimes bases the blessings He gives on that foreknowledge. That’s why many seemingly sinful people receive protection, provision, and grace long before they bow their knee to Christ.

The Lord knew that you were going to choose Him. There are others, however, that He knows will never choose Christ, no matter the circumstances. Mercy is always based on obedience – past, present or future.

Now with an understanding of the mercy of God we can move forward with our study of Romans.

For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”

Romans 9:17

We need to understand this verse from the standpoint of God’s mercy. This verse doesn’t say, “I made you king…” It literally says, “I resurrected you…” God got what was on the inside of Pharaoh to come out. These things sometimes only come out in the heat of emotion.

If you read Exodus, chapters 7-9, you’ll see Moses going before Pharaoh again and again. Each time Pharaoh says he’ll let Israel go, but then he goes back on his word. He wants to negotiate, and look kingly, but his heart was actually against Moses and Israel.

Finally, God declared that He had spared Pharaoh to show His power. In that way, God’s mighty name would be proclaimed throughout the earth.

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

Romans 9:18

According to His will, God grants mercy to His obedient sons and daughters. Others, the Lord will make stubborn, because that’s what they want to happen.

God did not do something with Pharaoh against his will. Just the opposite – God strengthened Pharaoh’s resolve to do what was already in his heart.

God didn’t want Pharaoh to cave in to the pressure from his advisors or magicians. God gave Pharaoh the backbone to do what he actually wanted to do.

That’s why it’s so important for us to pray for God to soften the hearts of those around us. We don’t want anyone hardened against the Gospel of Christ.

Question: In what ways have you seen emotions bring out what’s in a person’s heart?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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It’s All About Mercy

It’s All About Mercy

We are now looking at Romans, chapter 9. In my last post we saw that God chose Jacob before he was born. That was because God already knew the choices that Jacob would make.

What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.

Romans 9:14-16

The only conclusion we can make is that there’s no unrighteousness in God. Paul then quotes a passage from Exodus 33:19.

The words, compassion and mercy in Exodus, mean to bend and stoop in kindness to an inferior…and thento hold them lovingly. This is used throughout the Old Testament.

As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him…

Psalms 103:13

Mercy, however, has a different connotation in the New Testament. We need to understand this concept.

A thorough study of mercy in the New Testament will show that mercy is God’s reward for His obedient children. I did a detailed series of posts about mercy. To see this series, click here.

This verse in Romans tells us that much of God’s grace comes to us, not because of our will, desire, or actions. Instead, it’s by God who shows mercy. It’s all about mercy. So, we have to understand mercy, to understand God.

Our will doesn’t figure into the equation. That was true in the life of Christ.

Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

Mark 14:35-36

Jesus knew this truth. It’s not about our will, but God’s desire for us.

It’s the same for running.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.

1 Corinthians 9:24

You don’t get the prize just for running. All of the athletes run.

In our Christian walk, it’s all about the mercy of God. Contrary to popular thinking – mercy is not some random act that God does. It’s a part of God’s righteous law. Jesus tried to explain this to the Pharisees.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices — mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law — justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

Matthew 23:23

God’s righteous law is based upon three things: The original Greek says that they are faith, judgment, and mercy. Faith is the basis – without it you can never please God. Judgment is God’s final decision – guilty or not guilty. But mercy is the reward for obeying God’s Word to you.

This is a part of the Christian walk that most believers don’t understand. So, I want to take a post or two in order to explain its importance

Question: What’s your view of God’s mercy?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

God’s Purpose, God’s Choice

In my last post, I started talking about Israel as God’s chosen people. In looking at Paul’s writings, he said that it was only the children of promise that were Abraham’s true children. Paul continues…

For this was how the promise was stated: “At the appointed time I will return, and Sarah will have a son.” Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac.

Romans 9:9-10

Isaac was the son born of a promise. But, the same was true when Isaac went on to have children of his own. Isaac and his wife, Rebekah, had twins. They were born at the same time, in the same bloodline, into the same family.

Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad — in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls — she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:11-13

Now there’s a mouthful. What does that phrase, God’s purpose in election mean?

God has a purpose in choosing. Actually this goes along with Romans 8:28. Remember, in Greek that verse says, God works together with all who love Him to bring about good – the purpose to which they were called.

In the above verse from chapter 9, Paul uses a special word for purpose. It means something held out. It’s the Greek word that’s also used for the showbread in the Temple. They are also called the “bread of the presence.”

