“For ‘whoever calls on 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?” (Romans 10:13-14).
As Paul’s five quotations of the Old Testament in Romans 10:6-13 demonstrate, God’s plan of saving all humanity through the gospel of Jesus Christ was not happenstance. Essential components of the gospel—Jesus’ incarnation (v. 6), resurrection (v. 7), proclamation (v. 8), deliverance (v. 11), and salvation (v. 13)—were all predicted by Moses (in Deuteronomy 30:12-14), Isaiah (in 28:16) and Joel (in 2:32).
The fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy of the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost (in Acts 2) marked the inauguration day of Christ’s royal high priesthood. The priest-king foreshadowed by Melchizedek (in Genesis 14) and prophesied by David (in Psalm 110:4) had been seated on David’s throne, being exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:30, 33). Therefore, all can know assuredly that God has made Jesus of Nazareth both Lord and Christ, and whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:36, 21).
Consider three timeless truths about this most important part of God’s plan of human salvation:
It is personal. Because calling on the name of the Lord was written in the Greek (in verse 13) using the middle voice, salvation is something your yourself must attend to.
It is conditional. Because calling on the name of the Lord (in verse 14) follows a state of faith, salvation by “faith only” is false. No one is justified before God by faith only (James 2:24). Faith is an essential condition to calling on the name of the Lord acceptably, but it is not a synonym of it. Without the prerequisite condition of faith, no one can genuinely call upon the name of the Lord.
It is transitional. Because calling on the name of the Lord was something the fasting and praying Saul of Tarsus was told would occur when he—a penitent believer—arose and was baptized (Acts 22:16), Peter could truthfully write: “Baptism doth also now save us” (1 Peter 3:21 KJV). When a penitent believer in Christ confesses his faith and expresses his faith by calling upon the Lord to save him from his sins in baptism, it transitions him from being lost to being saved. He is washed, sanctified, and justified by Christ’s blood when he calls upon the Lord in penitent, obedient faith and is immersed. We are delivered from the power of darkness and conveyed into the kingdom of God’s Son when we confess our faith in Christ and call upon the name of the Lord in baptism.
Have you called upon the name of the Lord in the way the New Testament describes and defines it? If not, why do you delay? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16).