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Summary: A look at Election and the place of Free Will based on Jesus' words "Many are called but few are chosen" in Matthew 22

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Matthew 22: 1 – 14 (emphasise v. 14)

Jesus said ‘Many are called but few are chosen’.

This raises three questions,

1. on what basis are people ‘chosen’,

2 why are only a ‘FEW chosen’?

and 3 who does the choosing? God alone, or o we have any free will in the matter?

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In the Commentary to this verse,

in the Study Bible that Professor Glen Zweck

was good enough to give me as a present

when I completed my course at Westfield House Lutheran Seminary in Cambridge,

it says:

‘God’s call, His invitation, goes out to all, every human being good or bad,

but His offer of grace is only taken up by “the few”

whose positive response to God’s invitation

marks them as God’s chosen, God’s elect’.

On the other hand, as I understand the Five Points of Calvinism,

God, because of His sovereign will,

predestined some for salvation and eternal life

and the rest of mankind were predestined for judgement and eternal damnation,

before the beginning of time as we know it,

and because His will is irresistible,

the Elect could not refuse His invitation.

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Without going into the pro's and con's of predestination

and the place in all this for mankind's Free Will,

unless Free Will is just an illusion

because our every move is predestined or foreordained,

I am sure that we all are bemused and worried

by the fact

that the majority of people we know and come in contact with every day

refuse to acknowledge God,

have no time for the Bible or Church,

yet still, for the most part, expect to 'go to heaven' if there is one, when they die!

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The section of Matthew’s Gospel that we read today: chapter 22 verses 1-14

contains a Parable about the Kingdom of Heaven,

and the teaching in it is clear:

The king is God;

The king’s servants are angels;

the wedding banquet is heaven;

the guests are mankind;

and the outer darkness is hell.

Those who were admitted to the king’s wedding banquet

were those who accepted the king’s invitation,

the Elect or Saved;

and those who were thrown into the darkness

where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth

were those who did not accept the king’s invitation,

the Lost or Damned.

Sorry if this is not Politically Correct these days.

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I don’t want to argue against those who believe that grace is Irresistible

but to me,

the message of the Parable is that where a soul spends eternity

does not so much depend on God admitting some to heaven

and condemning others to hell,

but on whether a person accepts God’s invitation, or rejects it.

In other words, how they exercise their God-given free will.

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So who are ‘the chosen’, in the original Greek, the Kletos,

the ‘called’ or the ‘invited’?

They are those,

all who have accepted God’s invitation

and who will therefore benefit from all that God in His graciousness.

wishes us to have.

This is why in St Paul’s words in Philippians 4 verse 4,

Christians should ‘rejoice always’.

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We should rejoice every day,

and regard our rejoicing in this life as practice, a rehearsal,

for the time after we have departed this life,

when through God’s grace,

we will be rejoicing with all the other blood-bought saints

for eternity.

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So, who are ‘the chosen’?

1st all those who are physically alive now – all members of God’s Church;

not a united denomination unfortunately,

but all people, black and white, male and female, rich and poor,

who can sincerely say ‘I believe in Jesus Christ’.

We call this 'the invisible church',

the 'visible church' being buildings and people who attend them

but who do not really believe the Gospel.

2nd all those who have died who are now with the Lord

awaiting the resurrection.

We call this 'the church triumphant' because they are enjoying their reward,

whereas we who are still alive are members of the 'church militant',

involved in the fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

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‘The Chosen’ include all the people over the course of time

from the Creation of the world to the Day of Judgment,

who God has chosen, for reasons known only to Him,

and who has made them, us, members of the fellowship of all people

who have been or are being or will be gathered, set apart,

because they belong to Jesus Christ.

All true Christians are ‘the chosen’ and members of God’s “invisible church”

regardless of what branch or denomination of the ‘visible church’

they belong to.

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When we stand before the throne of God, our relationship to Christ, not our labels,

will be the only thing that matters.

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Our local church is important,

but each local Christian church is a part of a larger fellowship,

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