Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 13, 1955

Calling On The Lord's Name

Wilbur Hunt, Palmetto, Florida

Almost everyone will agree that it is necessary to call on the name of the Lord. Salvation is connected with it, as suggested in Joel 2;28-32. "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before the great and the terrible day of the Lord Come. And it shall come to pass that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."

The above passage is one of the many prophecies of the church that Jesus Christ 'built. It points to the time when people would call on the name of the Lord. When did that time come? Acts 2 gives the answer. The Apostle Peter began the first gospel sermon recorded by referring to the prophecy in Joel, and said "This is it" in so many words. Thus the Christian dispensation is the time when man has the opportunity and the privilege to call on the name of the Lord in order to be saved, as suggested in the words "delivered" and "deliverance" because when one is saved, that person has been delivered from the bondage of sin.

But confusion is present when it comes to what is involved in calling on the name of the Lord. There are various doctrines on this subject. Because of the facts that salvation is promised to those who call on the name of the Lord, and because confusion is present, it is an important matter to study this subject and to see what God has said about it in the New Testament.

As has already been stated, various doctrines are taught and believed as to what is involved in calling on the name of the Lord. One idea is that saying "Lord, Lord" is calling on the name. Matthew 7:21 refutes the idea. "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." Just saying "Lord, Lord" is not enough. Doing the will of God or obeying God is the thing that is important. "And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46.) Are you doing your best to obey God?

Another idea is that praying to God is calling on the name of the Lord. In one way, that is true — if one is referring to a Christian or a child of God praying to or talking with God. But it is not true if one is referring to a non-Christian. There is no place in the Bible that teaches that God hears the prayers of sinners. In fact, it is just the opposite. "Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth." (John 9:31.) What did Ananias do when he went to Saul of Tarsus who was praying? He did not say "Just keep on praying; you will get saved sometime." He said this: "And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord." So prayer is not "calling on his name" when referring to alien sinners.

A third idea is that begging God to save you is calling on the Lord. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9.) God wants everyone to be saved, not lost. Begging God to save you is as silly as begging a grocer to sell you some groceries. The grocer is in the grocery business, and will sell groceries to you. God is in the saving business, and will save you if you permit Him.

Another idea is that believing is calling on the name of the Lord. Basically, this is the "Faith only" doctrine. But James 2 refutes the idea. Faith only is not enough. Faith must be shown or expressed in obedience to the commands of God.

Calling on the name of the Lord and obeying the gospel are one and the same thing. Romans 10 should be a familiar chapter; verses 12 through 15 is the passage we are primarily interested in. "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!"

In giving the Great Commission, Christ, in Matthew 28:19, said "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." In Mark 16:15 and 16, he said: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned."

Now, let us compare Romans 10 with the Great Commission, and see what we get.

Romans 10 The Great Commission
Saved Saved
Called Baptism
Believe Believe
Hear Hear (of course)
Preacher Preach or Teach
Sent Go

Salvation is the first item in each list. "Called" and "Baptism" are second in the lists; therefore, they are one and the same thing. When one calls on the name of the Lord, the person goes into the waters of baptism for the remission of sins.

Calling on the Lord is a very simple thing. It is simply the Gospel Plan of Salvation. Have you obeyed the gospel of Christ? If so, are you doing your best to live the Christian life?