“Many Are Called”
The statement that heads this page refers to the general call that goes forth to all who hear the gospel. There is an inward, personal, particular, divine call, which is issued by God the Holy Spirit to God’s elect and to them alone (John 10:3). This call of the Holy Spirit is always effectual and irresistible. By that saving call, the Holy Spirit effectually draws chosen, redeemed sinners to Christ by almighty grace (Ps. 65:4). This call always produces faith in Christ. It always results in salvation. This inward, irresistible call is given only to God’s elect, those who were chosen, predestinated, and redeemed (Rom. -29; I Cor. -24; II Tim. 1:9). The examples and illustrations of this call are numerous: The Deserted Infant (Ezek. 16:6-8), The Dry Bones (Ezek. 37:1-14), The Disciples (Matt. -22), - Zachaeus (Luke 19:5-6), Lazarus (John -44), The Thessalonian saints (I Thess. 1:4-5). Were it not for this effectual call of the Holy Spirit, no one would ever be saved (John -45). But this is not the call referred to in this text. The call which our Lord speaks of here is the earnest proclamation of the gospel by his servants.
Every time a true
servant of God preaches the gospel of God’s electing love, redeeming mercy, and
saving grace, sinners are called to faith in Christ (II Cor. 5:20). This
general call is universal in its scope. It is a sincere call (
The question is often asked, “If only God’s elect are going to be saved, why do we preach the gospel to all men?” Without entering into the controversies of men, let me give you four reasons why we preach the gospel to all men.
1. Our Lord commands us to do so (Matt. ; 28:19; Mark ; Acts 1:8)
2. The preaching of the gospel is God’s ordained means of salvation for his elect (I Cor. -25).
3. We have no way of knowing who the elect are until they believe the gospel (I Thess. 1:4-5).
4. When we have faithfully preached the gospel to all men, we are free of their blood (I Cor. ; Ezek. 33:7-9).
Sinners respond to the preaching of the gospel in many ways. Some flatly reject the gospel call (v. 3). Others lightly esteem it (v. 5; Lam. ). A few are enraged by it (v. 6). Multitudes pretend to obey it, taking up a profession of religion (vv. 10-11). And some, those to whom the gospel comes in divine power, believe on the lord Jesus Christ. Why? Why do some believe, while others believe not? It is because “few are chosen.”