Does man really have free will?
Can lost people decide for themselves to believe in Jesus and be saved?
These and other similar questions have been asked and argued over and over for last two millennia. I cannot begin to address or expect to answer them in this blog, but I will bring the Word of God to bear upon this matter.
“As it is written: There is none righteous, no, not one; There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)
“And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1)
“…having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart;” (Ephesians 4:18)
“…we were still sinners…we were enemies” (Romans 5:8, 10)
These verses are just a small sample of the condition of lost humanity. They are lost like sheep without a Shepherd; they are also blind, evil, sinful, hateful and spiritually dead. Mankind despises the light of heaven and loves darkness (John 3:19), oh and before I forget, every unbeliever is also a slave of sin (Read all of Romans 6).
…Which brings me to Ezekiel 37:1-14. In this vision, God shows to his prophet a valley filled with very dry bones and then He asks: “Can these bones live?” Now, you and I know that dry bones CANNOT live and therefore CANNOT exercise any kind of “free” will, because when you are dead in sin, your spirit is also dead and therefore you do not have the moral ability to choose what is right.
A dry bone---which symbolically represents the lost soul of an unbeliever---can ONLY live again by the regeneration brought forth by the Word of God. It was the breath of God which gave life to the lifeless statue of Adam (Genesis 2:7) and it is the Word of God that brings faith and salvation to our hearts (Romans 10:17).
This is exactly what is portrayed in this vision. God commanded the prophet to “prophesy” to the bones and as he did, the bones got together, new bodies were formed and the Spirit of God brought life to all of them (Ezekiel 37:1-14).
These verses were a future prophecy for the reunification of Israel. After many centuries they returned to Palestine and became a nation. The prophecy is only partially fulfilled, as one day the remnant of Israel will be saved (Romans 11:26).
Sinners---Gentiles or Jews---are the dry bones waiting to hear the sweet music of the Gospel that can give eternal life to those who repent and believe. Preach the Word and dry bones will dance.