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 49a of 83

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

The apostle Paul has just proven that the way of righteousness and salvation whether in the Old or New Testament is the same. It is by faith rather than by the law. Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believes.

The law pointed to and led to Christ for righteousness and salvation. Those who believe in Christ are perfect in righteousness in God’s eyes, and therefore cease to try to win their own righteousness by law-keeping.

Indeed, as Paul has made clear, it is impossible for fallen man to obtain righteousness by law-keeping. Righteousness must be obtain by faith in Christ.

Everyone who believes in his heart that God raised Jesus from the dead and confesses with his mouth that Jesus is his Lord, shall be saved!

This is the teaching of the Scriptures; and it is true for all: whether Old Testament Jews or New Testament Jews and Gentiles.

This is what Paul is seeking to teach us from verse 9-13. We have already look at these verses briefly in our previous study.

In this follow-up study, we want to focus on verse 13—

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

This verse is so familiar that we tend to gloss over the words and assume that we understand what Paul is saying. It is no wonder that a lot of misunderstanding has arisen out of this verse and the surrounding verses.

Let me illustrate what I am saying: Suppose you hear an announcement that next Sabbath the preacher will be preaching on Romans 10:13, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” What kind of sermon would you be expecting? Will you not immediately think that it’s going to be an evangelistic sermon targeting the unbelievers? It is a fact, is it not, that many of us have the idea that Roman 10:13, and for that matter, the whole paragraph, from verse 9 to verse 13, is for unbelievers rather than believers. They are applicable to unbeliever, (we think) but not quite applicable to believers because we have graduated!

Well, I am afraid if you have such a view, then you are holding on to an erroneous idea.

The Lord helping us, we want to correct this error by studying the verse carefully. We want to do so by looking at three words that appear in it and are also repeated in the context. If we understand these words, it will not only help us to know what Paul is really saying but to apply what he is saying accurately into our life.

In particular, we must consider the words: (1) whosoever, (2) saved and (3) call.

Consider first the word: ‘whosoever’.

1.  Whosoever

Paul says: “whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (v. 13). He uses the word ‘whosoever’ not only here, but in verse 11—“Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (v. 11).

What does ‘whosoever’ mean? ‘Whosoever’ means ‘anyone’ or ‘everyone’. Everyone who believes on Christ shall not be ashamed. Everyone who calls upon the name of Christ shall be saved.

Paul uses the word ‘all’ twice with the same effect in verse 12—“the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.” There is no exception.

What is Paul trying to bring across with these repetitions of universal words? Many preachers today will place great emphasis on these words as well as the word ‘world’ as in John 3:16—“For God so love the world…”

They say: “You see from these words that God loves everyone without exception and He is offering salvation to all with a gracious desire to save all. And now, it is up to man to believe.”

Well, I am not so sure.

I do not see in the text that this is what Paul is seeking to convey. In fact, Paul makes it very clear what he means by whosoever. He makes it clear in verse 12, which is smack between the two ‘whosoever’s—

12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

It is clear, is it not, that by using the words ‘whosever’ and ‘all’, Paul is not at all saying that “God wants to save everyone.” To read him as saying that is to read into his words. All he is saying is that salvation is no longer confined to the nation of Israel. The word ‘whosoever’ means ‘regardless of whether you are Jew or Gentile.’ The word ‘Greek’ here refers to the whole gentile world.

Paul is simply saying that there is no difference between the way of salvation for the Jews and the Gentiles. Both Jews and Gentiles are saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, never by law-keeping.

Yes, in the Old Dispensation, the way of righteousness-and-salvation-by-faith was wrapped up in the law.

Think of a package. The content of the package was righteousness-and-salvation-by-faith. But there was a wrapper around it. The wrapper is the Law. And there is an address label on this wrapper. It is addressed to the Jews. Only the Jews had access to the content of the package because the Law was given to the Jews. That is: Under the Old Covenant, the way of access to righteousness-and-salvation-by-faith was through the Law.

So all who were saved in the Old Covenant were obliged to attain righteousness-by-faith through the Law. Even Gentiles who were saved in the Old Dispensation had to become proselytes and had to keep the Law like native born Jews. Salvation at that time was distinctly Jewish for salvation was wrapped up in the Law.

But when Christ came, the wrapper of the Law fell away.  Today the package of salvation is available to all without distinction, —whether we be Jews or Gentiles.

Paul spoke about this in Ephesians 2 using the analogy of a middle wall of partition. The Law, he suggests, is a middle wall of partition between the Jews and the Gentiles. But when Christ came, He tore down the wall so that through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father (Eph 2:11-22).

This then is what the apostle is seeking to bring to our attention by the word ‘whosoever’ and ‘all.’ He is not saying that God has a gracious desire to save everyone in the world without exception. He is simply speaking about how the wrapper of the law has been removed and how all who believe on Christ would be saved, —there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles.

Let us not read our own ideas into the Word of God and say what God does not say.

But now what is it to be saved?.

…to be Continued Next Issue

—JJ Lim