(part of a sermon, after looking at Ephesians 2:1 “And you were dead in [your] trespasses and sins” …)
… people say, “Well, yes unbelievers are dead in their sins, but they still have a free will.”
Do dead people have a free will? Well, for the sake of argument, let’s say they do. OK … after church, go down to the cemetery and yell out as loudly as you can: “Come out of the graves you people! You are free! No one is stopping you - go ahead!” Even if they are free to come out of those graves, they won’t, because they can’t.
Don’t confuse freedom with ability. If I have a pet bird and clip its wings and then say, “Go ahead little birdie, fly away.” It won’t. The problem isn’t freedom, it’s ability. Dead people don’tchoose Christ, they don’t believe the Gospel, because they don’t have the spiritual apparatus—
1Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
Does not because he cannot. But it’s even more than a lack of ability, it is a lack of desire: the unbeliever has absolutely no desire to love and obey God. By nature, he is set against God, with no desire to change—no exceptions—
Romans 3:11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
Does not because it cannot.
The unsaved are free to receive Christ, but it’s like the freedom of water to run uphill. They are free to hear the Gospel, and free to trust in Jesus Christ – God isn’t preventing them. But they won’t because they can’t, and they don’t even desire to do so. It’s not in them. Freewill is the unbeliever’s worst enemy. Their free-will is chained to their nature, which is spiritually dead, so as long as it’s up to their free will to determine their spiritual destiny – they are doomed. As long as salvation is up to them, as George Whitefield said, “Man has a free will to go to hell, but none to go to heaven.”
That’s deep doo-doo. Deeper than we ever imagined, deader than we ever thought. If we take God at His word, unsaved people can’t come to Christ and be saved. And Jesus Himself said this, and He said it twice:
John 6:44 “No one can come to Me;” and v.65 “no one can come to Me.”
And that would be the end of the story – unless – and there is an unless:
“No one can come to me, unless the Father who sent me draws him” (v.44).
“No one can come to me, unless it is granted him by the Father” (v.65).
Who is on the other side of the “unless?” Not you and your free will – but a loving, merciful God. We can’t change our hearts of stone, but He gives new hearts. We can’t change our sinful nature, but He can cause us to be born again. And we are dead. Dead. But He raises the dead. Beloved, as surely as He raised His Son from the dead, God is still raising the dead.