Free Will Revisited
Here are some ways to respond to persons who assert that the natural man has a free will to come to Christ or believe the gospel. Someone recently wrote to me "I believe our free will and power to choose is real and a God-given part of our nature."
Response: One could only conclude from your assertions that you affirm that a natural person can come to faith in Jesus, apart from grace. That 'free-will' does not need the grace of God, but can do all things by its own power For as soon as you acknowledge the necessity of grace and the Holy Spirit, you thereby affirm fallen man has no free will. All the passages in the Holy Scriptures that mention assistance or grace are they that do away with "free-will", and these are countless...For grace is needed, and the help of grace is given, because "free-will" can do nothing when left to itself.
Ask yourself, If man's will is free, what is it free from? Sin? If our will is free from sin what need is there at all for grace or the Holy Spirit? The very fact that we need the Holy Spirit proves once for all that man has no free will, if left to himself. In his natural state, apart from grace, he will not come to Christ. Rather his will and affections are in bondage to a corruption of nature. And that which is in bondage, by definition, is not free. We need Christ to set us free, or we have no hope. Are you really going to tell me that you can come to Christ with no help from grace? Our "chooser" is broken without grace. Free will is a concept completely foreign to the Holy Scripture. If you can find it there I will honestly change my position today, but it appears this is something you are bringing to the Text from the outside - your own presuppositions. Be honest with yourself and notice you provided no Scripture to back up your assertion, only declared it to be true because it only makes sense to you if we are created in God's image.
So lets be sure our conclusions are exegetical (biblical), not philosophical. If you can show me (or yourself) from the Scripture that a person can come to faith APART from the Holy Spirit, then I encourage you to continue believing what you do, but if you cannot find it in the Text, don't just agree to disagree with me, consider carefully that your presuppositions may just be wrong - inherited from whatever tradition you may have been involved with. Are there really parts of us that are unaffected by the Fall? After Adam and Eve fell, the Scripture declares that we are in a natural state called "the flesh" which does not have the Holy Spirit. Take the time to carefully read 1 Cor chapter 2 which makes this plain. Only the Spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing (John 6:63)
We agree 100% that we are all responsible to obey the command to believe the gospel. But what I believe your mistake is to equate responsibility with moral ability. Consider this. We are responsible to perfectly obey the 10 commandments. God declares that we are to be holy as he is holy ... that if we disobey the law at one point it is as if we disobey the whole law. Now, the law is your responsibility to obey. Does that mean you are morally able???. No ... of course not - that is why we need the gospel. ... We are no no more able to obey than a homeless man can pay off a billion dollar debt. If he squandered the money in Vegas that he borrowed from the bank, his inability to repay does not alleviate his responsibility. He is still responsible to repay. Likewise we owe a debt in Adam we cannot repay. Thus the need for Christ.