This showbread was displayed in the holy place of the Temple on a weekly basis. Then, incense would be poured on top of any that was not eaten. So it was eaten and burned each week.

Only those offering service to God may eat this in His presence with their prayers. It was constantly provided for the priests who served at the altar. I believe that it’s also a picture of Christ, since He called himself the Bread of Heaven (John 6:51).

That’s the word Paul used in describing God’s way of choosing. God has a purpose in His calling and choosing.

In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:11-12

Everything that God does is based upon His preordained plan. His plan was set out from the beginning.

So, God wanted to show that it wasn’t by works that He makes His choice. He didn’t wait to see who gave Him the better offering or service. BEFORE they did anything – God looked ahead and chose the one who would obey His plan for their life.

Getting back to the verse in Romans, in order to see what’s being said, we have to understand love and hate. Contrary to current opinion, when the Bible uses these words, they’re both without emotion.

It’s all about choices. Love is the choice to positively participate in someone’s life. Hate is the choice to negatively participate or not to participate at all.

Knowing that Jacob would participate with His plan, God participated with him. Knowing that Esau would ignore His will, God chose not to work with him.

At first, it may seem unfair that God would say such a thing. But, after the twins progressed, it was obvious that God made the right choice. That’s especially true since it was obvious that Isaac was trying desperately to groom Esau to be the chosen son.

It’s good to know that God has a plan for me. He knows the choices I’ll make, even before I make them. I’m so glad that He works with me to bring about His destiny for my life.

Question: How do you see God’s hand upon your life?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Israel – God’s People

Israel – God’s People

I’m continuing my walk through Paul’s letter to the Roman church. As we start chapter 9, Paul is transitioning to a new subject. It’s like a parenthesis in the letter.

He’s now going to talk about Israel as God’s chosen people. What’s their place in the era of the New Covenant?

I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it in the Holy Spirit — I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, those of my own race, the people of Israel.

Romans 9:1-4a

Up to this point, Paul is talking about the great work that God is doing in us as believers. As he does so, he starts to reflect on the condition of his own people.

How does the New Covenant affect the nation of Israel? What does it mean to be His chosen people? Throughout his writings, Paul refers to the church as the elect – the chosen. How does that fit in?

The fact is that Paul has a love for his people. He loves them to the point of great sorrow over them. This love is not without reason.

Theirs is the adoption as sons; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of Christ, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.

Romans 9:4b-5

There is a great heritage that we receive from Israel. They were the first to be adopted as sons of God. That’s clear from Scripture.

When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.”

Hosea 11:1

They were the first to walk in the glory of God. They were the first to cut covenant with God. They actually received God’s written law.

Remember, from our look at Galatians, that the law is different than the covenants. The law was an addendum to the covenant and was not a new covenant in and of itself.

The people of Israel were the first to establish an organized religious service to God. They were the first to receive the promises of God.

In essence, they’re our fathers in the faith. When Christ took on human flesh, His ancestry is traced from Israel. He is our God.

Based upon this foundation, Paul wants to explain their condition.

It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham’s children. On the contrary, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” In other words, it is not the natural children who are God’s children, but it is the children of the promise who are regarded as Abraham’s offspring.

Romans 9:6-8

He literally says that the Word of God did not go off course, or fail. Not all who come out of Israel are Israel. What he’s saying is that in God’s eyes, Israel is not merely a genetic group.

Just because they’re related by bloodline, doesn’t make them true children of Abraham. As proof, he offers Isaac and Ishmael.

Paul explains that there are two different types of children. There are the natural children, the children who are born of the flesh. These are not necessarily the children of God.

It’s the children of the promise that are inventoried as Abraham’s true seed. This is the basis for the rest of Paul’s teaching about Israel. As believers, we really need to understand the place of Israel in the scheme of things. That’s especially true now that we’re in the last days before the return of Christ.

Question: How do you view Israel, as God’s people, in these last days?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on May 24, 2021 in Israel, Return of Christ, The Church

 

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Over-Victors

Over-Victors

I’m continuing my study through the book of Romans. We’ve been looking at Paul’s questions at the end of chapter 8.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

Romans 8:35-36

This is a great question. Every believer needs to remember both the question, and Paul’s answer. It will help us to face the toughest times in our faith journey.

He asks if there’s anything or anyone who could place a separation between us and Christ. The word trouble, in this verse, is a Greek word that means pressure. That’s something we all have to deal with.

