Calling Upon the Name of the Lord
Thomas G. O'Neal
In the Roman letter the Apostle Paul pointed out that both Jew and Gentile had sinned and were therefore lost. However, in Rom. 10 he said, "For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:12-17).
There are three things affirmed in the statement that I want to study with you at this time. That statement is, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." The first thing affirmed is "Whosoever shall." The second thing is "call upon the name of the Lord." The third statement is "shall be saved." Together, we shall study each of these statements.
Whatever is involved in "calling upon the name of the Lord," the passage says "whosoever" does it "shall be saved." This forever denies the doctrine that Christ died only for a certain elect group and only the elect can be saved. Jesus said to the apostles that they should go preach the gospel to every creature. Those, to whom the gospel was preached, if they believed that gospel and would be baptized, Jesus said they "shall be saved" (Mk. 16:15-16). Then in Eph. 2 we learn that Christ broke down the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile, that wall being the law of Moses, "that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby." "Both" refers to Jew and Gentile. Thus, from Eph. 2 one can learn that "whosoever" of Jew or Gentile can be saved or reconciled unto God. Next, turn with me to Rev. 22:17 which reads, "And the Spirit and the bride say, come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." Again one sees that the Spirit and the bride say "whosoever will" may take of the water of life.
Think about being saved. Regardless of who you are you are included in the Lord's statement, "whosoever will." It matters not who you are, how far you may have wandered from the Lord, what you may be guilty of, you can enjoy the salvation afforded in Christ because you are included in "whosoever."
Passing from the first phrase of the statement, next I want to consider the third and then come back to the second. The third phrase is "shall be saved." Think about this wonderful statement. In Romans Paul had pointed out that all men were lost, thus on the road to hell. But thanks be to God for his wonderful and marvelous grace, he sent Jesus that men might be saved. Not saved from social humiliation, or from financial problems, or from disease. These were not the reason Christ died on the cross. The salvation afforded in Christ is salvation from SIN. You can have your sins removed if you will "call upon the name of the Lord." I cannot impress upon you too strongly the meaning of salvation. If you refuse to "will," then you reject this wonderful salvation. All are included in the statement "whosoever," but the next word in Rev. 22:17 says "will." So one must "will" to be saved. Otherwise, he cannot be saved, even though he is included in the statement, "whosoever."
Having seen that "whosoever" can be "saved" provided they will "call upon the name of the Lord," this puts knowing what 9(calling upon the name of the Lord" means as essential to being saved. Whatever is involved in calling upon the name of the Lord, no person can be saved without doing it. Thus, we set ourselves to the task of finding out what is involved in "calling upon the name of the Lord."
The Lord tells us what is involved in "calling upon the name of the Lord." We have three instances in the New Testament of this statement being used. When we learn what is said concerning, it in each of these three instances, then we will know what is involved in "calling upon the name of the Lord."
Case number one is in the Romans passage quoted in the beginning of our lesson. Without re-quoting it, note with me that in order for one to "call upon the name of the Lord" certain things were essential. First, a preacher being sent with the divine message of salvation. Second, the preacher must preach. Third, men must hear the message preached. Four, those who heard were to believe, with all that is embraced in the term. Then they were in position to "call upon the name of the Lord." Thus, from this passage we learn that "calling upon the name of the Lord" involved gospel preaching, hearing the gospel, believing, and then obeying the gospel.
Case number two that we note is found in Acts 22. Saul of Tarsus was in the city of Damascus having been told to go there by the Lord and in the city be would be told what he must do. Ananias, the gospel preacher, came to him and found him a penitent sinner who was praying. Ananias told Saul to "Arise," or in other words to "stop praying." He was then told to "be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling upon the name of the Lord." This man who believed in Christ and had repented of his sins was told to "be baptized and wash away thy sins." This involved "calling upon the name of the Lord."
The third case is found in Acts, chapter two. In this chapter is recorded the events of Pentecost. Peter preached the gospel on this great day. In the introduction of his sermon, Peter quoted from the prophet Joel. The last verse quoted from that prophecy is found in Acts 2:21 which says, "And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." The very first time the gospel in its fullness was preached telling men what to do to be saved from sin; this statement from the prophet is used. Keep in mind that when men "call upon the name of the Lord" the Bible says they "shall be saved."
In this sermon preached by Peter, he told these hearers that they were guilty of killing Jesus Christ, verse 23. Being convicted of their sin, they asked Peter and the other apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" The passage shows that these were believers in Christ. Peter said unto them in verse 36, "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." They were to "know assuredly" or to believe confidently. These that had heard the preaching of the apostles and believed it, when they asked "what shall we do?" were told to "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). These individuals had heard the word of God preached (Acts 2:37). They believed the things which they heard (Acts 2:36). Being believers, they were told to "repent and be baptized."
Now note with me that in Acts 2:21 we learn that those who "call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Calling upon the name of the Lord resulted in salvation. Those who were saved had the forgiveness of their sins or the remission of the sins. I suggest that there is no difference in "shall be saved" in Acts 2:21 and in "the remission of sins" in Acts 2:38. Those who bad the remission of their sins were saved; those who were saved had the remission of their sins.
Since "shall be saved" and "the remission of sins" are the same, then it must follow that in order to obtain such, the same thing must be done. Being saved, one does not do something different from what is done to receive remission of sins. Therefore, calling upon the name of the Lord is the same thing as obeying the gospel as mentioned in Rom. 10: 16. These that had not called upon the name of the Lord had not obeyed the gospel. Those that had called upon the name of the Lord had obeyed the gospel.
By adding together these passages, it is learned that when "calling upon the name of the Lord" one hears the gospel of Christ preached, he then believes the sweet story, then he repents of his sins, and finally he is buried with Christ in baptism for the remission of sins. Having done this, one has "called upon the name of the Lord" and has the promise of the Lord that he "shall be saved" or has "the remission of sins." Those who have not done this do not have the promise of the Lord that they "shall be saved."
My friend, would you saved from sin? Then you must "call upon the name of the Lord." If you have not so done, let me urge you to do so today while you still have time and opportunity tomorrow may be too late. To delay may mean you will never again have opportunity to "call upon the name of the Lord" and be saved.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XII: 10, pp. 15-17