I was (am) of the belief that Adam (Eve) was the only one with the option of free will. I was told recently that once a person comes to faith they now have free will. Is that true?
Ever since the fall into sin in Eden, the free will that people have is limited to making decisions about their earthly lives. So, people choose to marry or remain single, enter into this or that vocation, live in a certain area, etc. Of course, when it comes to making decisions like those, people may not always be able to follow through on what they would like to see happen in their lives.
After the fall into sin, people by nature can choose only evil in the spiritual realm. “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so” (Romans 8:7). The inclination of the heart is only evil by nature (Genesis 6:5; 8:21). This certainly means that no one can choose to believe in God. Romans 8:7 explains that people do not want anything to do with God in the first place. Then, when we add passages like 1 Corinthians 2:14, Ephesians 2:1 and Colossians 2:13, we understand that even if we wanted to choose to believe in Jesus we could not do that because we were spiritually blind and dead by nature. All we could do was sin and reject God.
Thanks be to God that he sent his Holy Spirit into our hearts to join us to Jesus so we could personally enjoy the forgiveness of sins he won for all people. As Christians we now have a new self that desires to live life God’s way (Ephesians 4:24). As a child of God, my will is much different than before my conversion. Now my new self wants to use the means of grace to strengthen my faith; now I want to follow God’s law as a tangible way of showing my thankfulness to him for my salvation in Jesus his Son. However, even when I, as a child of God, want to do those things in life that are good and godly, I recognize that it is God working in me: “It is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose” (Philippians 2:13).