The Intercession Of The Holy Spirit

Question:

Is It True The Holy Spirit Intercedes On Our Behalf?

Quick Answer:

Apparently!  But the word "indite" that appears in Romans gives a nuanced meaning to the word "intercede." When Christ intercedes on our behalf before the Father he does so on the basis of His blood. The Spirit, however, impresses us to pray and helps us with what we pray about. Ellen White referred to this work of the Holy Spirit as "interceding," but she also points out the difference between Christ's intercession and that of the Holy Spirit. What the Bible and Mrs. White says follows.

Bible Answer:

Romans 8:26 "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."

Inspired Answer:

"Christ, our Mediator, and the Holy Spirit are constantly interceding in man’s behalf, but the Spirit pleads not for us as does Christ, who presents His blood, shed from the foundation of the world; the Spirit works upon our hearts, drawing out prayers and penitence, praise and thanksgiving. The gratitude which flows from our lips is the result of the Spirit’s striking the cords of the soul in holy memories, awakening the music of the heart." {1SM 344.1}

"The Holy Spirit enlightens the mind of the one who depends on the merits of a crucified and risen Saviour and indites a prayer of confession and repentance that is acceptable to the Lord. “We know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings that cannot be uttered.” “He that searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” [Romans 8:26, 27.] {Lt97-1905.4}

Further Thoughts:

The idea of the Spirit interceding on our behalf is only found in a few places, and must be understood with the idea of something being "indited"—something that is composed or put into writing. Indite is an old word and not used much anymore. Accordingly the confusion.

The best of the quotes on this aspect of the Spirit's work is the one listed above. It comes from a longer series of paragraphs on the intercessory work of Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary. Years ago when I was corresponding with Elder E. L. Minchin, he shared with me that this was one of his favorite quotes of the writings of Ellen White. Here is the longer quote that he was referring to, that also includes the quotation cited above.

"As you near the cross of Calvary there is seen love that is without a parallel. As you by faith grasp the meaning of the sacrifice, you see yourself a sinner, condemned by a broken law. This is repentance. As you come with humble heart, you find pardon, for Christ Jesus is represented as continually standing at the altar, momentarily offering up the sacrifice for the sins of the world. He is a minister of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man. The typical shadows of the Jewish tabernacle no longer possess any virtue. A daily and yearly typical atonement is no longer to be made, but the atoning sacrifice through a mediator is essential because of the constant commission of sin. Jesus is officiating in the presence of God, offering up His shed blood, as it had been a lamb slain. Jesus presents the oblation offered for every offense and every shortcoming of the sinner. {1SM 343.4}

Christ, our Mediator, and the Holy Spirit are constantly interceding in man’s behalf, but the Spirit pleads not for us as does Christ, who presents His blood, shed from the foundation of the world; the Spirit works upon our hearts, drawing out prayers and penitence, praise and thanksgiving. The gratitude which flows from our lips is the result of the Spirit’s striking the cords of the soul in holy memories, awakening the music of the heart. {1SM 344.1}

The religious services, the prayers, the praise, the penitent confession of sin ascend from true believers as incense to the heavenly sanctuary, but passing through the corrupt channels of humanity, they are so defiled that unless purified by blood, they can never be of value with God. They ascend not in spotless purity, and unless the Intercessor, who is at God’s right hand, presents and purifies all by His righteousness, it is not acceptable to God. All incense from earthly tabernacles must be moist with the cleansing drops of the blood of Christ. He holds before the Father the censer of His own merits, in which there is no taint of earthly corruption. He gathers into this censer the prayers, the praise, and the confessions of His people, and with these He puts His own spotless righteousness. Then, perfumed with the merits of Christ’s propitiation, the incense comes up before God wholly and entirely acceptable. Then gracious answers are returned. {1SM 344.2}
Oh, that all may see that everything in obedience, in penitence, in praise and thanksgiving, must be placed upon the glowing fire of the righteousness of Christ. The fragrance of this righteousness ascends like a cloud around the mercy seat. {1SM 344.3}

Selected Messages, Vol. 1, 343, 344