Romans 10:13-15 ESV
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”
“How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’”
To call upon the name of the Lord is to call upon his authority and his divine character and will. It is to call upon his honor, his integrity, his strength, his uprightness, his divine nature, and all that he is, and all that he is about.
And to “call upon” is to appeal to or to address, to avail oneself of, or to turn to. So, this is not a casual thing here. This is not just saying the name of Jesus or praying a prayer to “receive Christ.” This is about turning to the Lord and to his righteousness and putting his righteousness into effect in our own lives by our faith in him.
Thus, it means to have faith in him, and that faith is divine persuasion as to God’s will and purpose for our lives. And if persuaded, we submit to God’s will and purpose for our lives, we leave our lives of sin behind us, and we follow Jesus in obedience to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
But, in order for them to call upon the Lord in obedient faith, which submits to his will and purpose for our lives, they need to hear the “Good News.” But they need to hear the truth, and not the lies, for the lies are many, and they are very widespread.
The lies will tell you that to call upon the Lord means merely to ask God for his forgiveness of your sins so that you will be saved and so you will go to heaven when you die, and so you will escape hell. Or it might be merely to acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.
The lies will also tell you that faith in Jesus Christ is just accepting his sacrifice for our sins and his forgiveness, and that secures one heaven when he dies, regardless of how he lives on this earth, and even to the exclusion of repentance, obedience, and submission to Christ as Lord.
Yet, Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin) and follow (obey) him. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self), we will lose our lives for eternity. But if we lose our lives (die with him to sin), we will have eternal life with God in heaven (Lu 9:23-26).
Paul and the other New Testament apostles gave the same message. Paul said that if we walk according to the flesh, that we will die in our sins, but if we walk according to the Spirit, and if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live (Rom 8:1-17).
And John said that if we say we have fellowship with God, but we walk (in conduct, in practice, in lifestyle) in darkness (sin, wickedness), that we are liars who don’t live by the truth. But if we walk in the light (righteousness, truth) as God is in the light, the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin (1 Jn 1:5-9).
Paul let the church know that faith in Jesus Christ means we don’t live like we did before we believed in Jesus. We aren’t supposed to be giving ourselves over to sensuality and the practice of every kind of impurity. Faith in Jesus Christ is not free license to continue living in sin (Eph 4:17-19).
He said that that is not the way we should have learned Christ. And then he said that the truth in Jesus is to put off our old self, which belongs to our former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of our minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness (Eph 4:20-24).
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”
Romans 10:16-21 ESV
“But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.
But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for
“Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
and their words to the ends of the world.”
But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,
“I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,
“I have been found by those who did not seek me;
I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”
But they have not all OBEYED the gospel. It seems most have not, for far too many are believing the lies instead of the truth, and they are convinced that they don’t have to obey the Lord or turn from their sins or submit to Christ as Lord. Or they believe their present sins don’t matter to God.
But it isn’t that they don’t know the truth. It isn’t that they don’t know right from wrong or good from evil, but that they don’t want to obey the truth because they want to continue living in their sin, so they are without excuse (Rom 1:18-32).
Now, the “Israel” being referred to in this context I believe is speaking of the Jewish nation, for this chapter is regarding Paul’s concern for their salvation, though the lessons in this chapter are not just for the Jews but for all people.
But since Jesus died on the cross, rose from the dead, ascended back to the Father, and sent his Holy Spirit to indwell his followers, the Israel of God has been all who believe on Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile by birth, for Jesus Christ is the promised seed of Abraham, so all who believe in Jesus are Israel, and all who do not are not Israel.
[Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 3:10, 16, 26-29; Gal. 4:22-31; Eph. 2:14-18; 1 Jn. 2:22]
So, this can also be applied to those who have believed in Jesus but who have since fallen back into sin or to those making a profession of faith only in Jesus Christ who are seeking to establish their own righteousness based on the flesh and not on the Spirit of God.
For truly the Lord is presently holding out his hands to an obstinate and disobedient people who call him their Savior and Lord. And he is calling them to humble themselves before him, to repent of their sins, to surrender their lives to him, and to now walk in his ways according to his will.
Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer
Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897
Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.
Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.
O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.
O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.
Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.
*Caution: This link may contain ads