The Meaning of Calling on the Name of the Lord

by Zeke Flores

Calling on the name of the Lord may not mean what you think it means.

In chapter 2 of his prophetic book, Joel foretells of the events during Pentecost related in Acts 2. His concluding statement from that prophecy was that "it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered" (Joel 2:32). To "call on the name of the Lord" sounds like calling out to someone in prayer and that's the way most people consider that phrase. But in reality, the meaning is closer to putting one's trust and confidence in God and all that pertains to Him.

For instance, who was saved on Pentecost? Those who obeyed Peter's preaching. That is, they repented of sin and submitted to baptism for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38, 41). What did they do? Did they "call on the Lord" in prayer? No. In fact, Peter never mentioned prayer when they asked what they should do. They responded to the Lord's will in repentance and baptism believing if they did so, their sins would be forgiven.

When they responded in obedience, they were saved. They "called on the Lord” by putting their trust in Him and manifesting that trust through their direct obedience. In short, they simply did what He said to do.

Is it any different today? No, although people will maintain that "calling on the name of the Lord" is a simple utterance of prayer asking Him into their hearts and begging for His salvation. Instead, Scripture tells us we are to "call on His name" as we hear what He says and do it. What saved the people on Pentecost saves people today.

"Peter said to them, 'Repent and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'" (Acts 2:38).

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