For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
In all honesty, this verse disturbs some Christians. They seem to believe this verse means that if someone simply says the name of the Lord, they will be saved whether they are repentant or not. I could understand their concern if that was what this verse meant. All too often we jump to conclusions thinking that we understand what something or someone is saying and simply glide right over it. When it comes to the Word of God, we need to take the time to really take a closer look at things, asking the Holy Spirit to open up our understanding.
The Greek word that is translated as the English phrase "shall call upon" in this verse isepikaleó (Strong's Greek 1941) which means to make an appeal. So what does it mean to make an appeal? Well, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it means to:
make a serious, urgent, or heartfelt request:
The best analogy for this word takes place in a courtroom, standing before a judge. Let's say you have been found guilty. To whom to you address your appeal. Do you address it to your spouse? Your best friend? Your lawyer? The stranger sitting over there in the corner of the court room who slipped in to observe a trial in session? Of course not! You address your appeal to the judge. Why? Because the judge is the only one who has the power and the authority to overturn the verdict or ammend the sentence. If you did not believe in the power and authority of the judge would you appeal to him? Of course not. You only make your appeal to the judge because you believe he (or she) has the power to grant your appeal.
So how does this apply to Romans 10:13? It is very simple. If you do not truly believe that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead (Romans 10:9) you will not call upon or appeal to Him.
We must remember there is a big difference between saying you believe in something and believing in something. A lot of people will say they believe in something... until they meet someone who doesn't. This is the test as to whether one truly believes. Do you stand firm in your belief even if those around you believe otherwise? Do you stand firm even if you are ridiculed and threatened because of your belief? This my friends, is genuine belief.
To believe means to have trust in, to have faith in. Calling on the name of the Lord is not merely saying His name. It means you are appealing to God because you have trust and faith in Him and you recognize that He is your judge but He is also your advocate. It means that hears the cry of the repentant heart and you shall be saved.
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