Matthew 22:14

Matthew 22:14 (see also Matthew 26:28Romans 1:6Romans 8:28; Revelation 17:14)
For many are called, but few are chosen

​Question: Did Jesus die for the ones that He called?

Answer: If not, then what exactly is He calling them to? Nothing? (This is why only an Unlimited Atonement would make any sense.)

Question: If the “many” vs. the “few” represents Calvinism’General Call of the non-elect vs. the Effectual Call of the elect, then why don’t Calvinists infer the same meaning of “many” at Matthew 20:28? “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Compare with 1st Timothy 2:6. If Jesus had only died for the “few,” then to what would the rest be “called” to receive?

Steven Hitchcock: “…when the Scriptures refer to Christians as ‘The Called,’ it is a way of referring to those who have identified with the call of the gospel. ‘The Called’ is another way of referring to the people of faith. When the Scriptures use the term generally, such as ‘many are called’, it is simply a way of referring to those who have heard the gospel.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.269)

Many” and “few” are relative terms, being contrasted against one another. Since there are more called than chosen, it logically follows that the calling itself does not save, and so it’s logical to assume that the calling is indiscriminate and universal in scope. Of the many “called,” the comparatively few who are chosen, possibly refers to those who are on the narrow path (few/narrow), chosen to inherit salvation, presumably based upon their position in Christ. 

The obvious fact is that more are called than chosen, which is very eye-opening, because if there is a Limited scope Atonement (as per 5-Point Calvinism), then “to what” exactly are these many being called? In other words, how can they be called to salvation, if they don’t have a Savior’s atonement available to them? That’s what doesn’t make any sense. Only an Unlimited scope Atonement can make sense of the fact that the Bible calls all men to salvation. Otherwise, the universal calling would be a hollow scam. One cannot offer empty promises. Either the atonement is made for all, and all are called and invited to receive it, or the atonement is not made for all, and only those for whom it is made, can be invited to it. So 5-Point Calvinists have a pickle here. 

Arminian paraphrase:  “Many are called [to salvation], but few are chosen [for salvation].”

God grants salvation to those who answer His call, that is, for whosoever believes in Him.

​Calvinist paraphrase:  “Many are called [with an intentionally ineffective “general call”], but few are chosen [who receive an irresistible, “efficacious call”].

The built-in presumption is that there is a pre-selected group, and a de-selected group, and the type of call given, is dependent upon which caste that a person was created for.

​Question: If only few are chosen, then is it contradictory for God to draw all men?

Answer: The Calvinist presumption is that the few [of the Calvinistically elect] are chosen “to come” [irresistibly], but that’s not what it says. The Arminian presumption is that many are called to come, and the few that do are chosen for salvation.

The “many in verse 14, which are “called, reflects upon the “many in verse 9, who are in the highways, that the king had commanded his servants to go to, in order to invite the general public to the wedding feast. The “few” that are chosen,” speaks of the narrow road to life (Matthew 7:14), in which, few” there be that find it. In this marriage feast, someone showed up without the wedding clothes (Matthew 22:11), and he was rejected. What is the opposite of rejected? Chosen.” (Matthew 22:14)

John Bevere: “Your destiny awaits you. God, men and even hell have plans for your life. Which one will you choose? Only one will yield eternal satisfaction and rewards. This message conveys the importance of cooperating with the divine call upon your life. Jesus states that many are called, but only few fulfill their calling. The sobering fact of His remark is the majority will not fulfill their destiny. This has nothing to do with God, but rather our choices. Could it be that we’ve forgotten we’ll all stand before the Great Judge? Then there will be various degrees of rewards ranging from those whose accomplishments go up into smoke to those who are awarded the privilege of reigning beside Christ. Your choices now determine how you’ll spend eternity.” (Fit for Destiny)

​This illustrates the kingdom of Heaven, in terms of 
the Jews, Gentiles and a robe of righteousness. Jesus 
used a parable of The Great Feast where many guests 
were invited, but the nobles who were first called [the 
Jews] made excuses and were unwilling to come, and 
therefore the king ordered his servants to call as many 
as they could find [the Gentiles]. But one person 
showed up who was not dressed properly [without 
Christ’s robe of righteousness], and was cast out: 
‘But when the king came in to look over the dinner 
guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in 
wedding clothes, and he said to him, “Friend, how did 
you come in here without wedding clothes?” And the 
man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, 
“Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer 
darkness; in that place there will be weeping and 
gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are 