We may not like it when we find ourselves under pressure. But, it’s one of those things that we’re told to rejoice over throughout Scripture (John 16:33; Romans 5:3).

The word hardship, on the other hand, means to be in a narrow confining space. There are times we feel like we’re in a rut with no way out. Even in those times, God’s love is reigning over us. Paul actually says that he enjoys those times because when he’s weak, God shows His strength (2 Corinthians 12:10).

The apostle goes on to list other things we may face such as persecution, hunger, poor clothes, danger or fighting. In all of these things, none of them will put space between us and God’s love. We are the only ones who, by our own foolishness, can distance ourselves from the Lord.

Paul goes on to quote Psalm 44. It basically is asking God, “Why have you forsaken us? Our enemies are trampling us.” So, Paul is asking if that’s what serving God is all about. I like his answer.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:37-39

The short answer is NO!!!! We’re not meant to be a bunch of doormats for the enemy and the world to walk over. He literally says that we are over-victors.

It goes beyond just a victory. Not just a 6 to 5 win. It’s more like a 1500 to 5 blowout. If it were boxing, it would not be just winning by points but a first round knockout. There’s no need for a recount.

We’ve been given victory over all of the things listed previously…AND MORE!!! Not life or death. Not even the principalities of the enemy’s kingdom.

He also includes many of the things we worry about on a daily basis. The present things that are happening to me right now. But also, the future events that I don’t even know about yet. The Lord has them all taken care of already.

There may be high things, like walls or barriers, that I don’t think I can get through. Or, there might be deep mysteries beyond my limited understanding. The bottom line is that there is no thing, creature, or organization that can keep God’s love and grace from reaching me.

That’s the joy of being an over-victor. It’s all manifest by our intimate times spent with the Holy Spirit.

Question: What are some areas of victory that you’ve experienced lately?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Paul’s Questions

Paul’s Questions

In my last post, I talked about our response to God’s ongoing work in our lives. His desire is to show His glory through us.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31-32

This verse literally tells us that God was not greedy about His own Son. He didn’t hold back His very best, but gave all for us. That’s why the Lord can call us to live on that same level.

Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

2 Corinthians 9:6

The words, spare in Romans, and sparingly in the next verse are the same word in Greek. Why do you think this is? It’s because greed goes against the very nature of God.

Along with Christ, God will grace us with all things. What kind of things? Everything that He’s promised.

You’ve probably noticed by now that Paul has been asking a series of leading questions in this section of Romans. It’s important that we understand the significance of each one.

Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies.

Romans 8:33

This one literally asks; who will demand a debt-payment from God’s chosen ones? The first thing we need to realize is that this verse is not talking about everyone. It only refers to those who are chosen.

I know that there are many believers who are under the notion that every verse in the Bible is talking about them. That’s simply not the case. This verse is about the chosen.

The Bible is clear that many are called, but few are chosen. We’re all called, but few respond obediently to their callings. This verse is about the obedient. Jesus talked about this group.

And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?”

Luke 18:7-8

This verse says that God’s chosen ones cry out to Him day and night. I believe that this can only be done by the spirit? Paul asks; who will demand payment from these people? That depends upon who is owed anything.

It’s God that we’ve sinned against. The God who justifies us is the only one who can legally demand payment. Praise God! In that case, I’m not afraid of the debt. It’s already been paid by Christ Jesus. It gets even better.

Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.

Romans 8:34

There is only one person in all the universe who is legally able to pass sentence on us. The Anointed One, Jesus Christ, who died. The same Anointed One who rose again. The same Anointed One who’s making intercession for us at this very moment.

The definition of intercession is meeting with for consultation toward a goal. The Lord is conferring over us to perfect us.

Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.

Hebrews 7:25

His goal is to completely save us. As it turns out, He’s the only one who can pass sentence. I’m not afraid of that either.

Question: What’s your attitude toward the future, based on these verses?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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God’s Progressive Work

God’s Progressive Work

As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re seeing how the Spirit-led life brings about God’s will. His goal is to conform us to the image of Christ Jesus. The next verse is a summary of how the Lord does this.

And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Romans 8:30

In my last post we saw that our predestination was based upon the foreknowledge of God. He knew we would bow our knee to Christ, so He set our destination in Him.

Once we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, there are a progression of things that God works in our lives.

First, it says that He called us. What’s this talking about?

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:20

The Lord is calling you to draw near through the preaching and teaching of God’s Word. His call goes out to everybody, but not all will answer.

