Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
For those who would claim more of an evangelical affiliation, Romans 10:13 is often utilized verse to demonstrate that the offer of salvation is available to all (appealing to the ‘whosoever’ of the verse). And, while this is certainly true, the verse has a much deeper meaning than it often gets credit for.
Many view this verse as saying, whosoever shall call out and ask the Lord to save them, shall be saved. But, is this the proper response to an offer of a gift? If salvation is a gift, does one ‘ask’ for a gift? Or, is a gift simply offered by the giver and the recipient simply receives the gift with thanksgiving? It is the latter, naturally. Do we need to ask the Lord to make a decision about us – a decision He made upon Himself and enacted 2,000 years ago? No, not at all.
What is often overlooked with Romans 10:13 is the phrase “the name of the Lord.” Let’s look at what the name of the Lord is and then why it would make sense for Paul to be saying this in the context of his desire for Israel to be saved.
In Exodus 3, God has called out to Moses and reveals to Moses His purpose. Moses is to lead God’s people out of Egypt. Moses, rather taken back by the whole event, asks God,
Exodus 3:13 And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
I AM THAT I AM is the description of His name – the Ever-existing and Self-existing One. This is Jehovah. Jehovah was neither created nor awaiting creation, for He always was, is, and will be. In the light of what Jehovah means, God has put Himself on display with many attributes of His name. This is the shortened version, I AM. Israel was given the right to utilize the name of God. I AM [fill in the blank]. For example, if Israel needed a Shepherd, they could access Jehovah-Rohi (I AM your Shepherd). I AM THAT I AM solidified the utter faithfulness of God and the I AM allowed His faithfulness to be manifested in a host of manners for the benefit of Israel.
In the chart below, you’ll see the compound names of Jehovah, what they mean, and the verse they are found in.
If Israel needed a healer, they could call upon the name of Jehovah-rapha. If they needed an army, they could call upon the name of Jehovah-sabaoth. If they needed righteousness, they could call upon the name of Jehovah-tsidkenu.
Interestingly enough, when you think about salvation, your mind is drawn to a healing we experienced; a peace we have; a sanctification we have; the righteousness (of God) that we have; the ever-presence of His Spirit we have…all of the various attributes of Jehovah are summed in the reality of His salvation. God would promise to send His salvation to the world and that promise manifested in the flesh as Jesus Christ. Jesus means “Jehovah Saves.” Jesus is the salvation of God, come to man.
When we read throughout the book of Acts, we see that Gentiles are responding to the message of Jehovah Saves (Jesus) in droves, but the many of the Jews struggle with this message. When Paul says that whosoever shall call upon the NAME of the Lord, he is reciting the reality that anyone who claims Jesus Christ is anyone who claims Jehovah Saves. For the Gentiles – a very alluring message; yet for the Jews, an oft stumbling-block.
To call upon the name of the Lord is not asking for Him to make a decision – but is a simple statement, reckoning that Jesus Christ is indeed the Salvation of God.
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