Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us. -Romans 8:34
In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. -Romans 8:26
Why does Jesus intercede on our behalf before the Father? And why does the Holy Spirit intercede for us? Does God not like us? Does Jesus have to ask the Father to back off and not burn us to a crisp?
Let’s start with The Father. Where do we stand with Him?
What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is the one who will condemn? -Romans 8:31-34a
If God is for us, who can be against us, right? Well, how do we know God is for us? If giving up His own Son for us all doesn’t say God is for us, I don’t know what will! If God justifies us – and there is no higher court for the accuser of the brethren to appeal to – then God (the Father) is, unequivocally and without a doubt, for us.
So if God is for us, then why is the Spirit interceding for us? Well, Rich Mullins once said that we never know what we’re praying. That God hears us not according to our understanding, but according to His wisdom. And I think that’s what the Spirit does. We don’t know how to pray right, or what to pray for, but the Spirit of God is praying for us. God is praying for you. God the Spirit is praying to God the Father for you. “And hewho searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will.”
So if God is for us, then why is Jesus interceding on our behalf? Christ is interceding before the Father on our behalf – He died for us and He rose for us. It’s like… Just in case God forgot – which He won’t – Jesus is standing beside the Father reminding Him and pleading with Him for us. And God is already for us!
So we have God the Father, who’s sent Jesus for us and declared us not-guilty. He is for us.
We have God the Son, Jesus, who came for us and made us not-guilty, interceding on our behalf before the Father who is already for us!
AND we have God the Spirit, interceding before the Father on our behalf and according to the will of the Father so that we never have to fear that we’ve prayed a bad or stupid prayer, to the Father, who has Jesus also interceding on our behalf before the Father who is already for us!
Paul asks, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” It’s not “Who will get God’s elect condemned,” it’s “who will bring a charge?” The devil wants to accuse us before God and he can’t get a guilty verdict because he can’t even get into the courtroom!
With things being as they are, who anywhere is going to get between us and God? God is already in our favor, Jesus and the Holy Spirit interceding before the Father on our behalf! The answer to Paul’s rhetorical question reads like a crescendo:
Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that
nor heavenly rulers,
nor things that are present,
nor things to come,
nor anything else in creation
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
in Christ Jesus