2.58 - Call On The Lord

Hello and welcome to season 2 episode 58 of The Berean Manifesto, brought to you by The Ekklesian House.  This is Pastor Bill, and over the next 10 minutes or so, probably less, we are going to talk about Romans 10:13 CSB, “[13] For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
I see this scripture being touted a lot, and most of the evangelical movements teaching of “to be saved all you have to do is to repeat this prayer” seems to come from teachings surrounding this verse.  The problem is that this verse doesn’t mean what it sounds like on its face.  When we consider Matthew 17:21-23 CSB, “[21] Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. [22] On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, drive out demons in your name, and do many miracles in your name? ’ [23] Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers! ’”  This section of verse brings into question this, “call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”  In context this happens at the judgment, so the time for salvation has passed, but how in the world did they prophesy in His name, drive out demons in His name, and do miracles in His name without ever calling on His name?
Peter and Paul are both recorded as having said this, Peter in Acts 2:21, but they’re both quoting from Joel 2, starting in verse 28, “[28] After this I will pour out my Spirit on all humanity; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your old men will have dreams, and your young men will see visions. [29] I will even pour out my Spirit on the male and female slaves in those days. [30] I will display wonders in the heavens and on the earth: blood, fire, and columns of smoke. [31] The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. [32] Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord promised, among the survivors the Lord calls.”
They’re quoting that, except that, tricksy as they are, they’ve both changed one word to completely change the message.  Joel who they’re quoting is prophesying about the Messiah setting up His kingdom on Earth and says that in that time anyone who calls out to the Messiah will be saved.  Except Joel’s wording, and the Jewish understanding, of this statement is one of deliverance from physical harm not spiritual salvation as you and I understand it.
The word Peter and Paul have used for “calls on” is;
G1941 ἐπικαλέομαι epikaleomai ep-ee-kal-eh'-om-ahee Middle voice from G1909 and G2564; to entitle; by implication to invoke (for aid, worship, testimony, decision, etc.): - appeal (unto), call (on, upon), surname.
So it CAN be translated as call on or call upon, but when we find a seeming contradiction in scripture like this one created between Matthew 7 and what Peter and Paul have said, then that’s a huge clue that we’re using the wrong translation of the word.  What if, instead, we read it as “everyone who surnames the name of the Lord will be saved.”  When we consider John 1:10-13 this actually makes a lot of sense, “[10] He was in the world, and the world was created through him, and yet the world did not recognize him. [11] He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. [12] But to all who did receive him, he gave them the right to be children of God, to those who believe in his name, [13] who were born, not of natural descent, or of the will of the flesh, or of the will of man, but of God.”

Also Romans 8:12-17, “[12] So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, [13] because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. [14] For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. [15] You did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” [16] The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, [17] and if children, also heirs ​— ​heirs of God and coheirs with Christ ​— ​if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”  We are adopted children of God and take on His surname, His family name, His authority and the responsibility of being His kin.
Now despite all of this, when we back up to verse 9 of chapter 10 of Romans, we read, Romans 10:9 CSB, “[9] If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”  It’s a fine line this, and there it is, to believe.  Most of the time the invitation to repeat a prayer and “become a Christian” during or directly after an emotionally charged or fear-laden event.  Now while this kind of coercion is highly effective at creating converts, it’s not ideally suited for cultivating disciples.
Church, we have to ask ourselves if we’re more interested in creating large flocks of lemmings who don’t actually believe and are following each other into hell, or are we willing to put in the work it takes, cultivating a Church of disciples who have an unfeigned faith and will endure to the very end?  Because there is a time coming, and we’ve already seen the fore-edge of it, where the lemmings abandon the faith they pretend to claim and The Church, that’s all us believers, suffer the fallout.

This is Pastor Bill saying, “Until next time…”

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