Weekly Meditation - 13th August 2017
“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10 v 13). But who is this Lord on whom we must call? The words, quoted by Paul in his letter to the Romans, are from the prophecy of Joel (2 v 32) and are referring to the LORD, the God whose name in Hebrew is represented by the four letters YHWH, generally rendered Yahweh or Jehovah. So is it one of those names we should call on for salvation?
Paul is developing an argument in Romans 10 v 5 onwards. He begins by contrasting “the righteousness that is by the Law” with “the righteousness that is by faith.” This new righteousness does not require feats of skill or bravery (“who will ascend into heaven” or “descend into the deep”). On the contrary, the word of faith he is proclaiming “is near”. We are saved if we confess and believe that “Jesus is Lord”.
Anyone who “trusts in him will never be put to shame”. Here Paul is quoting Isaiah 28:16 which is a clear reference to the Messiah, God’s cornerstone. So the one in whom we are to trust is Jesus.
This same Lord is “Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him.” Again, this is unequivocally Jesus, to whom“all authority... has been given” (Matthew 28:18) and whom the early Church recognised as “Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). Building to his climax, Paul is making a resounding statement that if we call on the name of the Lord Jesus, we will be saved.
Jesus is, in this way, accorded the highest honour; equal to the Father, synonymous with the LORD of the Old Testament. It is no surprise, then, that in our gospel reading (Matthew 14:22-33) we should encounter Jesus commanding wind, waves and gravity, acknowledged as “truly ... the Son of God”, and worshipped by his disciples.
The name “Jesus” is not a password, however; it is not a word we can simply parrot in order to be saved. We have to believe in our hearts (Romans 10:9). Faith is built on understanding, and understanding is taught. With a Lord like Jesus, we should proclaim him. If people have not heard of Jesus, how can they call on him, and how can they hear without someone to preach? (Romans 10:14). If we are able to convey something of the wonder and majesty of Jesus to those who do not yet believe, our feet will indeed be as “beautiful” (v 15) as the Bible promises.
Written by Susan Thorne