Ever read through a Scripture passage, wonder what it meant, but never take the time to check it out? I’m guilty of that from time to time. Thankfully, I do eventually get around to doing the biblical research. In this lesson there are two particular Scriptures that have arrested my attention. They refer to being called and chosen. One verse takes it the extra step and includes being faithful.
Here are the two verses:
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful” (Revelation 17:14).
“For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14).
Those that are with Jesus Christ, in the Book of Revelation, are identified as:
This is the first—and only—time that these three words appear together. In a nutshell, these three simple words highlight the three phases of our spiritual journey. They are three stages of Christian maturity.
In general, the entire world is called. It is the call, extended to all of us, to leave the kingdom of darkness and turn to the kingdom of light; to be born again; to initiate a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the call to obey the plan of salvation.
“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:38-39).
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
When we obey the plan of salvation we become part of the body of Christ; the church of the living God. The church is the ekklesia; the called-out ones. Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words tells us it was used among the Greeks to identify a body of citizens that have gathered to discuss affairs. We get together to talk about the business of the king.
When Christ walked on the earth, He personally called His disciples (Mark 1:17, 20). Today, He calls lost souls through preaching: “Whereunto he called you by our gospel” (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
“How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Romans 10:14).
Jesus used the expression, “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). These words are used in the context of a wedding banquet. The story explains the process by which the called are actually chosen. Everyone was invited to the wedding. The invitation went out two times to two separate types of people. Although those in the original group refused to come and made worthless excuses, many in the second group did come. One that came did not have on the customary wedding garment. He was thrown out. Those called are expected to be clothed in righteous acts; possessing a changed way of thinking that led them to a changed way of living
Some refuse the invitation and, as a consequence, are not chosen. They are too busy pursuing the pleasures of this world. They are choked by the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches (Matthew 13:22). Others outright reject Christianity.
God provides a royal feast for the perishing, hungry souls. He issues the invitation. He calls all to be saved:
“Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40).
“For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13).
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (John 6:44).
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:17, ESV).
God called through the Old Testament prophets. Few responded. God continued to call through John the Baptist. Still only a handful responded. Jesus called, saying “The kingdom is at hand.” People still ignored Him. No wonder Stephen said, “You do always resist the Holy Ghost” (Acts 7:51). The call went forth to the Jews. They resisted. The call persisted to the Samaritans in Acts 8; and to the Gentiles beginning in Acts 10.