by Matt Slick
“for whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved," (Rom. 10:13).
Is it true that anyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved? The answer is both yes and no. Of course, we do not want to contradict Scripture because it does say that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will indeed be saved. But we need to be clear. There are those who call false gods their Lord, so when they call upon the name of “their” Lord, they are not saved.
The phrase, "call upon the name of the Lord," is from the Old Testament. It is found in Gen. 4:26, Gen. 13:4, Gen. 12:8, 1 Kings 18:24, 2 Kings 5:11, Psalm 116:4, Joel 2:32, Zech. 3:9, etc. In its Old Testament context, it deals with the worship, adoration, and prayer to the only true God of the universe. There are no other gods. There is only one in all existence (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6, 8, 45:5). Furthermore, the word, "Lord," in these verses in the Old Testament is the tetragrammaton. In other words, it consists of four Hebrew letters YHWH, which is the name of God. In Exodus 3:14 when Moses asked God what His name was, God answered and said, “I AM.” That term, “I AM,” is YHWH, the tetragrammaton.
So, when the Bible says that we are to call upon the name of the Lord, it is presupposing that there is only one God in all existence and that the one God is prayed to, worshipped, adored, etc. To call upon the name of the Lord is to subject one's self to the majesty and holiness of the divinely sovereign God of the universe. So, when someone "calls upon the name of the Lord" in order to be saved, it means he or she is putting hope and trust in God Himself, the true God, the real God and not a false God.
Finally, repeating a mere sentence does not save. It is not reciting a phrase that makes a person a Christian. Instead, our salvation is dependent upon the sovereign work of God. Our calling upon His Name in order to be saved is a manifestation of His work in us (John 6:44, 6:65). In this way, God gets all the glory.