What is the difference between being called and being chosen?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). This phrase appears in the parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22:1-14 and Matthew 20:16. The phrase “many are called” means salvation is offered freely to all (1 Timothy 2:4; Revelation 22:17; John 7:37; Matthew 11:28; John 3:16). But, not all, accept the gospel invitation. Salvation is not forced upon people against their wills. People have the right to reject God’s calling to them.


The Scriptures doesn’t teach that God has predestined certain men to be saved and certain others to be lost, regardless of their own freedom of choice in this matter. Some use the words of Paul as a basis for their belief in predestination: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

According to the Bible, God foresaw, and thus foreknew, each generation of men that would come upon the stage of this world’s action, He coupled immediately with His foreknowledge the decision to predestine them all to be saved. For God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). He declared, “As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11). “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).

Divine foreknowledge and divine predestination in no way exclude human liberty. No Bible writer, suggests that God does predestine certain men to be saved and certain others to be lost, regardless of their own choice in the matter. Having foreknowledge of what choices people would make is far different from predetermining it. God does predestine each person that has ever been born, to go to Heaven. But, He also gives men the FREE WILL to choose to be saved or lost. God, being all-knowing, knows what we will choose. He does not get in the way of our decisions and predestines our lives.

In the parable of the wedding feast, Jesus said although many were called to come to the feast, few were actually willing to accept the king’s gracious invitation and enter into the festive chamber. Similarly, in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus clearly stated that, comparatively speaking, only a “few” find the way to salvation, whereas “many” enter into the “broad” way “that leadeth to destruction” (Matthew 7:13, 14 and Luke 13:23, 24 ).

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In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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