Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
February 22, 1968
NUMBER 41, PAGE 11b-12a

Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

Leslie Diestelkamp

Jesus had given a parable concerning an improper wedding garment. Somebody evidently tried to crash the party! He did not meet the requirements for a suitable guest, and Jesus said, "Many are called but few are chosen" (Mt. 22:14). He was surely teaching his disciples that the forthcoming universal call of "Whosoever will" would be rejected by most people. Furthermore he was showing that the rejection would actually be by many who partially accept. They would respond just as the man did who came without the wedding garment. Just as he did not decline the wedding party but only refused the proper attire, so many would not deliberately decline salvation but they would reject God's arrangements (commandments).

An angel told John that those who are with the Lamb are "called and chosen and faithful" (Rev. 17:14). Paul said that "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth whereunto he called you by our gospel" (II Thess.2:13,14). From these passages we see that God is choosing certain ones for salvation. We also see the simple process by which he chooses, as follows:

1. They are called by the gospel — by hearing the Word (Jas. 1:18; Acts 11:14; Rom. 1:16,17).

2. They believe the truth (John 8:32; John 17:17 Acts 8:12).

3. They are sanctified by the Spirit — born anew through the begetting power of the Word which is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17; I Peter 1:22, 23).

4. They are then — and not a moment before this action — "chosen" for salvation (Rom. 6:17, 18).

Why So Few?

What reason can be given that so few are "chosen"? And how do these reasons affect us today?

1. A vast majority will never hear the Word. This may be because Christians fail to teach (Rom. 10:13-17). Or it may be because the people stubbornly refuse to be taught even when we do teach (Acts 17:32).

2. Of those who do hear, many will not believe (John 8:24). They will say, "The preacher is a fool." Some will say, "I am not convinced."

3. Of those who do hear and believe, many will not obey (Matt. 7:21; I Peter 3:17). Some will rebel. Others will have good intentions but they delay too long.

4. Of those who do obey, many will not endure — (Matt. 10:22). They will wither and fail (Matt. 13:6).

So the chosen ones are those who hear, believe, and endure to the end. (II Thess. 2:13,14; Matt. 22:14).


1. Are you one who will be chosen of God?

2. What about those who cannot be chosen because we have not preached the gospel to them?

3. What about those who do not believe because they are disillusioned by our hypocrisy?

4. What about those who do not obey because of our compromising presentation of truth?

5. What about those who do not endure because of our own poor example?

— P.O. Box 498, Yaba, Nigeria