February 15, 2015

In this issue: Calling on the Name of the Lord by Marshall McDaniel | Politics or God? by Chris Carter

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Marshall McDaniel

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

This promise is found throughout the Scriptures and is intended to instill in us the hope that God can and will save us, if we will turn to Him. Yet, among professed Christians today, this statement is the source of confusion and debate; many affirm that calling on the name of the Lord simply involves faith accompanied by repentance and prayer—specifically a “sinner’s prayer.” But is this what the Bible teaches? What is meant by calling on the name of the Lord?

We note, first, that calling on the name of the Lord is not merely a New Testament concept; it is rooted in the Old Testament. It is first mentioned in Genesis 4:26, but faithful individuals, like Abraham, David, and Elijah, also called on the Lord for salvation and blessing, and in worship (see Genesis 12:8; Psalm 18:6; 1 Kings 18:24). Yet, such was not simply making a request; it required seeking God, forsaking evil, and returning to the Lord (see Isaiah 55:6; Jeremiah 29:12-13). In essence, it meant, by faith, doing whatever God expected.

The New Testament continues with the same understanding but defines it in view of the grace shown through the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible does not teach that a “sinner’s prayer” is the means to salvation. (In fact, the “sinner’s prayer” as it is taught today is found nowhere in the Old or New Testaments.) Instead, we learn that we are forgiven of our sins by God’s grace through our faith—which involves obedience—in the Lord (see Ephesians 2:8; Hebrews 5:9).

So how do we call on the name of the Lord today? There are two passages in the New Testament that explicitly state that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:13). In Romans 10, we learn that calling on the name of the Lord includes various actions associated with faith and obedience: (1) hearing and believing the word of Christ (vv. 14-17) and (2) believing and confessing the Lordship of Jesus (vv. 8-12). We can now begin to outline what it means to call on the name of the Lord:

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved = Everyone who hears, believes, and confesses the name of Jesus will be saved

The New Testament does not, however, conclude with the above actions. We learn in Acts 2 that calling on the name of the Lord does involve recognizing Jesus as Lord but places other conditions on our salvation (forgiveness): (1) repentance and (2) baptism (v. 38). (It is worth noting that there is a connection between calling on the name of the Lord (v. 21) and being baptized in (literally, on) the name of Jesus Christ (v. 38)). Thus:

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved = Everyone who hears, believes, confesses, repents, and is baptized in the name of Jesus will be saved

Though many reject the necessity of baptism as part of calling on the name of the Lord, it is precisely at this point that God has determined that we are calling on Him for salvation. The Bible even says, Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name (Acts 22:16; see also 1 Peter 3:21; Romans 6:3-4; Mark 16:16). Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, but anyone who has not heard, believed, repented, confessed, and been baptized has not called on His name. The question, then, comes to you and to me:

“Have I called on the name of the Lord?” ~

Politics or God?

by Chris Carter

Anyone who pays attention to current events can plainly see that our nation is moving in a direction which not only threatens the freedoms with which we’ve been blessed, but our religious liberty as well. Few of our elected officials seem willing to take a godly stand on anything, choosing instead to bow to the so called status quo. Worse still, it seems we are powerless to stop them.

Often, in the few minutes before worship or study assemblies begin, brethren will make small talk, which sometimes turns to the terrible state of affairs in modern politics. I call on my brethren to consider that, while these things may be true, expressions of our political frustrations, at a time when we have assembled for a spiritual purpose, cannot edify us or glorify God. We’ve come together to be built up spiritually, and refreshed from our weary dealings with the world; why create a distraction to our meeting and possibly place a stumbling block before others? Political discussions before and after assemblies are as distracting as waiting on the Lords table and accidentally catching sight of a woman’s immodest dress during the observance. One may not dwell on what one saw, but the extra effort distracts from a most solemn occasion. We should never be distracted by the world as we attempt to do God’s will.

I too am disgusted by the political landscape. Working near the nation’s capital as I do, it’s difficult to ignore the situation. But one thing God has granted, which helps more than I can express; I’ve come to understand more fully the trust we must place in Him. Our focus is to remain upon God and the cross of Christ. How well Paul spoke when he told the church in Corinth “For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified”. (1 Cor. 2.2)

Consider that what is occurring may be according to Gods plan. He may be removing his blessing from a nation which murders unborn children and embraces sin as righteousness (Psalm 33:12). Whatever becomes of this nation will affect us too, perhaps more so. When God punished Israel by delivering them into Babylonian captivity, wasn’t the righteous Ezekiel swept up with the unrighteous? Rather than attempting to escape God’s judgment by running away to Egypt, Ezekiel became a watchman to the people (Ezekiel 3:18). Remember Gamaliel’s warning to his fellow leaders; “But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God." (Acts 5:39)

Haven’t we all thought that, unlike Peter, we would confess knowing Christ? Then let’s see what we’re really made of. It’s possible that some day our government will require all churches to adhere to approved teaching which will directly conflict with God’s will. As His church, we cannot obey such rulings. What then, are we to do; bow to the government, run and hide within the denominations or place our trust in God and take what comes? Brethren, the answer is obvious. Perhaps someday we may have to meet behind rocks and sing in hushed tones in order to worship; God’s church wasn’t destroyed when these things occurred in the 1st century, nor can it now be.

I gently caution everyone; please consider what you say and do before others before, during and after each assembly. We’re in a great spiritual struggle (Eph. 6:12) and we need to keep our eye on the promised reward (Gal. 6:9), which is to be in God’s presence for eternity. ~

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