1 Corinthians 12:2
You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, even as you were led.
I. THE GENERAL IMPOTENCY OF MAN IN SPIRITUAL DUTIES. Here we see —
1. The universality of our loss in Adam. No one hath any power to do this. Which notes their blasphemy that exempt any man from the infection of sin.
2. Where this impotency lies — in man. "No man." Which notes their blasphemy that say man may be saved by his natural faculties as he is man.
3. By just occasion of that word "can," is able, we see also the laziness of man who, though he can do nothing effectually and primarily, yet does not do so much as he might do.
II. WHAT THIS SPIRITUAL DUTY IS WHEREIN WE ARE ALL SO IMPOTENT.
1. An outward act, a profession; not that the outward act is enough, but that the inward affection alone is not enough neither. To think it, to believe it, is not sufficient; we must say it, profess it.
2. And what?
(1) That Jesus is: not only assent to the history, and matter of fact that Jesus was, and did all that is recorded of Him, but that he is still that which He pretended to be. Caesar is not Caesar still, nor is Alexander, Alexander; but Jesus is Jesus still, and shall be for ever.
(2) That He is the Lord. He was not sent hither as the greatest of the prophets, nor as the greatest of the priests; His work consists not only in having preached to us, nor in having sacrificed Himself, thereby to be an example to us; but He is Lord. He purchased a dominion with His blood. He is the Lord, not only the Lord paramount, but the only Lord, no other hath a lordship in our souls and no other any part in saving them but He.
III. THIS CANNOT BE DONE BUT BY THE HOLY GHOST.
1. All recalls but one are excluded, and therefore that one must necessarily be hard to be compassed. The knowledge and discerning of the Holy Ghost is a difficult thing.
2. As all other means are excluded, so this one is included as necessary. Nothing can effect it but having the Holy Ghost, and therefore the Holy Ghost may be had.
(J. Donne, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.