Let us pray: Dear Savior, thank You for giving us the certainty of our soul’s future through faith in You. Thank You for taking away our unease over our sins and the temptations we fall into. Thank You for providing us with the knowledge that in You we are declared “not guilty” before God and thus our hearts can rest in peace. Yes, thank You for giving us all this and more, made possible by our chief Advocate, the Holy Spirit. Amen
GRACE MERCY AND PEACE ARE YOURS FROM CHRIST, WHO HAS SENT US THE COMFORTER FROM ON HIGH!
TEXT: Romans 8: 26,27
Dearly Beloved By Christ:
I’ve never been to court except for jury duty. I don’t pretend to know how the legal system works, aside from the obvious. But I do know that you should hire your own lawyer and not rely on a public defender unless you absolutely have to. The reasoning is obvious. As a general rule of thumb, a public defender is: a. right out of law school and green as grass; or b: cannot make it on their own so they rely on the public trough, translation: they’re “c” grade lawyers; or c: they are burned out and cannot get a job elsewhere. Yes, an occasional public defender might be o.k. but few set the law profession on fire.
One of the most powerful Biblical images is of God the Father as the ultimate Judge of the human race. Of course, He finds us totally guilty of violating His perfect Laws of the universe and would declare the death sentence upon all of us save for one thing.—Jesus races into the courtroom and loudly proclaims that He has already suffered death for us and through His gift of grace we must now be set free! The Judge has no choice. The love of His Son Jesus has trumped any guilty verdict. He proclaims us acquitted of our crimes for Jesus’ sake.
But, there is another player in that courtroom drama that we seldom talk about, think about, and even more rarely give Him His due. It is the Holy Spirit, Who functions as our Public Defender. I say that because we cannot pay Him, we have no heavenly money. We cannot cajole Him into helping us. Our natural guilt betrays our words even before we speak them. No, in true Public Defender fashion, the Spirit’s help is free, already paid for by Jesus’ blood and righteousness. However, and it’s a really BIG HOWEVER, once the Judge pronounces sentence and we’re set free, This defender still stays on the job. In fact, He keeps helping us right up til the day we die and then He even speeds us into heaven! So, as we look at our lesson, I want you to keep in mind that:
THIS PUBLIC DEFENDER WORKS TIRELESSLY FOR YOU
I have to tell you, any time I can think up a way to portray and further define the work of the Holy Spirit to you, I’m a very happy preacher. Today’s lesson provides such an avenue. We know that the Spirit is in charge of laying God’s Law and judgment before us. Like a great Public Defender, He doesn’t sugar coat the case against us: “The soul that sins, it shall die.” And once He has gotten us to admit our guilt and say: “All that’s left for me is to throw myself on the mercy of the court since I’m totally guilty;” well, then He promptly tells us: “Have you heard about Jesus?” You see, the Spirit is in charge of using the truth of Jesus to work faith, trust, and hope into our hearts. Like that distraught jailer at Philippi who helplessly turned to St. Paul and exclaimed: “What must I do to be saved?” the Spirit makes sure we hear those sweet words: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!”
Now, the Spirit as Public Defender knows the Law as well as the Judge does. That’s because this Defender helped write the Law. He also knows the Gospel as well as Christ does. That’s because this Defender helped plan out and even write the Gospel truths into God’s ageless book of wisdom. This Defender is the Expert of experts when it comes to finding a way to work faith into our hearts and save us, while also making it actually happen. Of course, that’s because the Spirit is fully God and shares with the Father and Christ in making our deliverance happen. And happen it did on Calvary’s cross where Jesus died to pay for the sins of the world.
So, here we are. Each of us stands or sits before God Almighty sin-free in His sight. We’re new creations as a result of faith, new creations as a result of the Spirit’s indwelling. And yet, we don’t have a clue how to use our new status, how to enjoy it, how to discuss it, or even how to phrase our heart’s thankfulness to the entire Trinity. Our hearts groan with longing for helping set other lost souls free, too. Our inner spirit shakes its head over clueless sinners who still don’t get what grace is, or even want it. We know how wonderful it is. We know they need it, but will they even listen to our halting speech?
Folks, your Public Defender hasn’t left you in the lurch. I said that He works tirelessly for you and I meant it. In fact, St. Paul now discusses how He’s working for you and with you–even this very day. “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.”
Those words are glorious! They are wonderfully comforting! Our Public Defender can read our minds. So, He does. And then He talks to both God the Father and Christ on our behalf. He lays before them exactly our inner fears and inner pains. He speaks with groans no human language can portray. And then the Spirit lays out the case for helping all the saints, all the believers, in total accord with God’s perfect will. Voila! Our prayers become perfect and powerful. Suddenly our lives take on a new purpose. We’re born again! We’re new creations who have the power to make God smile, to make the angels sing, and to change the universe one soul at a time.
As we go about this business of life and try to figure out our place and purpose in God’s plan each day, I really like pondering the image of the Spirit being my tireless, hard-working Public Defender Who is always on the job for me. It gives me another reason to head into tomorrow without fearfulness but with eager anticipation. St. Paul agrees with me. In fact, in the next verse of Romans he makes it all very clear as to why this is so. “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.” Yes, never forget: We’re now people with a purpose. Amen