Post Author: Bill Pratt
No. The Bible seems to clearly teach that God must call on man before man will respond. Original sin has caused man to reject God without God’s intervention. Jesus said, ““This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him” (John 6:65). The Psalmist said, “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5). God must initiate salvation because man cannot.
So does God intervene to convict all men of their sins and call them toward him? Yes, he does. All men are given the chance to accept or reject God because God calls all men. According to 2 Pet. 3:9, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” According to 1 Tim. 2:3-4, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”
God will freely offer the gift of salvation to everyone, but each person must decide to accept or reject this free gift. God must call us first, as we are incapable of inclining our wills toward God on our own.
Historical footnote: The belief that mankind is born innocent of original sin and can freely choose God without God first initiating salvation is called Pelagianism. This heresy was condemned by the Council of Carthage (A.D. 416-418).