Lord, Are There Few That Be Saved?

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Jesus said, many are called, but few are chosen, so are there only a few that will be saved?

The Invitation

In the Parable of the Wedding Feast, which is symbolic of the banquet believers will dine at in the kingdom (Rev 19:6-9), Jesus said that God “sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come” (Matt 22:3). This is a picture of God’s witnesses sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. Some do respond and God grants them repentance (Acts 5:31, 11:18; 2 Tim 2:24-26), but most do not respond to the evangelistic efforts of believers. And God often uses more than one person to share Christ, but each time they reject the message, their hearts are a bit more hardened (Heb 3:15). Repeated rejections of Christ will eventually leave a person totally unreceptive to the gospel. Still, God desires that none should perish (2 Pet 3:9), so He sends out yet more invitations to “Come to the wedding feast” (Matt 22:4b), “But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business” (Matt 22:5). Like Lot’s wife, she left Sodom, but Sodom never left her. She really wanted to return, which is why she looked back. Many do the same thing. They hear the gospel, but reject it because they are too preoccupied with the world. Even worse, they “seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them” (Matt 22:6). We even see this in the New Testament Church, but they have been killing the prophets since the beginning, and they had been killing the prophets up to Jesus’ day. John the Baptist was a prophet, and later, the greatest Prophet of all: the Son of God (Deut 18:15-18).

The marriage made in heaven will culminate in the great wedding feast of the Lamb of God to the church.

Few are Chosen

Jesus’ conclusion to the Parable of the Wedding Feat is, “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14). The wedding invitations numbered very many. More people were invited to the Feast than accepted the invitation, therefore, many are called to the wedding, but very few are chosen because very few chose to follow Christ. They refuse because they know they must give up sin in their lives. We are all left with a choice, and Jesus shows us what the consequences are of the choice we make. In John 3:36, the Lord says, “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” There is no 3rd option. It is eternal life in Christ and God’s wrath removed, or it is reject Christ and have the wrath of God abiding on you for all time. Today, many say they’re believers, but its sobering to know that “many” will be turned away, as we shall see.

“Lord, Lord”

The crowd, mostly Jews, had associated their entrance into heaven with obedience to God’s Law, but we know that we can’t saved by law-keeping (Gal 3). Besides, not one of us could ever keep it perfectly anyway, so in that context, Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). It’s not enough to say, “I know the Lord,” but He does not know you! Jesus does say that those who do the Father’s will are known by Him (Matt 12:50; John 6:40), but when Jesus speaks about the Day of Judgment, He says, “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name” (Matt 7:22)? Notice Jesus says not a few, but many will say to Him, “Lord, Lord,” but Jesus stuns them by saying, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). They appeared to do things for Christ, but it turns out they did their works to be seen of men, so on that day, the “many” will think they are saved, but many wont’ be. That’s rather shocking I know. That’s why the crowd anxiously asked, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” (Luke 13:23). Jesus could have reassured the crowd here by saying, “No, many will be saved by just believing in Me…don’t worry about it,” but that’s not what He says. He tells them it’s hard and they must “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:23). Many will say “Lord, Lord,” but many (not a few!) will not be able to enter the kingdom, so it appears that everyone who claims Jesus as Lord, are not saved at all.  Nobody coasts into the kingdom.

The Narrow Gate

Bible Verses About Hell

“…the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many” (Matt 7:13).

Jesus shows that the way to eternal life is not coasting downhill, but rather a battle; a spiritual battle against the flesh and the world and spiritual forces. For example, there are hundreds of sinister ministers that are teaching an easy believism gospel, but Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt 7:13-14). By the way, Jesus is the Gate (John 10:9), and He is the one and only way to the Father (John 6:44; Acts 4:12), so the way is exceedingly narrow. It’s so narrow that you can’t go in two at a time, or ride on the coattails of your godly Christian mother. The narrow path is so narrow that it can only be single file…but the broad path is wide, like a one-way 8-lane expressway. It’s so wide because so many are heading down that path. I don’t know of any believers who say that life’s gotten easier after they trusted in Christ. Some tell me it’s about the same, but for most, it’s gotten a lot harder. For them, and most, it’s striving to enter into the kingdom, and striving on a daily basis.  Any old dead fish can float downstream; it takes a live fish to swim upstream, against the current of the world.


After “Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching” (Matt 7:28), because they must have believed that at least the Jewish religious leaders would be saved. The idea that you only have to believe in Jesus and you will be saved is biblical (Rom 10:9), but we must “Strive to enter through the narrow door” (Luke 13:24a). The word “strive” in the Greek means to “agonize,” so it is “through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22b). Jesus says, “many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able” (Luke 13:24b). That’s because “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14). Many will say, “Lord, Lord,” but these same “many” will be turned away…having been deceived and deceiving themselves. Today, make your election and calling sure (2 Pet 1:10). You don’t want to get this wrong!

Here is some related reading for you: Church Discipline – How to Glorify God at Work – 7 Helpful Tips

Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), Crossway Bibles. (2007). ESV: Study Bible: English standard version. Wheaton, Ill: Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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