Invitations to ‘call on the name of the Lord’ are often extended by preachers and especially, it seems, by tele-evangelists. This may be at the end of their sermon when they invite the audience to recite a prayer, often referred to as the “Sinner’s Prayer”. Most often, the only passage that religious institutions associate with the phrase “call on the name of the Lord” is Romans 10:13. Or sometimes, they start with Romans 10:13 and then jump to other Old Testament passages. Let’s look at these, but there is much more to look at in order to understand what “call on the name of the Lord” truly means according to God’s word.
How Scripture answers "What does it mean to ‘call on the name of the Lord?’"
Under the new covenant, to ‘call on the name of the Lord’ is directly connected to being baptized for the remission of sins2,3. It follows one’s hearing and belief in the gospel (of truth)1,2,3 and includes the ongoing worship8 and service to each other9,10,11. God hears all who call on His name in this way5 (it is not an “inward call”). He responds by setting them apart with His Spirit4,9 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 law5,12,13 and into the first century Christian age1,2,3,4,8,10,11. David describes5 the mechanism (God’s word) and the result (God’s salvation). The same mechanism and result carry through to the first-century Christian’s “calling” as well1,4,8,10,11.
With all of these references to “call on the Lord”1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 – Old and New Testament – we never read about it being some sort of “sinner’s prayer” or a “call to Jesus” to come into one’s heart or life. Instead, what we read about are praying people (“God-seekers” if you will12) that are confronted with the gospel message and consistently respond in obedient faith.
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Very helpful!!! Thank you!
Hi Dawn. We did just publish this as its own question/answer: https://scriptureinterpretsscripture.com/blasphemy-against-the-holy-spirit/
In Matthew 12:31,32, Jesus speaks of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit being unforgivable. How does one blaspheme against the Holy Spirit?
This is a great question…and a difficult one. The “unforgivable” aspect to this can be alarming and troubling. I don’t think any Christian would want to be guilty of this…however, I think there are some steps we can take to understanding this better.
There’s more to say, but we’ll plan to publish this as a question with all of the related passages in the near future! Hopefully this helps your own study and maybe offers some food for thought?