His Achievement Are We
INVOKING AND AVOWING
If ever you should be avowing with your mouth the declaration
that Jesus is Lord, and should be believing in your heart that God rouses Him from among
the dead, you shall be saved. (Rom.10:9)
THIS VERSE is probably employed more than any other in todays
popular, formularized preaching in which advice is given concerning how to get
saved. Such an interpretation and application, however, is a gross misuse of the
Word of God. This important text must not not be taken out of its context, divorced from
its setting, and assigned an altogether new purpose of our own devising.
our consideration of this passage, it should first of all be noted that Paul is not
speaking here concerning the nations, but Israel. The subject of the context is the
salvation of Israel; the pronouns you and your are in reference to
individuals of that nation. Their salvation was the delight of Pauls heart as well
as his petition to God (Rom.9:31-10:1).
should further be noted that the usage of if ever, does not speak of a
salvation that is in doubt, but of a salvation that is certain to occurfor
the phrase if ever, if is not the if of doubt but of argument. It
is the practical equivalent of whenever, in reference to the salvation which will
then be occurring. The sense is, Whenever the sons of Israel should finally be avowing
with their mouth the declaration that Jesus is Lord, and should be believing in their
heart that God rouses Him from among the dead, they shall be being saved.
teaching of practically the entirety of Romans 10 and 11 is that God does not
thrust away His people whom He foreknew (Rom.11:2), and hence that the day will yet come
when all Israel shall be saved (Rom.11:26a). Israel will then be saved not
only out of her stubbornness and unbelief, but out of the great affliction which shall
befall her in the conclusion of the eon. In that day, Arriving out of Zion shall be
the Rescuer. He will be turning away irreverence from Jacob. And this is My covenant with
them, whenever I [Yahweh] should be eliminating their sins (Rom.11:26b,27;
cit. Isa.59:20,21; Psa.14:7; Jer.31:34).
it is gloriously true that if ever Israel should be avowing with their mouth
the declaration that Jesus is Lord, and should be believing in their heart that God rouses
Him from among the dead, they shall be saved. They will then enter into the
particular salvation which God has for them, that of life in the terrestrial kingdom in
the coming eon, according to the writings of the prophets.
zeal, religious fervor, coupled with self-righteousness, does not lead to salvation. God
demands subjection to His righteousness in Christ. The law should establish Israels unrighteousness
and thus reveal Gods righteousness, which is manifested in Christ. Israel, as a
nation, will be saved when they see Him Whom they stabbed, and recognize Him as their
law demanded obedience first, and promised life to those only who continued to keep it.
But even in the law there was provision for faith. It taught that Yahweh Himself, He
was their Life (Deut.30:20). In the day when He gathers them out of the peoples and brings
them back into the land He will bring the word of faith very near to them (Deut.30:1-14).
In place of their own efforts He will put the humiliation and resurrection of Christ
before them. Their salvation, under God, will depend on their avowal of Christs
lordship and resurrection.
the words, Whoever should be invoking the name of the Lord, shall be saved
(Rom.10:13; cit. Joel 2:32), there is an allusion to the ancient custom, still in vogue in
eastern lands, of the right of sanctuary (cp Num.35:6-28). One who is in danger of
death by the hand of the blood avenger, if he cannot reach a safe place in time, may
invoke the name of some great and powerful person, and thus find salvation through his
name. If the avengers of blood refuse to listen to his appeal, and take his life, it
devolves upon the person on whose name he has called to take swift and summary vengeance.
He gathers together all his friends and allies to assist him in punishing the outrage and
in defending the honor of his name.
Whoever should be invoking the name of [Yahweh], shall be saved. When
vengeance visits the earth, the only shelter will be the name of Yahweh. Therefore, it
will require not only heart belief, but the avowal of the mouth. Thus it is that Israel
will be saved and all others who, in that day, will seek refuge in His name. 1
full text of Joel 2:32 (from which Paul cites in Romans 10:9 and 10:13) is: And it
comes that everyone who shall call on the name of Yahweh shall escape, for in Mount
Zion and in Jerusalem deliverance shall come to be, just as Yahweh says; and
among the survivors are those whom Yahweh is calling. All such ones will then
call on the name of Yahweh and escape, for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, His deliverance
shall come to be. Their invocation of His name will be because of His deliverance,
according to His calling. Hence their invocation should never be conceived as a means
controlled by man in order to gain His deliverance.
