"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105

Calling on the Name of the Lord
        Romans 10:13 reads, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." Many people see the word "saved" only in one light, namely "the salvation of your souls." Thus, Romans 10:13 is presented to the unbelieving sinner, and accepted by many in religious circles, as the means of receiving eternal life.

         The truth is: Salvation does pertain to other than "the salvation of your souls." For instance: Paul to Timothy said, "save thyself" (I Timothy 4:16). Yet, Timothy was already saved and included in the words, "God…hath saved us…not according to our works" (II Timothy 1:8, 9). Again, in Romans 5:10 the words "shall be saved" are promised to those already saved, that is "reconciled to God."

         Joel 2:32, quoted by Peter in Acts 2:21, shows that "delivered" and "saved" are synonymous. Deliverance is in three tenses: "…delivered…doth deliver…will yet deliver…" (II Corinthians 1:10). Since deliverance is in three tenses, and a synonym of salvation, then we are not surprised to find salvation in the same three tenses. One is an accomplished fact, never to be repeated. One is in process. And the final is wholly future.

         Of the primary aspect of salvation, we read, "for by grace have ye been saved through faith…not of works" (Ephesians 2:8, 9, A.S.V.). This deliverance, an accomplished fact, accords with such words as "hath saved thee" (Luke 7:50), "them that are saved" (II Corinthians 2:15), "hath saved us" (II Timothy 1:9), and "he saved us" (Titus 3:5). The penalty of sin is death (Genesis 2:17; Romans 6:23). When one "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1) passes "from death unto life," as a result of believing on Christ (John 5:24; 6:40, 47), he is "quickened," made alive. This life is linked with salvation in Ephesians 2:5, and are accomplished facts, "hath quickened…are saved." Thus, this salvation is from the penalty of sin. This is "the salvation of your souls" of which Peter wrote, "Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls" (I Peter 1:9). The word "end" means "point aimed at," and the "point aimed at" in one's "faith" is "the salvation of" one's soul. This accords with the truth of Luke 7:50, Acts 15:9; 26:18; Romans 4:5, Ephesians 2:8, and II Timothy 3:15. The requirement and promise to the unbeliever is "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved" (Acts 16:31). The change from "believe…and thou shalt be saved" to "have ye been saved through faith" proves the absolute truthfulness of the promise.

         Of the second aspect of salvation, we read, "as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation" (I Peter 2:2, A.S.V.). This growth "unto salvation" follows the new birth, and being thus required of one already saved, is limited in application to the children of God. An unbeliever has but one nature. Everything he does stems from that nature. He cannot do otherwise. Thus, he is seen "fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind" (Ephesians 2:3). In the new birth, the dominance of the sin nature is broken (Romans 6:2, 7), a divine nature is received (II Peter 1:4), and God's love is "shed abroad in" the heart (Romans 5:5). Thus, there is present the power and desire to do God's will. Although the dominance of the sin nature is forever broken, it is not removed out of the believer, nor will it be until the body is glorified at Christ's coming. These two natures are in conflict, and this conflict is described in Romans 7:18-23. The second aspect of salvation is from the power and influence of sin. It is conditional, and involves the principles of I John 1:9 and Galatians 5:16, 25.

         Of the final aspect of salvation, we read, "now is our salvation nearer than when we believed" (Romans 13:11). Peter referred to it as "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (I Peter 1:5). It is from the presence of sin, and relates to the change to be wrought on the body of the believer in Christ at the coming of Christ (Philippians 3:20, 21; I Corinthians 15:51, 53). Hope relates to the promise of Christ's coming for His own (Titus 2:14; I Peter 1:13; Romans 5:2; Colossians 3:4; I Peter 1:3-5). This final aspect of salvation associated with that grand event is thus called "the hope of salvation" (I Thessalonians 5:8). Thus, "Christ…shall… appear…unto salvation" (Hebrews 9:28).

