“for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f]
Romans 10:13 is one of those passages that is so often misquoted and misinterpreted that we have become completely blind to what it is actually trying to teach us.
There is a subscript telling us that Paul is actually quoting an Old Testament passage, Joel 2:32. This passage was originally for the Jews, the physical Israelites. However, at the time of the first coming they clearly did not understand what this passage was talking about.
The physical Israelites didn’t understand how they were supposed to call on the name of the Lord, and so ultimately they ended up crucifying the Lord. They did not received life (they were not saved), they received death and curses. So how can we make sure we do not make the same mistake? We have to read further than just Romans 10:13.
“How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent?”
In order for us to call on the name of the Lord we have to believe, in order to believe we have to hear, in order to hear there has to be someone who preaches, and in order for someone to preach that person has to be sent. So how did this take place at the time of the first coming?
The people (physical Israelites) had to call on the name of Jesus. Jesus was sent by God and only spoke the words that God gave him to give to the people (Jn 17:8). Therefore the people had to hear Jesus’ words and believe that he was sent by God, and then, by calling on Jesus’ name (accepting his words), that would have been calling on the name of the Lord at the time of the first coming. Seeing Jesus was like seeing God (Jn 14:9), therefore believing in Jesus was believing in God.
So, what about us today? What do we have to hear and believe? According to Revelation 1:3, those that are blessed (those who receive life) are the ones who hear and take to heart (keep) the words of the prophecy – those who hear and believe. Revelation 22:16 tells us that Jesus sends his messenger to the churches. This messenger carries Jesus’ revelation (Rv 1:1) to the people. When it is proclaimed the people in the churches will be able to hear it and believe it, and only then will there be those who can truly call on the name of the Lord.
Who will this messenger be whom Jesus sends? The one who has witnessed, and can testify about, all the events of Revelation. The one like Apostle John, who received the opened scroll from the mighty angel and was told to eat it and then go and prophesy again (proclaim it) to many “peoples, nations, language, and kings” (Rv 10).
Are we going to be those who hear and believe, so that we can truly “call on the name of the Lord”? Or will we act like the Pharisees by claiming that the one who is sent is a heretic?