Scripture very clearly defines what it means to “call on the name of the Lord”2,3. It may be one of the greatest (and simplest) examples of Scripture interpreting Scripture. We can read one passage1 and wonder a little about what it means exactly, and find two more2,3 that wonderfully define the first in perfect harmony!
Under the new covenant, calling on the name of the Lord is directly connected to being baptized for remission of sins2,3 and follows one’s hearing and belief in the gospel (of truth)1,2,3. God hears all who call on His name in this way5 and responds by setting them apart with His Spirit, as He promised3.
The concept of ‘calling on the name of the Lord” is seen throughout all periods of Scripture – since shortly after creation6-to Abram7,– through the Mosaic law5 and into the first century Christian age1,2,3,4. David describes5 the mechanism (God’s word) and the result (God’s salvation) which clearly carries through to the first century activity as well1,4.
With all of these references to “call on the Lord”1,2,3,4,5,6,7 – Old and New Testament – we never read about it involving a prayer or a literal “call to Jesus” to come into one’s heart or life. Instead, what we read a lot about are praying people (“God-seekers” if you will) that are confronted with the gospel message who consistently respond in obedient faith.