For many are called, but few are chosen.
Steven Hitchcock explains: “…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.
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 comments: “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)
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.
Calvinist, William MacDonald, comments: “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 comments: “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)
Calvinists suppose that there are people running around who are secretly chosen for salvation, and don’t 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) That’s why you cannot have “elect unbelievers.” For more on that point, see Romans 8:33.