is especially wrong, then, to wrench these words from their context and employ them as a
formula today, setting these words before the listener as how to
advice as to what requirements he must fulfill in order to get saved, or,
is true, incidentally, whenever anyone today is graciously enabled to recognize and avow
that Jesus is Lord and to believe in his heart that God has roused Him from among the
dead, that he then enters into a certain salvation of his own. But it is a salvation from
ignorance and unbelief, not from being unchosen by God prior to this time. And it is
certainly not some sort of qualifying step which then obligates God to include him among
His chosen ones in return.
we were chosen by God long before we were born, in accord with His purpose and the grace
given to us in Christ Jesus before times eonian. In the counsels of God, it was actually
given to us. This is what Paul says (2 Tim.1:9); not that
it was merely made available to all who might one day qualify themselves for
its possession. Membership in the body of Christ is by Gods grace, not by human
long as we are altogether stubborn toward the things of God, we are soulish, not
having the spirit (cf Jude 19). Now the soulish man is not receiving
those things which are of the spirit of God, for they are stupidity to him, and he is
not able to know them, seeing that they are spiritually examined
either has the spirit of God or else he does not. If he does not have it, he does
nothe cannotreceive those things which are of Gods spirit. Indeed, the
truth is, claim what he will, such a person considers them to be so much stupidity. He is
unable even to know the things of God, much less to speak of them before others. No
one is able to say Lord is Jesus except by [en, in] holy
spirit (1 Cor.12:3).
who do not yet have the spirit of God do not receive Christ at all actually, even if they,
in their own flesh, may attempt to do so, having been misled into such a course through
false teachings. In such cases, the faith is feigned, in the sense
that it is simulated (eikê, SIMULATEly;
1 Cor.15:2), not genuine. Human efforts toward self-conviction are all in vain; we
truly believe only when God graces us to do so, in His own time and according to
His own powerful operations (cp Gal.1:15; 1 Tim.1:16).
those who have already been given Gods spirit receive Christ; their receiving of Him
is a fruit thereof, as naturaland as much the work of Godas the spring
blossoms on an apple tree.
INVOKING THE NAME OF THE LORD
On this subject, Dean Hough wrote, It is ironic that these
words of Paul [in Romans 10:9] should have been taken as standardized directions which
must be followed if a person wants to be saved. Faith itself is thus given a legalistic
twist, contrary to the whole tenor of Pauls apostleship. Even in addressing Israel,
the apostle is not imposing a set of rules for them to follow in gaining their salvation.
Rather he is showing the pathway Israel needs to take, and indeed will eventually
take, for the enjoyment of the salvation God has provided for them. It is a pathway of
discovery, not human achievement. The salvation does not arise from either the avowal or
the faith, but is found through their exercise . . . .
previous verses [Rom.10:6,7] show what Israel must not be saying if they wish to
exhibit faith in Gods words and enjoy the blessings of salvation. This verse shows
the opposite. Here is what they will be saying in response to true faith in the
heart. They will acknowledge the lordship of Jesus, the One Who walked among them as a
servant and Who was crucified as a criminal. And they will believe that God roused Him
from among the dead . . . .
acclamation of the mouth [Rom.10:10], in the Scriptures, is an open expression of what is
honestly believed. It must not be false. The Lord said, Out of the superabundance of
the heart the mouth is speaking (Matt.12:34). The sacredness of such an avowal can
be traced back to the ten words of the law, where it is written, You
shall not take up the name of Yahweh your Elohim for futility (Ex.20:7). What is
said concerning God and His operations is to reflect His glory and manifest Israels
confidence in Him.
