Vol. 2 - No. 7
The Spirit of Man or The Holy Spirit?
by James DeVoll
"Likewise, the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for 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" (Romans 8:26).
Being well aware that much controversy surrounds this passage and that my limited insight will in no wise be a "cure-all" for the difficulty involved, I would like to set forth some observations for your consideration.
Being of the persuasion that the spirit spoken of in this verse is the spirit of man himself, may I set forth the reasoning that led to this conclusion? The primary thrust of our consideration will be "the man Jesus Christ."
In 1 Timothy 2:5, we are instructed that there is ONE mediator between God and man, the MAN Jesus Christ. The emphasis, I believe, is on "man." It is understood, I assume, that as deity, Jesus could not have been tempted (James 1:13). However, Jesus as man was tempted as you and I. Matthew 4:1-11 reveals this and Hebrews 4:14-16 reaffirms it. Being Deity and "tempted man" qualifies Jesus as a King-Priest. (It would be helpful to read Hebrews 2:9-18 closely before proceeding.)
The Man Jesus As King
Most of us readily recognize the humanity of Jesus as it relates to His position as king. Peter told the Jews the man they had crucified was the one God had made both Lord and Christ. Being of the tribe of Judah, of the root of Jesse, He was to sit upon David's throne (Isaiah 9:7). On that throne He would be a king and a priest, and the counsel of peace would be between Him and God (Zechariah 6:13). Christ sitting on David's throne was the fulfillment of the promise made to David, "that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne" (Acts 2:30).
Because of His decendency from David -- according to the flesh -- Jesus was able to sit upon the throne. As to His kingship, He had to be man.
The Man Jesus As Priest
As the kingship of Jesus necessitated His being flesh and blood, so did His priesthood. Please read with care the many references to the priesthood of Jesus in the book of Hebrews noticing the allusions to the "flesh," "body," "death," etc. These all pertain to His being flesh -- man. To consider a few:
2:9 -- tasted death
2:10 -- perfected by suffering in the flesh
2:14-18 -- partaker of flesh and blood
3:1, 6 -- our high priest, yet a Son over His own house
4:14-16 -- passed into heaven; one who is touched
by the feelings of our (human) infirmities,
thus we can find mercy
5:5-10 -- as the Son of God He is a high priest
after the order of Melchisedec; in the days
of His flesh He offered up prayers and
supplications; learned obedience through
suffering, thus perfected
6:11-16 -- His being a priest from the tribe
of Judah (His fleshly lineage), the law
had to be changed
7:24-28 -- He saves to the uttermost because He
maketh intercession for the saved; He fits
our needs perfectly in that He
offered up Himself (as a man) for us
8:3 -- As a priest He had something to offer,
that being His blood (9:12); He is there
fore the mediator of a new covenant (9:15)
9:24-28 -- is in heaven to appear in the presence of God for us; this is accomplished by the sacrifice of Himself
10:5 -- in order for Christ to do His work a body
was prepared and was sacrificed (v. 10)
10:19-22 -- we can draw near to God because of
the blood and flesh of Christ
12:24 -- this Jesus, who shed His blood, is the
mediator of the new covenant
13:12 -- in order to sanctify the people with His
blood (performance of His priestly work) He
suffered outside the gate.
I trust these passages cause us to see that Christ's coming in the flesh was necessary in order that He be a proper mediator in his priestly office.
As Deity, Jesus is fully cognizant of divine character; as man He is aware of the weaknesses and frailties humans have. Who better to mediate than this MAN, Jesus Christ. Recognizing more fully the part that the MAN, Jesus, occupies in the role of priestly mediation, the question arises: Can the Holy Spirit, who was not made flesh as was Jesus, act in this mediatorial capacity? Can there be an overlapping of the responsibilities of Christ and the Holy Spirit in this area? I think not! The Holy Spirit does not possess the qualifications to perform this mediatorial task -- He was not made MAN, as was Jesus.
Deity ----(GOD)---- Deity
Deity & Humanity --(CHRIST)--Deity & Humanity
-(HOLY SPIRIT)- Deity
Humanity (MAN) Humanity
Considering these things in harmony with all the things we have mentioned, let us now paraphrase verses 26 and 27 of Romans 8: "Likewise, our own spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but our own inward spirit itself maketh intercessions for us with groanings (cf. v. 23 -- we groan within ourselves) which cannot be uttered ('I don't know just how to put it into words'). And He (Christ) that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is in the mind of the spirit (the feelings within us) because he maketh intercessions for the saints according to the will of God."
Is there not but ONE mediator between God and man? Is not that one mediator the MAN, Jesus Christ? Yes, for He is our King-Priest!