Here you have a person who was called, but when he showed up, he was rejected for having done something improper. What did he do? The symbolism appears to be like that of Heaven, where sinners will not be permitted to pollute Heaven but will instead be cast into Hell. The only way that any sinner can enter Heaven, and celebrate the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, is by first being cleansed of his sin, through Christ’s blood, and being dressed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness.

God has called many to salvation, and many have showed up, but not all who have showed up, have showed up with a testimony of complete reliance upon Christ, and indeed, in the case of the Jews, many had showed up with a testimony of self-righteousness. Take, for instance, Luke 18:9-14, which states: Then Jesus told this story to some who had great self-confidence and scorned everyone else: ‘Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a dishonest tax collector. The proud Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: “I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially like that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t sin, I don’t commit adultery, I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.” But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For the proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored.’” [NLT

Two people answered the call, a proud Pharisee and a humble Tax Collector. The revered Pharisee was rejected and the despised Tax Collector was accepted. The one who was chosen to receive forgiveness was the one who confessed his sins and plead for the mercy of God. Hence, many are called, but few are chosen.

​Question: What does it mean that “many are called”?

Answer: By contrasting many against few, it follows that more are called than chosen.

​Question: What does it mean that “few are chosen”?

Answer: The answer is found in the parallel expression: “The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.” (Luke 14:8) Having shown up unworthy, they failed to meet God’s condition for being chosen. It follows that the condition for being successfully chosen is being found worthy, but how could any invited guest ever be said to be worthy of being chosen? The way that the illustration works, is that only Christ can make a person worthy. Unworthy implies without Christ; worthy implies with Christ.

​Question: If “many” are “called,” what are they called to?

Answer: I might add, especially if they do not have a Savior, that is, if they do not have an atonement provision made available to them. In other words, what’s the point of calling them to Christ, if they have no Messiah to come to? That presupposes an Unlimited Atonement, but the calling may be akin to what the apostle Paul had preached to Athens: “The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31)

Calvinist, William MacDonald: “Many are called, that is, the gospel invitation goes out to many. But few are chosen. Some refuse the invitation, and even of those who respond favorably, some are exposed as false professors. All who respond to the good news are chosen. The only way a person can tell whether he is chosen is by what he does with the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Believer’s Bible Commentary, p.1286, emphasis mine) 

Being joined to Christ, means being joined with the One who is chosen. Apart from Christ, one is not deemed chosen, and in fact, is cast out.

Steven Hitchcock: “The reason why they are chosen is not qualified in this verse. Jesus has in mind the presumption of His fellow Jews who all thought that they were the chosen because they were Jews.” (Recanting Calvinism, p.258)

​Calvinism:  “For many are called, but few are pre-selected.”

Calvinists suppose that there are people running around who are secretly chosen for salvation, and dont even know it until God pops Irresistible Grace upon them, and lo and behold, now they believe, and they believe solely because, before the foundation of the world, they were secretly chosen into an alleged, eternal flock of the Father. Hence, to a Calvinist, the only way that a person can tell whether he is “one of the elect” is whether he comes to a saving faith in Christ. Accordingly, this is why Calvinists preach to everyone, because they have no idea who these few “elect” are. However, Jesus never said that He came to seek and to save a few “elect,” but rather, that which is “lost.” (Luke 19:10) Besides, the elect in Christ are exclusively Christians, that is, those in Christ are those who believe and are now no longer under condemnation, being redeemed (Romans 8:1, 33), in contrast to all unbelievers who remain condemned in Adam. (John 3:18) Thats why you cannot have “elect unbelievers.” For more on that point, see Romans 8:33.

​Calvinism:  As per John 3:16, “For God so loved [the few],” and called many, that the few will not perish, but have eternal life.”

​Arminianism: As per John 3:16, “For God so loved [the many], that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever among the many that believe in Him, will be among the few that are chosen for eternal life.