The Three Cs of the Christian Faith

Everyone is Commanded.
Many are Called.
Few are Chosen.

Questions: “Commanded”, “Called” and “Chosen” …for what?

To what?

In other words,
Everyone is commanded to _________.
Many are called to _________.
Few are chosen to _________.

If the same word fits in all 3 blanks, does that match what the Bible teaches?

Why ‘Everyone’, then ‘Many’, but only ‘Few’ make the grade?

If we end up with ‘Few’, why start off with ‘Everyone’?

These phrases talk about salvation, and they come from two different passages. The first is found in Acts 17, where Paul says that God calls all men everywhere to repent. So far, so good.

The last two phrases come from Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast (Matt 22:1-14). In this parable, a king sends out an invitation for a wedding feast, but the recipients ignore the messenger, and some kill the messenger. So the king rises in anger, sends his troops to destroy the cities of those invited, and then re-issues the invitation to every Thomas, Didimus and Hycranus – good or bad – so that his banquet hall is full at last, and the party can proceed.

But then in walks a guy who has no wedding garment (you have to have one in order to attend). The king says “Friend…”, we can only assume He’s being sarcastic here, “how did you get in here without a wedding garment?”

The guy is speechless.

The king’s 2nd statement is not even addressed to the guy, but rather, to His servants. We assume the guy doesn’t deserve a reply: “Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and cast him into the outer darkness.’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen. (Matt 22:13-14, ESV)

We’re all familiar with the imagery: the King is God, the original invitation is extended to the Jews (who were rebellious/indifferent), the messengers are the prophets, the TDH are the gentiles, and the wedding feast is at the end of the age.


Q: Who’s the guy who doesn’t make the cut?
A: An unbeliever, I guess.
Scratch that. He’s definitely an unbeliever!

Q: But he bothered to show up. That means he believed something, does it not?
A: Ummmmm….. Then I guess he’s a faker. There are lots of fakers and people who are only in it for themselves and not for the King.

Q: Why not entice/implore him to become a genuine believer?
A: Errrrr.. because it’s too late?

Q: Should ‘lateness’ matter to a God who’s not willing that any should perish?
A:  Ya gotta draw the line somewhere! So, yes – apparently lateness does matter to an all-powerful God and He wrote the rules in such a way that if you’re too late, you’re TOO LATE! (classic example: Noah’s ark)

Q: What do you think of the King’s lack of compassion for the guy?
A: Yeah, interesting. But it’s strangely consistent throughout the Bible. (Jn 6, Jn 8, Jn 10, Rev 3:8-10, Is 63:1-6; Is 66:22-24; Mal 4:1-10, etc, etc)

Q: Aren’t “all men, everywhere” commanded to repent?
A: Absolutely! Acts 17:30; Matt 4:17

Q: So they’re commanded to repent, but if they decide to repent in the wrong way or at the wrong time (insincere; the guy; Esau; etc), then it’s tough cookies, wailing and gnashing and the whole 9 yards?
A: Apparently so.

Q: Ummm… This might address all of the words before the word ‘for’, but what does all of this have to do with everything that comes after the word ‘for’? The guy was cast out because “many are called, but few are chosen.”
A: On second thought – those answers have essentially nothing to do with Jesus’ words. So I’m back to squre 1. If we’re commanded to repent, why are many called, but few are chosen? Why is this guy being thrown out when he did, in fact, show up? And what does the ‘chosen’ have to do with his being thrown out?

Q: Are you reading too much into this? It’s only a parable!
A: Yes, it’s a parable – but the word ‘for’ and the explanation following it *must* mean something, otherwise Jesus is just babbling with no intention. Since it must mean something, we have to make it mean what He intended it to mean, or we’re effectively rejecting His teaching.

Based on this (and other passages), I think the word that fits all 3, btw, is the word ‘repent’.

In other words,
– Everyone is commanded to repent (Acts 17)
– Many (but not everyone) are called to repent (ie, “savages in the deepest darkest jungles” never hear the call)
– Few are chosen for repentance (Eph 1; Acts 13:48)

If that’s the case, that kinda turns the whole parable all the way around, putting the emphasis on the 2nd half of the ‘for’ part. In fact, I daresay that I’ve  never heard this parable taught in a way that was aimed at making sense of the last phrase there. Which is sad because Jesus’ use of the word ‘for’ is designed to do just that: put focus on the fact that the reason things happened was because “many are called and few are chosen”. Interesting.

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1 comment to The Three Cs of the Christian Faith

  • Few are chosen for repentance. Yep, I concur. The bible consistently (exclusively, I think) teaches that repentance, when given, is done by God but not in response to someone’s request. It’s given selectively without merit by God.

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