Many Are Called, But Few Are Chosen

In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus gave the Parable of the Wedding Banquet. In verse 11 we see that the king, who had prepared the wedding banquet for his son, noticed that there was a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. The wedding clothes in the parable signify the righteousness of Christ, without which no one will enter the kingdom of Heaven. The king told his servants to tie the man up, and throw him outside into the darkness, where there would be “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, which signifies eternal separation from God. In the final verse of the passage Jesus said: “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matthew 22:14).

 

When Jesus said that many are called, He was teaching that many are called outwardly, when they hear or read the proclamation of the Gospel message. Many are called outwardly to repent of their sins and come to Him. But Jesus then said that though “many” are called in this way, only “few”

are chosen. These few who are chosen are God’s elect, who hear not only the outward call for men to repent of their sins and believe in Christ, but through the hearing of the word of God they are also called with the inward, effectual calling of God which always results in the regeneration of those who receive it.

 

Many may hear the outward call of the proclamation of the Gospel message, but as Paul wrote to Thessalonians believers, he knew that God had chosen them because “our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Those who receive God’s calling hear the outward

 

proclamation of the Gospel, and it comes to them not in word only, “but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” Here is the evidence manifested by those whom God has chosen, those who have received God’s calling to faith in Jesus Christ.

 

As we consider Jesus’ teaching in the Parable of the Wedding Banquet, let us once again consider His teaching in the parable of the sower given to us in Matthew 13:1-23. Both of these parables provide an illustration of men hearing the Gospel message, and both parables demonstrate the results in their lives of them having heard the message.

 

In the Parable of the Sower, a farmer went out to sow seed. The seed is the metaphor that Jesus used to symbolize the Gospel message. As the farmer spread the seed, some fell beside the road, some fell on rocky places, some fell among the thorns, and some seed fell on what Jesus described as

“good soil”.

 

In each of the first three cases, no harvest was realized from the seed that was sown. Only in the case where the seed fell on “good soil” was a harvest indeed realized. The “good soil” in this parable symbolizes God’s elect, who receive the seed of the Gospel message and understand it. And they are the only ones who come to faith in Christ. As a result of their genuine faith, they will bear a harvest of spiritual fruit to the glory of God (Matthew 13:23).

 

Even though many are called outwardly, as Jesus taught in Matthew 22:14, only few are chosen by God to come to faith in Christ. All of these

chosen, or God’s elect, will all be called with His effectual calling to faith in Christ, and they will all indeed come to faith in Christ. This again is what Jesus was teaching when He said: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” (John 6:37, emphasis added).

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