For those who do answer this call, there’s more ahead. There are deeper callings, the more we advance forward in Christ.

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

1 Timothy 6:12

Our callings get more and more refined as we answer and obey. These callings bring us deeper and deeper into the destiny God has prepared for us.

The next step in God’s plan, is that He justifies us…He makes us innocent. This is only for those who respond to the first call…the call to submit to Christ. These are the ones God foreknew.

The final step is to be made glorious. This Greek word means that others place a high weight on your opinion, they value your words. As we’ve been seeing through Romans, people should be looking to you for freedom.

I believe this is why, many times, we hear those words, “I thought you were a Christian. Why did you…?” God wants us to be sought after for the solutions to life’s problems. Yet, many Christians are stumbling around through life themselves.

We need to get our lives back on track with God’s Word. The world is in desperate need to see us at that level.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Romans 8:31

That’s a very good question that Paul asks at this point. What else is there to say? Literally – if God is over us, then who can come down on us?

Think about what was said earlier in this chapter of Romans. My spirit and the Holy Spirit are in conference over me. The Holy Spirit conferences over all the saints. So, if God is over us, we can definitely walk in His victory.

We must submit to the Holy Spirit so He can bring us to this point of maturity.

Question: What would your life look like if you were perfectly submitted to the Holy Spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Working Together for Good

Working Together for Good

As we continue through the book of Romans, we arrive at another verse that gets us all turned around. We need to really understand it in its context.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:28

This is great verse and I’ve heard many people quote it and preach about it. They usually say something like, “Don’t worry, no matter how bad your situation gets, God will turn it around to good in the end.”

Is that what Paul’s saying here? To answer this, we need to think about the verse just before this one. What’s the context of this statement?

Remember, the apostle told us that our spirit and the Holy Spirit are in conference over us. The purpose of this conference is to bring about God’s will in our lives.

It turns out that there’s an alternate translation of verse 28.

“God works together with all who love Him to bring about good – the purpose to which they were called.”

Remember – I don’t know the objective precisely as needed. However, the Holy Spirit of God will work with me to overcome that weakness. This translation melds perfectly with what Paul said in verse 27.

Of course, many people want to believe this verse the alternate way. They feel they can do what they want – just “love God” – and He’ll work everything out.

I don’t believe that’s the case. The Lord will work together with me to bring about His good purpose in my life. That’s more in line with the context of this chapter.

Think about what the rest of Scripture teaches.

Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

Mark 16:20

As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.

2 Corinthians 6:1

This concept is found all throughout God’s Word. The Holy Spirit and the saints working together. Why would Paul say that God will do the work Himself, all you have to do is love Him? I believe that it’s clear, God wants to work with us to bring about His will.

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 8:29

The next big question is about predestination. The key is that those He foreknew, He predestined to be like Christ.

We forget sometimes, that God is outside of time and space. Before you were born, He saw the day you would receive Him as your Savior. So, He already made a place for you in His Kingdom.

He set a destination for you, based on your future decision. It’s the destination that’s the important part of this verse.

What is that destination? That we are conformed to the likeness of His Son. It says that we’re morphed together into the picture of Christ.

This is the plan that the Holy Spirit and my spirit are working together to accomplish. Everyday, I want to look more and more like Jesus. That’s the goal of prayer in the spirit. That’s the only way to truly overcome the flesh and its sinful nature.

Question: How have you changed since coming to Christ?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Holy Spirit Conference

Holy Spirit Conference

In my last post, I started talking about Paul’s view of prayer in the spirit. It’s one of the cornerstones of living in victory.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Romans 8:26-27

In this passage, the word help is a special word, it’s only found two places in Scripture. It means to lay hold together against. This word was also used during the life of Christ.

But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

Luke 10:40

Martha wanted Jesus to tell Mary to “lay hold, together, against” with me. The work was an enemy to be overcome.

The spirit in verse 26 lays hold, together with us, against our weakness. We already saw (Romans 6:19) that our weakness is in our flesh. That’s why we couldn’t obey the law, we were weakened by our flesh. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

This spirit is someone who stands with us, laying hold of us, against our weakness – the flesh. This is our ally. We may not know that he’s doing it, but he searches our heart.

To know who this is we must ask who can search our hearts.

For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 2:11

In my last post I asked you to trust me about it. Here’s the verse that explains about our spirit searching our heart. It’s only logical. So as my spirit searches my heart, he intercedes for me with groans.

