1 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 And he sent out his slaves to call those . . .
. . . who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”’ 5 But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.7 But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 8 Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ 10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.
11 “But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.”
I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
1 Corinthians 1:9
God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.
Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, 3 being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.
1 Thessalonians 2:11–12
. . . we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, 12 so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory.
1 Thessalonians 4:3–7
3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.
2 Thessalonians 1:11–12
To this end also we pray for you always, that our God will count you worthy of your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of faith with power, 12 so that the name of our Lord Jesus will be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Thessalonians 2:13–14
. . . God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 1:9–10
. . . [God] has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel . . .
1 Peter 1:14–16
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
1 Peter 2:9–10
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
2 Peter 1:10–11
Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble; 11 for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.
1 John 3:1
See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are.
Who does the calling?
Just like in the Creation Calling, God is the one who does the calling. The Christian Calling comes from outside of ourselves, not from within. It comes from our Maker.
Who gets called?
If we look at Jesus' parable of the wedding feast in Matthew 22, those who are called are those who are "invited" to the wedding feast. In other words, anyone who receives an invitation to that feast is called into the kingdom of God. Jesus gives us the text of that wedding invitation in Matthew 3:2: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
What are those who are called being called from/out of?
The invitation is a call to repent, which means it's a call out of sin. Jesus teaches us that He came to call sinners, not the righteous. We are called out of ignorance, out of darkness, out of orphanhood, and out of enmity with God.
What are those who are called being called to?
Sinners in darkness are called into the light. They are called out of sin into righteousness. We are called into the knowledge of God, and into fellowship with our Maker. We are called into the kingdom of the beloved Son, Jesus Christ. We are called into sonship and a glorious inheritance. We are called into His family, the church, the household of faith.
What is expected of those who are called?
Those who are called are expected to live a certain way. God calls us sons by His own free grace, but then He commands that we act like sons. This is what the Holy Spirit is teaching us when He implores us to "walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." First Thessalonians teaches us that we are to be pure and holy, abstaining from sexual immorality. We are to be holy because the One who called us is holy. Once called by God to enter into His kingdom, our life's calling is to live a life of holy obedience to the will of our Father. This calling is exhibited in how we act and in how we speak. Our calling can be summed up as "proclaiming the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light" (1 Peter 2:9).
Walking in holiness is not optional for the Christian. In fact, Jesus says that if we show up at the wedding feast without the proper clothing, then we'll be thrown out. If we don't exhibit the fruit of repentance, we will be considered illegitimate sons and we will be unwelcome.
What are the benefits of being called?
Hope. An inheritance. Fellowship with God. Fellowship with Jesus Christ. Power from God. A new family in God's people. Entrance into God's kingdom. Sonship. Rescue. Plus, we get to be welcome guests at the biggest wedding feast ever.
How certain are you about God’s calling and choosing you?
The goal is not for you to be able to give a sophisticated discourse on the biblical doctrine of calling. The goal for you is to "be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you" (2 Peter 1:10).
Is your hope fixed on the eternal kingdom of God? Or is it fixed on earthly things? Are you being conformed to the image of Jesus Christ? Are you increasing in "diligence," "moral excellence," "knowledge," "self-control," "perseverance," "godliness," "brotherly kindness," and "love"? (2 Peter 1:5–8). Do you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ? (Romans 5:1).