No man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost. – 1 Corinthians 12:3.
To say that Jesus is the Lord is to believe in Him and to come to Him in true faith. No man can do this by his own reason or strength; we can only do this through the gracious working of the Holy Ghost in His Word.
By nature, by virtue of our own reason and strength, we can do various and many things, always, of course, under God. But not this. Of ourselves we cannot do a particle, not the least little thing towards inclining our heart to believe in Jesus, nor in any way adapt or prepare ourselves thereto. For by nature we are spiritually dead. Unto all things that concern Jesus, and which the Gospel and Spirit of God convey to us, we are dead. This is due to our sinful state. We are by nature “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1). “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (I Corinthians 2:14).
And we are not spiritual by nature, but carnal; only carnal, controlled and actuated by sin, carnal-minded. And this carnal mind not only considers the Gospel of God foolishness, but even hates it. By nature we do not want to come to God through Jesus Christ, because we love sin and hate the life with God and in God. We do not like to be subject to the Law of God, neither indeed can we. Hence we have a slavish fear of God, and hate Him, and wish there were no God. “The carnal mind is enmity against God” (Romans 8:7). So “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost.”
Faith is the work of the Holy Ghost through the “hearing” of “the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Faith is kindled in man’s heart entirely without his co-operation; there is as little co-operation as in creation – even less; for in creation there is no hostile resistance. This is why every time a poor sinner is brought to justifying faith in Jesus, it is a miracle. Conversion is a new creation, in which our hearts and minds are completely changed. From the knowledge of the Gospel, we no longer fear God or have a sense of enmity towards Him, but we love Him and His grace toward us in Christ Jesus. The fleshly-mindedness of the old Adam is passed away, even though it is still necessary to crucify him by daily contrition and repentance. The creation of our new man is finished, and by daily use of God’s Word he grows in strength and power by the nurturing of the Holy Spirit.
O how completely dependent we are upon the grace of the faithful God and Lord, the Holy Ghost, ever working through “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 b)!
PRAYER – God, the Holy Ghost, merciful Lord and Comforter, I thank Thee with all my heart that Thou hast freed me, a poor sinner, spiritually dead, from the bonds of blindness and of hostile resistance, and in faith has brought me to my only Savior, Jesus Christ, that I might be saved from what I truly deserve for my many sins. I pray Thee, do not by any means leave me, but, through Thy gracious, almighty power working in Thy Word, keep me in the true, saving faith until my end. Amen.
O Holy Spirit, grant us grace,
that we our Lord and Savior,
in faith and fervent love embrace,
and truly serve Him ever,
so that when death is drawing nigh,
we to His open wounds may fly,
and find in them salvation.
Help us that we Thy saving Word,
in faithful hearts may treasure;
let e’er that Bread of Life afford,
new grace in richest measure.
Yea, let us die to every sin,
for heaven create us new within,
that fruits of faith may flourish.
(TLH) – Hymn 293, 1, 2