Does God call everyone?



Question: “Does God call all to salvation or only those He knows will accept the call?”



Bible Answers

Lets review two verses that at first appear to provide opposing views. Matthew indicates that God calls most or all people, even thou only a few will receive. For many are invited, but few are chosen (Matthew 22:14). In the general sense, Jesus is saying that all are called to come to Him, but few will chose to repent and do so. On the other hand, Romans indicates that God only calls whose who He foreknows ahead of time will accept Him, For those God foreknew he also predestined … And those he predestined, he also called (Romans 8:29-30).


Some will use Romans 8:29-30 in an attempt to prove that salvation is predestined.  That they have no choice, salvation is in God’s hands. He either will or will not call them. But we see in John 15:16 that Jesus told His twelve disciples, You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last. “Choose” is not a commandment but more of a selection. Judas, one of the chosen, later made the choice not to follow Jesus, but to betray Him.


We know these verses cannot be in conflict as God tells us The Lord’s Word is flawless (Palms 18:30). As such, we must be looking with a degree of confusion.  Lets review a few additional verses about God calling all, then review the idea that God only calls the elect.


He wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4).


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28).


John 3:16 tells us,  For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. That whoever believes God’s call will have eternal life.


He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).


In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30). Note that God is speaking to all people.


Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink” (John 7:37). Again, Jesus spoke to all “anyone”.


Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32).  It is God’s desire to draws all men to Himself.


Why does God need to call us?  There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God (Romans 3:11). Because without God’s calling, no one understands or would seek after God.


Clearly God’s desires is that all would come to Him and He makes a great effort to call all to Himself. But Matthew 22:14 gives us the outcome, but few are chosen. Why? Because God has given us free will to choose to follow God or the world and the vast majority choose to follow the world. The chosen are the ones who have or will accept Jesus as Lord.


All those the Father gives me will come to me, and …  I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. (John 6:37, 39). Many of those who believed and followed Jesus later turned away but verse 39 says that He will not lose any the Father gives Him. How is this? While God calls all, He also knew who would come and never turn away. These are the ones the Father gave. While all are called, and many choose, God only “gave” Jesus the ones He knew would not turn away and as such, Jesus could correctly say “I shall lose none of all those He has given me”.


The word “chosen” can also indicate a specific or particular purpose, such as God choosing to called Moses, Pharaoh, and Paul to complete a tack in the same manner Jesus told the disciples in John 15:16 to go forth and bear fruit.


Conclusion

We can see that God wants all to come to Him and that God calls all for the simple reason that no one would repent and become a Christian without the Holy Spirit providing the will and desire to turn to Christ. It is explicit that most will not chose to follow Jesus, but God knows from before time who will choose to follow. The answer to the question is, all are called, those who choose to follow are chosen, and those God foreknew would never turning back as predestined (Romans 8:29).



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