However, . . . even
that future expression of Israels faith will not actually make them righteous or
gain them salvation. What Paul has written concerning us in the earlier chapters of Romans
and what he says concerning Israel in chapter 11 will help us supply the ellipses,
somewhat along the following lines: For with the heart it is believed for [the
manifestation of] righteousness [established by God], yet with the mouth it is avowed for
[the continuing display of] salvation [gained through Christs descent, death and
matters in brackets, though helpful to us in following the overall teaching of Romans, are
not of immediate importance in Romans 10. Here Paul is presenting the way to righteousness
(by faith) in a manner most calculated to appeal to and be understood by Israel, so as to
make the strength of Israels resistance all the more evident. He is not concerned
here with the basis and purpose of salvation, but with the simple human situation which is
the evidence of that salvation . . . .
attractiveness of the evangel, especially to those zealous for righteousness, is so great
that we can only marvel at the strength of Israels stubbornness. Yet we would be the
same apart from the grace of God. Israel remains under the disgrace of disbelieving God,
stumbling and tripping, desiring the anathema of rejecting Christ, while we have the joy
and peace of believing on Him Who is the Saviour of all mankind.
everyone, whoever should be invoking the name of the Lord, shall be saved
(Rom.10:13). Once more Paul borrows from the Hebrew Scriptures, this time from Joel 2:32.
This continued tying in of Old Testament passages with the message Paul was presenting
before Israel should logically have made that message more welcome to them. The harmony of
salvation through faith with the proclamations and pleas of the prophets is very striking,
especially considering the place of the law in the days of such stalwarts as Isaiah and
Joel. No wonder Paul testifies that the evangel of God was promised before through His
prophets (Rom.1:1,2), and that the righteousness of God was attested by the law and
the prophets (Rom.3:21)!
differences between Paul and Joel are obvious to anyone who considers each passage in its
context. But the similarities are what the apostle emphasizes here. The pathway to
salvation is not distant, complicated or obscure. It is straightforward and near at hand.
All Israel needs to do is believe, proclaim and invoke. But still they are locked up in
stubbornness and will not heed a message of such bountiful mercy.
for us, we are aware that God is operating, and He is operating all, even the affairs of
Israel. He is operating all these matters together, in a harmonious and glorious way. And
He is operating them all together for good. This is the faith that God has implanted in
our hearts and which we rejoice in acclaiming with our mouths, to the glory of God the
DECEPTIONS OF SUBJECTIVITY
Spontaneous informal petitions, prayers, pleadings, and
thanksgiving to God, as circumstance evokes or occasion inspires, are but the natural
outflow of our spirits. As the desire or need arises, such prayer and praise, even if very
brief, is often most heartfelt and earnest. If we are walking in spirit, in the
course of everyday life many occasions arise, or may well be before us continually, in
which either petition or praise are regularly in our consciousness if not on our lips,
even as they become our unintermittent experience, in spirit. Conversely, often, when we
are not walking in spirit, it is both the painful trials and the special joys of
the day that serve to awaken us to reliance upon God even as to thanksgiving and praise
unto Him, in the name of Christ.
order to minimize the intrusion of the flesh, ordinarily, except for brief public blessing
or supplication, prayer should be made in hiding; that is, either privately or
in silence (so to speak, in your storeroom, after locking your
door; Matt.6:6). Indeed, it is the hypocrites who are prolix
(i.e., abundant and extended) in prayer (Luke 20:47), who thus engage themselves that they
may be seen of men, making useless repetitions even as those of the nations
(Matt.6:7). Even though such prayers are directed to the God of Israel, faithfully
speaking, they are largely but useless repetitions, even so. The Lord Jesus
declared of such ones, They are supposing that they will be hearkened to in their
loquacity. Do not, then, be like them, for aware is God, your Father, of what you
need before you request Him (Matt.6:8).
in general and communion with God in particular, must be natural and sensible, not
contrived, artificial, or sensuous. Yet as a technique by which they suppose they can
regulate the flesh and gain the spirit, some will repetitively vocalize such
phrases as, O Lord Jesus! O Lord Jesus! doing so with much zeal and great
gusto. Though this mantra-like practice is termed by some, Calling on the name of
the Lord, it might more aptly be called, Calling out the name of the
Lord, since, as ordinarily practiced, with much repetition of phrases, it becomes
not so much a prayer of dependence upon God as a mood-altering technique, controlled by
if such procedures are practiced with sufficient frequency and sincerity, certain positive
effects will be obtained as a resultespecially if one is taught to expect such
results. Such essentially pagan practices will often induce a certain ephemeral euphoria,
which, in turn, deters those thus distracted from certain overt sins. Ones
dependence upon such subjective, self-generated emotionalism, however, hinders if not
precludes ones dependence upon God.
exuberant vocalizings and related practices are, in fact, as fleshly and injurious in
their way as those more conventional fleshly thoughts and deeds which they are designed to
attenuate. Self-regulated experiences of ebullience, albeit in the name of Christ,
constitute a spurious spirituality. Irrational, self-generated emotionalism is unhealthy,
not to mention unwise. For some, such religiosity may gratify the senses or distract the
flesh; but it cannot truly nourish the spirit of any. Nor is any such aura of religious
euphoria somehow useful in preparation for the spirits presenceas if the
Almighty had need of our crude devices in order that His testimony might be heard or His
influences rendered effectual.