So, in the Romans passage, verse 26 is about what our spirit does, and verse 27 is about what the Holy Spirit does. It’s all about the relationship between my spirit and the Holy Spirit.

Our spirit comes alongside our soul in the struggle against our flesh – our weakness. We don’t have the knowledge in our soul as to what to pray for…the objective precisely as needed…but our spirit does.

The passage says that our spirit, with groans that words cannot express, is in conference over us. Is in conference with whom? The Holy Spirit.

My spirit looks at my weakness and not knowing precisely what I need to pray, goes into conference over me, with groans that cannot be put into words. But, because of the Holy Spirit living in me, my spirit also knows the mind (inclination or purpose) of the Holy Spirit. How? Because they’re in conference over me.

Why with the Holy Spirit? The next verse says that the Holy Spirit confers over the saints on God’s behalf.

This is an incredible truth. My spirit and the Holy Spirit conferring together. Mine spirit over me, your spirit over you. The Holy Spirit over all the saints.

It’s beyond all we could ask or imagine. Think about that – our spirit and God’s Spirit working together. That’s why I believe prayer in the spirit is the most powerful gift God could have given us.

Question: How often, if ever, do you pray in the spirit?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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Spiritual Interaction

Spiritual Interaction

As we continue our trek through Romans, we’re about to look at one of the most misunderstood sections of Scripture. Let me explain.

The Apostle Paul had a very deep experience praying in the spirit. Now, along comes the Bible translators, most of whom have never prayed in tongues.

They desperately try to understand the words he wrote. What ends up happening, in many cases, is that they don’t translate the words, but try to give us what they think he’s trying to say.

I want to let Paul tell us in his words, inspired by the Holy Spirit.

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.

Romans 8:26-27

It’s very important that we understand this verse. First of all, there’s no capital “s” in the word spirit. The translators did that because they believed that this passage was referring to the Holy Spirit.

Actually, this verse is talking about the interaction between our spirit and the Holy Spirit. I believe that the first part is talking about our human spirit. I would ask you to trust me on this for now.

We’ll look at another verse in my next post that will bear me out (1 Corinthians 2:11-12). At that point, if you disagree, you’re free to disregard what I say. But for now I ask you to keep an open mind.

I believe that verse 26 is saying that our spirit cooperates with our weakness. It’s very familiar with the failings of our flesh. Because it knows you intimately, your spirit works with your weakness.

What is the weakness that it’s talking about here? The literal Greek in this verse says, we do not know, by seeing and observing, the objective of the prayer precisely as needed. We don’t always fully understand what we’re praying for.

As a pastor, when someone comes forward for prayer, I want to see them blessed. If they say, “Pastor, I’m having severe headaches – pray for me.”, then I want to see them healed. So I pray in the name of Jesus, against that sickness.

This verse is saying that I don’t always know what’s happening. According to my observation, the person needs to be healed of the headaches. However, what if I don’t know that this person has been nursing bitterness against a brother in the Lord? What if the headaches are a physical manifestation of this bitterness?

There are many sins that can cause physical symptoms. The objective of the prayer should be to let go of the bitterness. That’s why the Scripture says that I don’t always know the objective of the prayer exactly as needed. This is a part of my weakness that my spirit helps me with.

So, what does my spirit do to help me? According to this verse, my spirit intercedes over me with sighs that cannot be spoken. Literally, you cannot put what the spirit is doing into words. The fact is, your spirit intercedes for you.

Now, here’s the great part. It says that he who searches our hearts does this work. It’s my spirit who searches my heart. Again, I’ll show you this elsewhere in Scripture in my next post. My spirit searches my heart AND knows the mind of THE SPIRIT.

Here I believe that THE SPIRIT is the Holy Spirit of God. This can only be what it means. Why would Paul feel it necessary to tell us that the Holy Spirit knows the mind of the Holy Spirit?

So what this tells me is that my spirit knows my weaknesses and searches my heart. But, because of the fact that the Holy Spirit now resides in me, my spirit also knows the mind of the Holy Spirit. And it’s this same Holy Spirit that intercedes for all the saints in the perfect will of God.

This is simply the most powerful interaction that anyone could ever hope for. These two things are happening as we pray in the spirit. My spirit intercedes for me knowing both my needs and my weaknesses. The Holy Spirit intercedes for the saints knowing God’s will. As they get together and share with one another, there’s nothing that they cannot accomplish together.

Question: How does prayer in the spirit bring your prayer life to a whole new level?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 

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