“And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Acts 2:21, AV)
While I was stationed in the U.S. Army Germany, our company spent 6 weeks at the combined Arms Training Center. One of the strange things that happened on one of our off days involved a phone booth. In those days, when soldiers went to the field there was usually no voice contact with home. There was no internet or cellphones, so normally when one went off for a month or so, he would have no contact except for letters sent by mail. Married soldiers longed to hear the voices of their spouses.
We were fortunate on this exercise because there was a phone booth just a couple blocks from the barracks where our soldiers were staying. The German phone booths were interesting. You would put Deutsch Mark coins into a visible chute, make your call, and as you were talking, you could watch the phone gobble up your money faster than having a hole in your pocket. Phone calls were very expensive.
Well, one of our troops went to make a phone call with a couple others. He dropped a few Marks into the phone, began speaking with his wife, and something unusual happened. The phone stopped gobbling up money. The coins were stuck and the call did not end. So, after he spoke with his wife, he had her get the other wives in the housing area and he sent word to the barracks for all the men who wanted to speak to their wives to come to the phone booth. Everyone who came got to speak with their wives for free.
In Peter’s great evangelistic sermon, he presented a profound truth. He stated that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord would be saved. I am not sure the Jews who heard the sermon understood the full implication of that statement. They likely held to the thinking of the day, that salvation was for the Jews only. They may have considered folks like the Samaritans or the Gentiles to be excluded from this salvation. Yet, Peter’s word fit perfectly with God’s promise to Abraham that through His seed, all the nations of the earth would be blessed (Gen 18:18; 22:18; 26:4). It also agreed with Jesus’ teaching to make disciples of all the nations (Matt 28:18-20). There are multitudes of people who we often think are beyond the reach of God’s salvation. This is absolutely wrong. We must continue to proclaim the gospel and pray for them.
Jesus made salvation available for all. However, Peter’s statement indicates that only those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. What does it mean to call upon the name of the Lord? The only ones who will call upon the name of the Lord for salvation, are those who recognize their sin problem, the coming judgment for their sin, their inability to save themselves by good works, and that they must trust in the finished work of Christ who died on the cross to pay the penalty of their sin.
Everyone can make this call, that is to call upon the name of the Lord. However not all will. Like those soldiers who responded to the invitation to speak with their wives for free, it will cost a person nothing to make this call upon the name of the Lord. Jesus has paid the complete price already. However, just like the soldiers in Germany who were too lazy or preoccupied to go to the phone booth, there are many who will not call upon the name of the Lord and be saved. Perhaps they just do not understand, or do not believe, but the opportunity is there. For, “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”