Jesus said, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14 Matthew 22:14For many are called, but few are chosen.
American King James Version×). What is the difference between being called and being chosen? The Greek word kletos , translated “called,” can also be translated “invited.” A calling by God is His offer, His invitation, to repent and enter into a relationship with Him.
In Romans 8:28-30 Romans 8:28-30 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 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 brothers.
30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
American King James Version×we read: “We know that in everything God works for the good of those who love him. They are the people he called [ kletos , invited], because that was his plan . . . And he decided that they would be like his Son so that Jesus would be the firstborn of many brothers. God planned for them to be like his Son; and those he planned to be like his Son, he also called; and those he called, he also made right with him; and those he made right, he also glorified” (Romans 8:28-30 Romans 8:28-30 28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 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 brothers. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
American King James Version×, New Century Version).
Yes, God must first call, or invite, us to enter into a relationship with Him. He does this by opening our minds to a basic understanding of the Scriptures and our need to repent.
Why must God invite us to have a relationship with Him? Christ answers that question in John 6:44 John 6:44No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
American King James Version×: “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him ; and I will raise him up at the last day.” If God did not place some understanding of His Word into our minds and provide us an incentive to repent, we would never recognize how much we need to change.
But recognizing a need for change is only recognizing God’s calling. Only those who respond and repent are chosen for a special relationship with Him in the spiritual Body that is His Church. Paul addresses those who have accepted God’s invitation as “the church of God . . . , those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called [invited] to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:2 1 Corinthians 1:2To the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both their’s and our’s:
American King James Version×). Those who repent and are baptized (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×) are then chosen “for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13 2 Thessalonians 2:13But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brothers beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
American King James Version×).
God invites many more into this special relationship than respond. However, the Bible reveals that most people who are called do not respond to their invitation for several reasons. That is why many more are called than are chosen for salvation today.
In the parable of the sower and the seed (Matthew 13:18-23 Matthew 13:18-23 18 Hear you therefore the parable of the sower.
19 When any one hears the word of the kingdom, and understands it not, then comes the wicked one, and catches away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.
20 But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that hears the word, and immediately with joy receives it;
21 Yet has he not root in himself, but endures for a while: for when tribulation or persecution rises because of the word, by and by he is offended.
22 He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hears the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful.
23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundred times, some sixty, some thirty.
American King James Version×) Christ explained that the sower (God) casts the seeds of invitation to many people. However, for various reasons, including deception by the “wicked one” (the devil), lack of spiritual roots, pressure from friends and relatives and the distraction of the physical cares of this life, most do not accept God’s invitation to have a close, personal relationship with Him. Only a few do and eventually bear fruit.
We must keep in mind that God sets terms on our relationship with Him. Millions of people claim to have a relationship with God, but in reality they have ignored the terms He set for us to enter into a relationship with Him. They want to have a relationship with God, but one based on their terms, not His. Thus we must clearly understand the terms of the relationship God wants to have with us.
Let’s examine that relationship. We will also review some historical relationships and see the lessons we may learn from them. Then we will consider what God expects from us and offers us through a relationship with Him.