Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen. ESV
Down through the centuries there has been a great deal of debate among many Christians regarding who can and who cannot be saved. Some believe that God has made salvation available to ‘whosoever will’ (Rev 22:17), while others believe that God has chosen only some to be saved. (Rom 9:16)
Many of those who believe that God has determined who will and who will not be saved, also believe that those who have been chosen cannot resist this calling. Sometimes this is referred to as ‘Irresistible Grace’ or ‘the Effectual Call.’ In other words, if God desires for them to be saved, they will be saved.
Can someone turn down God’s offer of salvation? Consider what Jesus taught in the Parable of the Wedding Feast.
Matthew 22:1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, 3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. 4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business, 6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.
As Jesus closed His teaching of this parable, He said – “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (vs. 14) It is interesting to note that the word translated as ‘chosen’ is the same Greed word that is often translated as ‘elected.’ This verse could be translated as – “Many are called, but few are elected.” Who were the ‘elect’ in this parable? It was those who received the king’s invitation.
In His parable Jesus said that a king who gave the invitation to all of his neighbors for them to come to his feast. Twice the king made this plea; yet both times those who were invited refused to come. The invitation was given to all, but not all chose to receive it. Many were invited, but only a few ended up being a part of that select group that was able to attend.
I believe that it is improper to say that God desires for only some to be saved; but not everyone. The Bible says:
The Lord is…not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.’ (2 Peter 3:9)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Rev 22:17)
I will admit that there is much about God and His sovereignty that I do not understand; yet I believe the Bible is very clear about His desire for all men to be saved. I conclude this week’s study with the last command Jesus gave to His disciples – “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)