Why So Many Are Called But Few Are Chosen

by Jack Wellman · Print Print · Email Email

Jesus said many are called, but few are chosen, so why are so few saved while many more are not?

The Broad Path

Jesus said many are called, but few are chosen, so why are so few saved while many more are not? If there is a broad path anywhere, it is not to heaven, but rather to destruction. It’s easier to follow a path that is broad and wide and much more difficult to enter into a narrow path which is why Jesus warned that we must “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” (Matt 7:13). Imagine there is only one fire escape. We wouldn’t care if it’s a narrow staircase because we’d be happy there is a way of escape, so if the way to destruction is broad and the way to eternal life is a narrow, single-file path, it appears that most people will not be saved. For them, the cost is too high. If most people in the world were going to be saved then we would need a broad path to heaven and not a narrow one, but the truth is, it’s a narrow, difficult path to enter into the Kingdom and heartbreakingly, that’s why most will not be taking it.

“If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our dead bodies. And if they perish, let them perish with our arms wrapped about their knees, imploring them to stay. If hell must be filled, let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go unwarned and unprayed for.” Charles Spurgeon

The Narrow Gate

Jesus said that “the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matt 7:14). Why is the gate so narrow that leads to eternal life? It’s because not many are taking it, therefore a wide path is not needed. If you go into a large grocery store, you’ll likely see double doors for customers to come in and go out of, but if you look for a fire escape, there’s usually only a single door and only one person can pass through the door at a time. That’s why “those who find it are few.”  There are two things that stand out in Jesus’ statement; the way is hard that leads to eternal life. Why? It’s because we have to die to ourselves and live for Christ (Gal 2:20). It’s a life of self-denial (Luke 9:23) and most people will not deny their own pleasures in life and thus, they will take the broad path that leads to destruction.

Few Who Find It

It appears on the surface that few are going to be saved because the gate that leads to eternal life is hard and difficult and a path most people are not willing to take. That’s why it’s narrow or single-file; not many are taking it which is why “those who find it are few.” There are fewer entering the Kingdom than we might think, which is why believers must stand in the gap between heaven and hell and share the gospel, snatching them from the fire (Jude 1:23). We are on a rescue mission as God uses us as a means to save some.  Tragically, only 1% of Christians will share the gospel with someone in their entire lifetime!

Many Called, Few Chosen

Why do so many fall away? The Apostle John wrote that some who will not find the narrow gate will leave the church over trials, troubles or persecution. Why? It’s because they were not really part of the church to begin with (1 John 2:19).  The Parable of the Sower reveals all four heard the Word, but only 1 in 4 responded (Matt 13). That’s only 25%!  That’s relatively few among many.  That means 3 out of 4 rejected the Word of God and thus, eternal life.  Like in the call to the wedding feast, most rejected that call, and as such, Jesus’ words ring clear that “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt 22:14). Many think they’re good enough to go to heaven, not realizing that none of us are good (Rom 3:10-12, 23). Many respond to the call but many of these same will be turned away by Jesus Christ, telling them that He doesn’t even know them and to depart into everlasting judgment (Matt 7:21-23).

Examine Yourself

So how can you be sure that you are saved and among the remnant? The Apostle Paul says that “at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace” (Rom 11:5), so even in Pauls’ day, there was only a remnant of the Jews who believed. I am less concerned about gifts of the Spirit than I am fruits of the Spirit because Jesus said we would know them by their fruits and not by their gifts (Matt 7:16), so it doesn’t hurt to do a self-diagnostic spiritually speaking. We are actually commanded to examine ourselves to see if we really are in the faith (2 Cor 13:5). What fruits do others see in us? What fruits are we producing that we can see? Have we repented of sins, especially that of sexual immorality? Jesus never said you would know them by their gifts they had but rather by their fruits, for where the fruit is, there the root is. We know where the source of the fruits of the Spirit is and it’s not in us. We cannot do any fruit producing without Christ (John 15:5), but there should be fruits evident (Matt 25:35-36; James 2:18). If not, there’s a serious problem and you might be among the many headed down the wrong path (Matt 25:41-46).Do Christians Go To Heaven At The Moment of Death

A Remnant of Israel

God has not forgotten His chosen one Israel, for Micah 2:12a says, “I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob; I will gather the remnant of Israel.” Isaiah wrote of a day for “the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob” (Isaiah 10:20). Even “though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return” (Isaiah 10:22), so even among the Israelites, there will only be a remnant (small amount) saved.


If you have not been brought to repentance and faith in Christ, then you are not among the few who will be saved. You are headed the wrong way…down the broad path of destruction and it’s a one-way road. It’s wide and easy to take, but there is no escape, so I plead with you to make today the day of your salvation (2 Cor 6:2). Do this today…even right now, while it is still called today because no one has “tomorrow” guaranteed.

Here is some related reading for you: Lord, Are There Few That Be Saved?

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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