         The first and the third aspects of salvation involve "life and immortality" (II Timothy 1:10). These two are predicated of Christ's work as "the saviour of the world" (I John 4:14), and are secured on exactly the same condition, namely faith, or believing on Jesus Christ. Every believer in Christ has "redemption," has been "quickened," has been "saved," and has been "raised up" (Ephesians 1:7; 2:1,5,6,8), as accomplished facts. But, it is also true that redemption (Romans 8:23), quickening (8:11), salvation (13:11), and rising up (I Thessalonians 4:16) are something to be obtained by the believer at a time yet future. The latter class, however, relates to the body, "our outward man" (II Corinthians 4:16), whereas the former, accomplished facts, relate to "the inward man." Thus, we read: "whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life (a present possession); and (on the very same condition) I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:54). The "eateth…and drinketh" equals "believeth on me" since the result of doing the one (6:54) is the same as the result of doing the other (6:40,47). Keep in mind that the promise reserved for the future, "I will raise him up at the last day," is inapplicable and inappropriate to "the inward man" for that man has already been "raised up" when delivered from the penalty of sin (Ephesians 2:6).

        The second aspect of salvation stands in between "life and immortality," and involves the obligations which life imposes. Life is "the gift of God" (Romans 6:23). But life has obligations, and in order to meet those obligations there is available "mercy and grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:16). This involves the work of Christ as "the saviour of the body…an high priest over the house of God" (Ephesians 5:23; Hebrews 10:21), and "the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:2). The advocacy of Christ is necessary in view of sin in the life of the believer (I John 2:1), which is forgiven on the basis of I John 1:9. Once sin is forgiven, the Holy Spirit bears His "fruit" within the obedient believer, enabling him to discern the presence of the Lord in his life, and that his ways are pleasing to God (Galatians 5:22,23; Ephesians 5:8-10; Romans 12:1,2; Philippians 4:9). Therefore, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). I John 1:9 and Galatians 5:16 are the way to a victorious Christian life and to salvation from the power of sin in the life of the believer.

         The question is: Does Romans 10:13 pertain to the believer in Christ, or to the unbeliever? Here is a simple rule: Whenever salvation, as herein discussed, is predicated of conditions beyond believing in Christ, the second aspect is always in view. Romans 10:13 meets that criteria, as I now proceed to show:

         Joel 2:32 states, "whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered." Joel shows the fulfillment to be among those "in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." There has been "a remnant" of God's people in every age, contrasted to the unbelieving "rest," and such a "remnant" existed in Paul's day, according to Romans 11:5-7. Joel applies the words of our study to the children of God, to those "in the remnant whom the Lord shall call." The called equal the justified, for "whom he called, them he also justified" (8:30). Paul's question in 10:14, "How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed?", clearly shows that he applies the principle to believers in Christ. Salvation is promised "a remnant," whether future, or present (Romans 9:27; 11:5); and Romans 10:13, just as Joel 2:32, applies to such.

         One is saved from the penalty of sin at the point of believing on Christ. Therefore, "he that believeth on him IS not condemned…IS passed from death unto life…IS born of God," and "having believed" is also "sealed with the Holy Spirit" (John 3:18; 5:24; I John 5:l; Ephesians 1:13, A.S.V.). If one is saved from the penalty of sin at the point of believing on Christ, and one cannot "call on him in whom" he had "not believed," then "calling on the name of the Lord" has nothing to do with salvation from sin's penalty. But, one who has "believed…in him" is promised salvation as a result of calling on Him, just as one already "reconciled to God by the death of his Son" is promised salvation "by his life" subsequent to that fact. This salvation is "from the body of this death" (Romans 7:24), from "persecutions, afflictions" (I Timothy 3:11), that is, endured "for Christ's sake" (II Corinthians 12:10), "from every evil work" (II Timothy 4:18), or "out of the mouth of the lion" (4:17), that is, from "your adversary the devil" (I Peter 5:8). This is available to the believer on certain conditions, but has nothing to do with becoming a child of God.

