WHAT DOES JOHN 15:16 TRULY MEAN?



WHAT DOES JOHN 15:16 TRULY MEAN?



Does John 15:16 teach Calvinism or Reformed Theology? Does John 15:16 teach us that God chooses us and therefore it is impossible for us to chose him? Let us read John 15:16 out of context first to see how Reformed Theology Christians interpret this verse.


John 15:16.


You have NOT chosen me, but I have CHOSEN YOU, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”


Calvinist Christians READ INTO this verse that God has chosen certain select individual people from before the foundation of the world to be saved. And as a consequence, God has chosen everyone else to be lost. Thus, Reformed Theology Christians conclude that this verse means that it is impossible for anyone, including the elect, to choose God.


But is this Calvinistic INTERPRETATION of this verse a sound Biblical interpretation?

Let us examine this verse closely. WHO is the one doing the choosing in this verse? Is it Almighty God the Father? Or is it his Son Jesus, the Christ, who is the one doing the choosing? Also, WHEN does this verse teach us that the choosing takes place? Is the one who is choosing in this verse being done in eternity past before the world began? Or did Jesus do the choosing during his earthly ministry? And then please notice WHO Jesus is choosing in this verse during his ministry.

You see my dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, this verse has nothing whatsoever to do with Almighty God choosing anyone in eternity past before the world began. When we compare scripture with scripture you can clearly see that John 15:16 is speaking of the Son of MAN, Jesus, choosing his 12 disciples to follow him.


Please read Luke 6:13-16.


“And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and OF them he CHOSE TWELVE, whom also he named apostles;

14.  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,

15.  Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,

16.  And Judas the brother of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”



We also see that of those TWELVE whom Jesus CHOSE that there was ONE who would betray him.


Please read John  6:70.


Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you TWELVE, and one of you is a devil?

71.  He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the TWELVE.”



Also, read John 13:18.  


“I speak not of you all: I know WHOM I have CHOSEN: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eats bread with me has lifted up his heel against me.”


Now, let us read John 15:16 in its immediate context.


Please read John 15:15-17.


“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knows not what his lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (The TWELVE disciples whom Jesus chose were his closest disciples that Jesus taught PRIVATELY at times. Jesus called his twelve disciples his friends)

16.  You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, (To be my TWELVE Apostles) that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: (Meaning that I commission you to go out and preach the gospel. And to teach those who BELIEVE because of you that they should remain faithful unto the end so that you shall not lose any of the fruit you bear. And I have called you FRIENDS) that whatsoever you shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

17.  These things I command you, that you love one another.”


When we read the scriptures without reading into the scriptures, then it becomes clear that we are first CALLED by the GOSPEL to be saved. And WHEN a person ANSWERS the call of the gospel to be saved, then that is WHEN that person is CHOSEN by God to become one of God’s ELECT. Almost every Christian knows that the children of Israel are God’s CHOSEN people. And we also know that not ALL of the children of Israel will be saved. So then, how can the word “CHOSEN” mean once saved always saved? Remember that Jesus CHOSE TWELVE Apostles and one of the CHOSEN fell away.


Let us now take a look at some verses where people are CALLED first but only a few people in relation to the many who are being called are CHOSEN.


Please read Matthew 20:16.


“So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be CALLED, but few chosen.”


When you study the verses that speak of the first being last and the last being first, then you will find that these verses are referring to the children of Israel being the FIRST CHOSEN people of God who will be the LAST to enter into the Kingdom of heaven. And that the Gentiles who are chosen LAST of after Israel as a nation rejected God’s so great a salvation will enter the Kingdom of heaven FIRST. For a deeper understanding on the subject please read the study “WHO ARE THE 144,000?”

The truth of the matter is that many are being CALLED by the gospel of Jesus Christ to be saved but not all will ANSWER the calling of God to be saved. Let us read another verse where many are called but few are chosen.


Matthew 22:14.


“For many are CALLED, but few are chosen.”


We can clearly see that God reaches out to us FIRST but we can ALSO clearly see that if we do NOT take hold of God’s hand reaching out to us then we will not be CHOSEN. We will NOT become one of God’s ELECT. Please consider the following verses of what happens if people do NOT ANSWER God’s CALLING them to be saved.


God is CALLING you to come to the knowledge of the truth.


Proverbs 1:23-29 says.


“Turn you at my reproof:(Even the unsaved people have a God-given conscience. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would convict the WORLD of sin) behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.

24. Because I have CALLED, and YOU refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;

25. But YOU have set at naught all my counsel, and would NONE of my reproof:

26. I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes;

27. When your fear comes as desolation and your destruction comes as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish comes upon you.

28. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer, they will seek me early, but they shall not find me: (WHY?)

29. FOR (Or BECAUSE) THEY hated KNOWLEDGE, and (THEY)  did NOT CHOOSE the fear of the Lord.”


Think this through for YOURSELF. HOW can one be CALLED and still yet REFUSE God, if so be, that being “called” means predestined to be saved without having a will to choose?

