What does it mean to “call on the name of the Lord?” Legion are they who
teach that this means to approach Christ in prayer, asking him to forgive
one’s own sins and come into one’s heart for the purpose of being his or
her “personal Savior.” Usually, Romans 10:13 is quoted as a proof text for
this teaching: “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be
saved.” However, this phrase is used in other places in the Bible and to
understand its meaning in Romans, the phrase should be studied in the other
contexts as well.
In Romans 10, Paul is quoting Joel 2:32 emphasizing the universal nature of the Gospel. Another New Testament spokesman who quoted Joel was Peter on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:21). Peter was preaching to those who were guilty of shedding the innocent blood of Jesus. Upon realizing the severity of their crime, the convicted crowd cried out, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” They knew they were guilty and they knew they needed forgiveness. In addition, they had heard Peter quote Joel, saying, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” So, what was Peter’s response to their question? Did he tell them to pray to Jesus for forgiveness? Did he command them to ask Christ to come into their hearts as their personal Savior? No! He told them to “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Here is inspired commentary on the phrase, “call on the name of the Lord.” According to Peter, who was speaking by inspiration, calling on the name of the Lord is obeying the gospel.
What about you? Are you one who calls on the name of the Lord (I Cor. 1:2)? That is, are you one who obeys the Christ? If not, why not determine to follow the example of those 3,000 on the day of Pentecost, and call on his name today and continue to do so all the days of your life.
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