         In Romans 10:5,6 Paul quotes from Moses. His words show that "Moses describeth" both that "righteousness which is of the law" as well as "the righteousness which is of faith." Here, "the righteousness which is of faith" is simply the means by which one's "faith was reckoned…for righteousness," as in Romans 4:3,5,6,9. Confession, or calling on the name of the Lord is not in this means.

         In describing "the righteousness which is of faith," Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 30:12,13, and explains those words in Romans 10:6,7 in such a way as to declare "the gospel" message. Thus Paul asks: "But what saith it?" (10:8). This singular pronoun "it" is used eleven times in Deuteronomy 30:11-14 in referring to something called "this commandment," singular also, 30:11. "This commandment," singular is in contrast to "his commandments," plural, 30:8, to be obeyed by those whose hearts had been circumcised, 30:6,8. "This commandment," singular, "set before" the people "life and…death," as well as "good…and evil," the fruits thereof, 30:15. There is only one commandment that sets life and death before the unbeliever. It is referred to by Christ, thus: "He that believeth on him…is passed from death unto life" (John 5:24). Paul called this "the word of faith, which we preach" in Romans 10:8, simply meaning that "the word…which we preach" is appropriated by "faith."

         This message was accessible, being "in thy mouth, and in thy heart" (10:8). Here, "mouth" precedes "heart," an order maintained in 10:9. But, in one's actual experience the order is reversed in 10:10. This reversal is not something new in this section because the order presented in verses 14,15, "call…believe…hear…preach.. ..sent," is the reverse in actual experience, "sent…preach…hear…believe…call."

         Christ said, "out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matthew 12:34). The confession with one's mouth of Romans 10:9 that "Jesus is Lord" can only be done by one who has first believed such in his heart. The word "Lord" is from the Greek "kurios." One application of this word is found in the Septuagint where it is used to translate the Hebrew Jehovah, such as in Isaiah 40:3, which by the way is quoted and applied to Christ in John 1:23. The Jews were a monotheistic people. And no Jew would confess that "Jesus is Kurios" who had not first trusted in Him as his Saviour. This confession arises from a new nature in Christ, and is one of those things that accompanies the new birth. It is the same principle in Galatians 4:6, "because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father." In order to be saved from sin's penalty, "righteousness" must be "reckoned." This depends solely on faith (4:3,5,6,9; 10:8,10,11,16,17). But faith leads to confession, or calling on the name of the Lord. This is a lifetime responsibility, not a single act; and salvation from the power of sin in the life of the believer is associated with it. Compare Romans 10:13 to David's words in Psalm 50:5, 14-16, Psalm 55:16, and Psalm 86:7.

         Note also that among those "that call on Him" in Romans 10:12, "there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek." But, according to Galatians 3:28 and Colossians 3:10-12, "There is neither Jew nor Greek…in Christ Jesus." These have "the same Lord over" them, and He is "rich unto all (over whom He is Lord) that call upon Him."

         Finally, a study of the expression "call on the name of the Lord" in the New Testament will show that it always relates to believers in Christ. For instance: Saul of Tarsus persecuted "all that call on thy name" (Acts 9:14,21). But, who were they? Believers in Christ, or unbelievers? They are identified as, "The disciples of the Lord…of this way…saints…them that believed on thee…the church of God" (9:l,2,13; 22:19; I Corinthians 15:9)!

         God saves sinners by a message called "the gospel of Christ," and by means of believing that report (Romans 1:16; 10:16). No inspired man ever led the unbelieving sinner in some "suggested prayer" in order to salvation from the penalty of sin. The means is, and has always been, "God imputeth righteousness without works…faith was reckoned for righteousness" where "the ungodly" are in view (Romans 4:3,5,6,9). This accords with the answer given in Acts 16:31, and is the universal testimony of "all the prophets, that…whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins" (10:43). There is no "ask Jesus to come into your heart." There is no "just pray this prayer." There is: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

Bobby Dunn
February, 2002

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