555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

325. What Are We to Understand by "Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen"?




This is one of Christ's terse and memorable sayings, several times uttered. It is interpreted to mean that many receive the invitation of the Gospel who never reach the stage of spiritual progress where they can be said to be "chosen" to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief on the truth." (See II Thes. 2 :13.) The "chosen" were those who were set apart for special duty to become living examples of devoted service. Paul was such an illustration of God's sovereignty in choosing his instrument It should not be held to imply, however, that salvation is forfeited, except through the fault and wickedness of those who are rejected. Christ's death was all-sufficient, and it is not the divine will that any should perish. Many controversies have arisen over this passage, but we can safely rest upon the language of the Saviour himself, who said: "Whosoever will may come" . . . . and "Him that cometh I will in no wise cast out." This promise is absolute and assures us that saving grace is within the reach of all who will forsake sin and accept salvation through Christ The broad interpretation of the passage would seem to be that while many are called, or set in the way of salvation, the invitation alone does not save them; they must themselves comply with all the conditions. Thus a means is provided for the salvation of all, except those who willfully reject it. This is the true grace of the Gospel and it is so clear and unmistakable that no human doctrine or interpretation can change it.