You see, according to the  Reformed Calvinistic THEOLOGY of ELECTION, one who is CALLED cannot REFUSE God’s irresistible grace. And according to Predeterminism or Reformed Theology, NONE of the ELECT can ever LOSE his or her salvation. Predeterminism teaches that ONLY the ELECT are chosen BEFORE the foundation of the world. And thus the ELECT are supposedly PREDESTINED to be saved WITHOUT ever having chosen for themselves to be saved.

Predeterminism, Calvinism, Reformed Theology, and Grace Alone theology all teach the same things. And what they all teach is that no one, not even any of the so-called elect, is able or capable to choose God or their own free will. And thus, they sincerely believe that it is God ALONE who chooses them WITHOUT any work, without any faith, and without any choice of any will or their own of them choosing God to be saved. And their reasoning is that faith and making a choice is WORKS to them. And thus they could boast of their work of CHOOSING God.

NO my dear brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, this is a MAN MADE THEOLOGY which contradicts the WHOLE word of God.

You see, God is always CALLING, but the question is are you going to ANSWER him? God has CHOSEN ALL of mankind through his written word to turn from evil, to resist the devil, to flee from sin and to CHOOSE the good by FIRST choosing his SON as your savior.


Proverbs 3:31.


“Envy you NOT the oppressor, and CHOOSE NONE of his ways.”


Look at Joshua 24:15a.


“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, CHOOSE you this day whom you will serve...”


Then Jesus says in Matthew 12:30a.


“He that is not WITH me is AGAINST me;...”


There is no gray area. There is no neutral ground. Everyone has to make a CHOICE. And if you do NOT CHOOSE to BELIEVE in Jesus as the atonement for your sins, then you shall die in your sins BECAUSE you have NOT BELIEVED. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so SIMPLE. You either CHOOSE to BELIEVE or you CHOOSE to NOT BELIEVE, the CHOICE is YOURS to make, And I pray that you choose wisely and BELIEVE that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God, who suffered and died on the cross for your sins.

I will present you with two more scriptures that clearly show that God has CALLED and CHOSEN ALL of mankind to inherit eternal life. And that the Bibles does NOT teach that God just selected a few to be saved as some falsely teach under the DISGUISE of predestination. You see dear children of God, what Predeterminism, Calvinism, Grace Alone and Reformed Theology teaches as predestination is NOT SOUND BIBLICAL predestination according to the WHOLE word of Almighty God.


Isaiah 65:11,12 says this.


But you are THEY that FORSAKE the Lord, that forget my holy mountain,...

...12. THEREFORE (Or for this very reason that you yourself or your own free will FORSAKE the Lord) will I number you to the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter: BECAUSE when I CALLED, you did not ANSWER; when I spake, you did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and (YOU) did CHOOSE that wherein I delight not.”



So then, the TRUE sound Biblical reason that the wicked are numbered to the sword of destruction is that they rejected and forsook the Lord and when he called to them THEY did NOT ANSWER the call of the gospel of God’s so great a salvation. They would not hear or listen and they would not answer or respond when he called. They would not obey their God-given conscience. But instead, they CHOSE to do evil and all the things in which God did not delight or desire them to do.


Then Isaiah 66:3b,4 we read.


“...Yea they have CHOSEN their OWN ways, and their souls delight in their abominations.

4. I will ALSO CHOOSE their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them, (WHY?) BECAUSE when I CALLED, none did ANSWER; when I spake, they did not hear (Or listen): but they did evil before mine eyes, and (THEY) CHOSE that which I delighted not.”


What Calvinist and Reformed Theology Christians have failed to see that the God bent over backward, so to speak, all during the Old Covenant to get the children of Israel to RESIST the oppressor. And that is WHY the partial blindness of Israel under the NEW Covenant. God turned to the Gentiles in order to PROVOKE Israel to jealousy in the last days. God has promised that he will turn a SECOND TIME to save the remnant of Israel. God is for us and not against us. His desire for us, ALL of mankind is always good.


Jeremiah 29:11 says.


For I know the thoughts I think TOWARD you, says the Lord, thoughts of PEACE, and NOT of evil, to give you the EXPECTED END.”


The EXPECTED END, that is to say, the desired end for ALL of mankind is to come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved. This is what God has foreordained or PREDESTINED for ALL of mankind. But God will not force anyone to make their own CHOICE to RECEIVE the TRUTH of his so great a salvation. God has chosen MANKIND to be SAVED IN his Son Jesus Christ from before the foundation of the world.


Thanks for reading and may God bless you richly as you CONTINUE to seek the TRUTH of the WHOLE word of Almighty God. Your very eternal life depends upon what CHOICES that you make. So choose wisely according to the SOUND BIBLICAL teaching of the scriptures.


Your brother in our Lord Jesus Christ,

Brother Mark.


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The NEXT VERSE we will study is 2 Thessalonians 2:13 in the study called “DOES 2 THESSALONIANS 2:13 TEACH CALVINISM?”