This is Jesus' closing statement in His parable of the labourers in the vineyard (CP V1-16 KJV). It means simply that while the call to salvation goes out to all of humanity, only those who respond affirmatively to the call and conform strictly to the conditions Jesus has laid down for salvation are chosen to inherit the future eternal kingdom (see comments on Mt 19:30). It does not matter how long one has been a Christian, it is how we conform to the conditions Christ has laid down for salvation that will determine our place in the future eternal kingdom and whether or not we will even inherit it (CP Mt 22:2-14). This is called the Parable of the Marriage Feast. It teaches that within Christendom there are many professing Christians who will not inherit the future eternal kingdom. They have answered God's call to salvation - like the man in the parable accepted the King's invitation to the marriage feast - but on their terms, not Christ's, like the man in the parable refused to put on the wedding garment. Wearing the wedding garment and being yielded to the King's authority in the parable typifies Christians being totally consecrated to the service of God and completely yielded to the authority of Jesus. Those are the conditions Christ has laid down for salvation and no one can enter into the future eternal kingdom on any other terms. That is what "many be called but few chosen" means. The chosen are not specially selected individuals whom God has predestined for salvation while He condemns the rest of mankind to hell, as some teach. God has not already determined for or against any man's salvation. Like Jesus teaches in this parable and scriptures teach everywhere else, all mankind is called to salvation, but sadly, not everyone chooses to be saved (CP Isa 55:1-2; Mt 13:3-8, 18-23).
There are two truths illustrated by the parable of the marriage feast: one is that as the king called all men to the marriage feast of his son, so God calls all mankind to partake of the kingdom benefits of His Son, Jesus. No one is excluded from responding to the call (CP Mt 11:28-30; Jn 7:37-38; Rev 22:17). Sadly though, and this is the second truth the parable of the marriage feast illustrates, not all who respond to God's call to salvation are totally consecrated to the service of God and completely yielded to the authority of Jesus (CP Mt 7:21-27; Lu 13:22-30). The chosen are those who conform strictly to the conditions of salvation laid down by Jesus. They constitute the glorious church, which is what God predestined before the foundation of the world, not the individual members of it (CP Eph 1:3-5, 9-10; 3:1-11; 2Ti 1:1, 8-10). See also comments on Lu 14:16-24.
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