Does the Natural Man Have Free Will or Not?
Some reformed theologians say that man has a "free will" and other theologians say that he does not? Confused?
The ones who say the natural man has a "free will" mean by this that man is free to do what he wants according to his fallen nature. A voluntary choice that is not coerced. We can agree with their concept, but even these Reformed theologians who say man has a free will would openly acknowledge that man's will is free only to do evil, but his WILL is not free to do good -- and I say in response to this that if the will is not free to do good it is not free in the only thing that counts when discussing the subject. Because when you talk about free will it is almost always with regard to sin and salvation... not free will in some general sense. The question is whether the sinner is "free" to choose Christ or not? No, he is not. He is by nature hostile to God (Rom 8:7), loves darkness and hates the light (John 3:19, 20). This is the only thing we are discussing when the topic of free will comes up. no? Fallen men and women are not dragged unwillingly into sinning, but because their will is held captive under the yoke of sin they do evil of necessity.
The will is corrupt and therefore, of necessity, chooses evil. And if it is of necessity that they act this way and not another, then the will is not free. Freedom in the Bible is almost always referring to freedom from sin. For example... Jesus says, "everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.(John 8:34-36). The Bible never speaks positively about the will being bound to sin and always speaks positively about the will being bound to God, in fact it calls this kind of slavery "freedom" in a positive sense. Jesus never once refers to being free from God and a slave to the devil as a positive thing. The only freedom Jesus declared as good and something to hope for was freedom from bondage to sin and a slave to God.
While I understand what the some Reformed folks mean when they say man has a "free will" but I think, at worst, we may be using the phrase "free will" on our libertarian opponents terms or, at best, present a confused picture since with regard to Christ, sin and salvation, which is the Bible's core focus, we all believe man's will is not free. Even an Arminian would acknowledge that the very need to grace does away with free will altogether. For no man can come to Christ apart from grace (John 6:65)