Robert H. Farish
The question before the mind of Hamlet was, To be or not to be?" He was debating with himself whether he should commit suicide or carry on and "bear the whips and scorns of time." He realizes that, "he himself might his quietus make with a bare bodkin (dagger)," yet, "the dread of something after death" restrained him. The dilemma of Shakespeare's character presented two alternatives: 1. To live out his time bearing the "whips and scorns" that would come his way or 2. he could exit from time by suicide which involved the "dread of something after death." The soliloquy which Shakespeare puts in the mouth of Hamlet suggests to my mind the question, "To be saved or not to be saved, that is the question." Sober reflection on this question leads to the question:
"What Must I Do To Be Saved?"
"That is the question!" It must be faced fairly by every responsible being. The personal thrust of the question needs to be recognized. This personal identifying with the question demands that each person realize that he is lost. This "conviction of sin" necessarily precedes "conviction of righteousness." Putting it another way, realizing that one is lost must come before one will take any steps to be saved. The Holy Spirit guided the apostle Paul to indict both the Gentiles and Jews of sin in Romans 1:18-3:9. The summation of the case is: "What then are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles)? No, in no wise: for we before laid charge both to Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin" and "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:9 and verse 23). The "all" that are under sin certainly includes you so what must I do to be saved is the question for you.
Call On The Name Of The Lord
You must call on the name of the Lord to be saved. "And it shall be, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Acts 2:21).
The word whosoever in its expanded form is "everyone that." Hence, everyone that - without exception - shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. What is it to call on the name of the Lord? How does one call on the name of the Lord?
As the world has "gods many and lords many" (I Cor. 8:5), it is your task to learn who is the Lord upon whose name "I" must call to be saved. Before describing or giving the particulars of the action of calling on the name of the Lord, Peter gave attention to the matter of identifying and proving the identity of the Lord upon whose name men are to call to be saved (Acts 2:22-36). In verse 36, we have the conclusion to which the argument led, "Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly, that God hath made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye crucified" (Acts 2:36). This same thing is announced to the first Gentile convert — "The word which he sent unto the children of Israel, preaching good tidings by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)" (Acts 10:36). Also note, "For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek: for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Romans 10:12,13). The apostle Paul, also by the Holy Spirit, pointed out that although there are "gods many and lords many, yet to us there...one Lord Jesus Christ" (I Cor. 8:6). There is "one Lord" (Eph. 4:5) upon whose name we must call to be saved.
The first sermon proclaimed "in the last days" has as its text Joel 2:28-32. Peter takes the last verse which he quoted as his immediate text. He first identifies and proves the identity of Jesus as Lord and calls upon "all the house of Israel to know assuredly that God had made Jesus both Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36) When they heard the conclusion toward which the reasoning was directed and which the miraculous manifestations which were present proved, "they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?" (Acts 2:37).
The question, "What shall we do?" is probing the sublime proposition "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." They have been brought to know who the Lord is. They now need to know how to call on his name; they and we need to know what is involved in calling on the name of the Lord. The answer to their question, "What shall we do?" is the answer to the question, "How does one call on the name of the Lord?" They were told to "repent ye and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of sins..." (Acts 2:38).
Many don't know how to call on the name of the Lord, having arbitrarily and without competent evidence, equated "calling" with prayer.
"Not Everyone" Vs. "Everyone That"
The Holy Spirit said that "whosoever (everyone that) shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Jesus said, "Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 7:21). There is no contradiction in the scriptures; these two statements of the Lord taken together simply show that prayer — simply petitioning the Lord — saying Lord, Lord, does not fill the bill for calling on the name of the Lord.
Before Paul had been told what he "must do to be saved" (Acts 9:5) he was praying (Acts 9:11). That prayer was not all that was involved is seen in Ananias' instructions to Paul to "arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). According to this language, Paul was "calling on the name of the Lord" in "arising and being baptized."
Calling on the name of the Lord is simply bowing in submission to all that is authorized by the Lord, i.e.; all that is in the name of the Lord; it is doing the will of the Father in heaven; it is obedience.
"What must I do to be saved?" That is the question. "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord." That is the answer!
P.O. Box 141, Lewisville, Texas 75067