The Contention

Some Christians believe people are spiritually incapable of believing unless God gives them saving faith and they become spiritually born again. This new life enables them to have faith.

This concept is based on the belief that as a physically dead person is unable to respond to physical stimuli so a spiritually dead person is incapable of responding to spiritual influence, be it human or divine.

This is based on understanding “dead” in passages such as Ephesians 2:1 means the person is without the capacity of response until given new life.

Other passages used to support this concept are: Job 5: 20; Psalm 30:3, 33:19; John 2:6; Luke 15:24, 32; Romans 5:12-21; I Cor. 15:21,22; Colossians 2:13; I John 3:14; Rev. 11:8; 3:1,2.

In reality not one of these passages teaches what proponents advocate. The words “dead” or “death” in each passage mean the person is physically dead or Spiritually separated from God.

There is not one text that teaches a lost person is incapable of responding to God’s loving drawing. There are passages that teach God draws and people are open to coming to Him.

“If any man thirst, let him come to Me” (John 7:37).

“…the Spirit and the bride say come…” (Rev. 22:17).

These and other verses defy the claim of persons like John MacArthur who claim a lost person is as incapable of responding to God as a “cadaver.”

But a few verses that call upon individuals to exercise personal faith of their own free will are: John 1:12,13; 3:16, 36; 5:24; 6:47; Ephesians 2: 8; Romans 3:21, 22, 25, 26, 28, and 4:3-6.

A starving homeless person may be invited to a banquet. The food is provided for him, but he alone can eat it for himself. Of his own free will he chooses to eat or not to eat. He must still decide for himself. Likewise unsaved persons are not like cadavers, they must choose to believe or not to believe.

God is more attentive to the spiritual interest of the lost than most Christians are aware. Cornelius, a lost Gentile, prayed, God heard his prayers, and answered them (Acts 10:30-35).

Cornelius heard Peter preach the gospel and of his won free will responded in faith and was saved (vss. 44-48).

In Philippi Paul and Silas witnessed to a group of women. It is said of one of them, Lydia, God “opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul (Acts 16:14).

The removal of the mental veil did not consequent in God giving her faith. It was the occasion for her of her on free will to express her faith in Christ.

Christ marveled over the “great faith” of the Roman soldier. Faith came from the centurion, not from God, was the cause of Christ marveling.