INVITATIONS AND ALTAR CALLS
Many have been deceived into conceiving of the evangel in proud and
conditional ways through the false teachings of those who have been unfaithful to its
message. Ever so many have been put through the paces of taking part in an
acceptance of Christ which supposedly only brought salvation to them inasmuch
as they fulfilled its terms. Such claims and practices have only perpetuated
confusion and deception. Wherever God intends, however, the power of the evangel itself
still works salvationin spite of the presence of these errors.
customary invitation or altar call of today is simply a vain tradition of men (cp
Mark 7:8). It is used because it gets results. Through such means, many become
converts to the Christian religion. Such popular techniques are based upon the
false idea which has well been termed decisional regeneration. The number of
those from among such throngs whom God Himself has already chosen is known to Him, not to
into the terrestrial kingdom under law is one thing; the apostle Pauls evangel of
grace among the nations is quite another. Yet on the basis of Matthew 10:32,33 (and Luke
12:8,9), many today are warned that they must not only believe but also
confess Christ before men in order to be saved. The scope of these words,
however, is confined to the Circumcision. It is true that it was necessary for those
called into Christ through the evangel of the Circumcision to heed all such
instructions if they would enter into life. God, however, graciously fulfilled in His
chosen ones all essential obedience (cp Isa.26:12). They would have life eonian
only if they obeyed; but their obedience was due solely to His grace.
the Circumcision calling, personal righteousness and endurance are essential, but
they are not provided by man. Those in Christ of that calling, whether in the beginning or
end of their life of faith, are saved entirely in grace, as much as ourselves. The throngs
at large, some of whom had a certain recognition of Christ, must be distinguished from
those who were truly chosen of God, begotten anew and in Christ.
matters as these do not concern us; it is a corruption of Pauls evangel to attempt
to incorporate them into his message, especially when the grace which alone can
fulfill the essential obedience of that calling is denied.
ourselves, it is not that we must acclaim Christ, but simply that we gladly do so,
according to His grace. We should not speak of confessing Christ, but of
acclaiming Him. When exomologeġ (OUT-LIKE-LAY
[say]) is used in a positive sense, the CV translates it acclaim (e.g.,
Matt.11:25). When it is used concerning sin, it is translated confess (e.g.,
Matt.3:6). If a new believer should wish to share his first joy in Christ with others
during a meeting of his fellow believers, this should be encouraged. But such actions must
not be psychologically induced, or made into veritable laws or ceremonies.
may actually believe for some time before they ever go forward at a church
service. If so, they are already in Christ, and complete in Him (cf
Col.2:10). But if their faith has lacked commitment and obedience, not yet knowing His
grace, they may well suppose that by taking part in this tradition they will somehow
motivate God to bless them in return. Indeed, orthodoxy teaches this error,
and proclaims it as truth.
If any should
genuinely believe for the first time during such a meeting, this will be so only because
God has decided to grant them faith in the message of Christ crucified upon
this particular occasion. If so, one should glory in God in it all, in Gods good
pleasure to be graciously granting faith, and not taint such a marvelous occasion with an
abundance of boastful imaginings about having done ones part by going
forward at the altar call.
May our God and
Father give us grace not only to be invoking (calling upon, or petitioning) the
Lord out of a clean heart (2 Tim.2:22), but to be correctly cutting the word of truth
(2 Tim.2:15), heralding the evangel of His grace to the honor of His name.
1. adapted from A. E. Knoch, CONCORDANT
2. Unsearchable Riches, vol.74, pp.91-96, Faith
in Heart and Mouth.
Copyright İ Concordant Publishing Concern
P.O. Box 449, Almont, MI 48003 810-798-3563
This publication may be reproduced for personal use
(all other rights reserved by copyright holder).