Article - Calling on the name of the Lord (part 3)
The first time “calling on the name of the Lord” is mentioned in reference to the gospel is
Acts 2:21. The lost Jews are told by Peter on the Day of Pentecost “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Peter specifies what he means in Acts 2:38, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”. Those who called on the name of the Lord that day gladly received Peter’s word and were baptized, “and the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (Acts 2:41, 47; see also Colossians 1:13).
When an alien sinner by the name of Saul of Tarsus spoke to Jesus on the road to Damascus, he asked Jesus, “What shall I do Lord?” (Acts 9:6). The context indicates that Saul had not yet “called on” the name of the Lord, even though he had “called out” to the Lord. Ananias used the following words to instruct Saul on how to call on the name of the Lord: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16; also study Acts 9:1-19; 26:12-18).
Other passages to consider: Genesis 4:26 is the first time “calling on the name of the Lord” is mentioned in the Bible. Evil Cain and his offspring did not call on the name of the Lord because they did not obey the Lord. However, when Seth had offspring, they “began to call on the name of the Lord” (that is, obey Him). Also, 1 Peter 3:20-21 says that water baptism saves. Peter goes on to explain that water baptism is not a mere removal of dirt from one’s physical flesh, but emphatically it is a “request, appeal” to God (Arndt-Gingrich-Bauer Greek Dictionary, p. 285) for a good conscience. Thus to “call on the name of the Lord” is to appeal to God for a good conscience through obedience to the gospel in one’s water baptism into Christ (Galatians 3:27; see also Hebrews 10:22; 9:14).
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