Whosoever Shall Call

In a Brief Survey of the Epistle of Paul to the Romans
Based on sermons preached in PCC Worship Services, July 2003 to Sep 2005
Part 49c of 83


“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

[We have begun a careful study of this famous verse by looking at the three most significant words it contains: whosoever, call and saved. In our previous instalment, we saw that Paul uses the word ‘whosoever’ not so much to emphasise universality as to stress that there is now neither Jews nor Gentiles. All man, regardless of race may find Salvation by faith alone in Christ alone. In the second instalment, we considered the word ‘saved’ and saw that we are not just saved hell, but from sin and from the wrath of God.

In this final instalment, we shall consider the word ‘call’.—JJL]

3.  Call

The word ‘call’ appears not only in verse 13—“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” It appears also in verse 12—“the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

Now, the phrase “Call on the name of the Lord,” is frequently used in the Scriptures. Usually it means to worship the Lord.

Thus when we are told that Abraham built an altar in Bethel and there He called on the name of the LORD (Gen 12:8; Gen 13:4), we must realise that this means He worshiped the LORD there. However, the phrase means something more specific in our text. In verse 13, Paul is quoting from the Prophecy of Joel. In the context in Joel, the day of the Lord was at hand. It was a day of terror and destruction. But Joel says:

“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered…” (Joel 2:32).

What is Joel saying? Joel is saying that anyone who recognises the trouble that would come upon him, and cries out unto the Lord for help, will be delivered.

Paul is using this verse to show that anyone who is troubled by sin, guilt and the wrath of God can call upon the Lord; and he will be saved.

What does this teach us? It teaches us, —does it not, —something about those who are saved. We have seen that whosoever believes and confesses in the Lord Jesus Christ would be saved. But who are these who would confess and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?

They are not merely those who prefer heaven to hell. No one in this world in his right mind will prefer to go to hell rather than to heaven. So it is foolish to think that a person who prays to receive Christ just because he wants to go to heaven rather than to hell is a true believer.

Who then are those who truly believe and confess Christ? They are those who call upon the name of the Lord. Who are those who call upon the name of the Lord? They are not merely those who take the name of the Lord in their lips.

Some years ago I heard a pastor say that he went to visit a man who was dying in the hospital. He said the man could hardly talk. So he told the man, just say ‘Jesus’, and when the man said it, he said “Amen! He is saved!” Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved! But this cannot be what Paul mean! It borders on superstition to think that a man who has been living a life of sin all his life can at his death bed simply say ‘Jesus’ and he is saved. I am, of course, not saying that God could not save him, but I am saying that to be so sure on the basis of Romans 10:13 that a man who enunciates the name of Jesus is saved borders on superstition.

Who then are those who call upon the name of the Lord? They are those who know that they are without hope without Christ! They are those who know that they are sinful, guilty and worthy of the wrath of God.

These are those whom Christ came to save. Christ himself said:

“They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mk 2:17).

The Lord Jesus did not come to save the proud scribes and Pharisees. These considered themselves to be righteous. They would never confess Jesus as Lord. Christ came to save sinners. He came to save those who know that they are in trouble because of their sin.

Paul is affirming this doctrine when he says:

“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1Tm 1:15).

Christ came to save sinners. He did not come to save the righteous.

He came to save the poor. He is rich unto the poor who call upon Him. He is not rich to those who consider themselves already rich.

He did not come to save those who use to think themselves as sinners needing salvation, but are no more sinners today.

He came to save those who know that are sinners and continue to be sinners who cry out continually to Him.

So if you are a sinner in your own eyes and you cry out unto the Lord to save you, you must not doubt your salvation at all.

Do not say: “But I have sinned too grievously.” It is not about how sinful or righteous you are. Christ saves all sinners who call upon Him.

Do not say: “But I can’t forgive myself, how can God forgive me.” It is not about forgiving yourself. Nowhere in the Bible will you hear about the need to forgive yourself.

It is about the forgiveness of God for all who call upon Christ. If God has forgiven you, why do you reproach yourself and say you cannot forgive yourself. Turn to the Lord and say:

“Lord, I am a great sinner. You have said you came to save sinners. And you have invited sinners who are weary and heavy laden to cast their burdens upon you. Lord I am doing so. Save me I pray.”

Do not say: “But my faith is so weak.” Faith is a gift of God. Salvation is not only for those who have strong faith. That is not the question. The question is whether you recognise that you deserve nothing but the wrath of God. If you trust in the Lord and call upon Him for salvation, you will be saved!

Do not say: “But I keep falling into sin.” That makes no difference to the Gospel. Indeed, anyone who thinks that he does not fall into sin is simply fooling himself. So the question is not whether you keep falling into sin or not. The question is whether you call upon the name of the Lord and depend upon Him for righteousness.

Call, therefore, upon the Lord, dear reader. Call upon Him to save you. Call upon Him to work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure.


The apostle Paul says:

13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

With the Lord’s help, we have studied what Paul really means by looking at three much misunderstood terms.

We saw that Paul is not saying that God wants to save everyone. Rather, he is saying that today salvation is extended not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles. Anyone who is burden by sin, and guilt, and God’s wrath, who calls and continues to call upon Christ, will be saved. Such a person has been saved, is being saved and shall be saved.

I trust that in the process of our study you have been able to disabuse your minds of any false notions of the Gospel and salvation that you might have entertained, —for it would be terrible if at the Last Day you should discover that all these while you have been believing in a caricature of Christianity rather than the Christianity of the Scriptures.

But as we conclude I must ask you “Are you saved?”

Paul says: “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Amen.

—JJ Lim