What Calling on the Name of the Lord Means
“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” – Romans 10:13
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I recently passed by a church building with a sign out front that read: “Call on the name of the Lord and you will be saved.” I’ve heard that phrase alone taught often before, though, and it can be misleading. A lot of people think that you can just call out the name of Jesus and you’ll be saved. That is not true.
A review of Romans 10:13 in context of the full chapter gives insight into the verse about calling on the name of the Lord.
“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
One believes with the heart, resulting in righteousness, and one confesses with the mouth, resulting in salvation.
Now the Scripture says, Everyone who believes on Him will not be put to shame,
for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, since the same Lord of all is rich to all who call on Him.
For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.
But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher?
And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things!
But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message?
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” – Romans 10:9-17
First, verse 9 of the chapter explains that you must confess that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead in order to be saved. So we see that we simply cannot call out or on the name of Jesus to receive salvation. Confessing that Jesus is Lord and believing in Him are requirements that result in salvation. It is also clear from the passage that belief, or faith, in God comes from hearing His Word and the message of Christ.
Further, Matthew 7:21 notes Jesus saying, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven.” So simply calling out “Lord, Lord” or calling on His name cannot be what Romans 10:13 means. In order to get to heaven, Christ commands that we do His will.
Lastly, recall the following passage where Paul was describing his conversion and what Ananias told him: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). The Scripture is clear that we call on the name of the Lord by being baptized to wash away our sins.
So, salvation comes through being obedient to God, believing in Jesus, confessing that He is Lord, repenting (Acts 17:30; Luke 13:3), and being baptized. We can’t take the verse out of context or to the exclusion of other passages of Scripture. They all work together to give us a complete picture of God’s will for our lives.
Have you called on the name of the Lord by being baptized to wash away your sins? It’s a requirement for salvation, and we all must do the will of the Father in heaven.
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