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Chapter 3 - Romans 10:13

Chapter 3

Romans 10:13

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:13 is a citation of Joel 2:32, “Everyone who calls on the name of Yahweh will be saved”.

What is the connection of Romans 10:13 to Joel 2:32? Peter’s message at Pentecost cites a whole section of Joel, while Paul cites only one sentence here. The letter to the Romans was written about 30 years after the event at Pentecost, so could it be that Paul was quoting from Peter’s sermon at Pentecost? In the early church, the messages of the apostles were circulated among themselves (cf. Col 4:16; 1Thess 5:27) as the NT was only canonized much later in the 4th century.

When Paul wrote to the Romans, he had not visited Rome yet. Never­theless, he longed to visit them to impart spiritual gifts to strengthen them (Rom 1:11). Romans is Paul’s longest epistle in which he uses the occas­ion to write a detailed treatise on the message of salvation. The Gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jews first and the Greeks. For in it, the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith’” (Rom 1:16-17; cf. Hab 2:4). Righteousness and faith are the key themes of Romans.

To understand Romans 10:13, we need to study Romans 10 in the wider context of Romans 9–11.

Romans 9 – 11 concerns the salvation of Israel

Romans 9–11 deals with the salvation of Israel and how Israel’s fall resulted in the salvation of the Gentiles, finally leading to its climax that “all Israel will be saved.” In the end, the hope of salvation will return to the Jews with greater blessing.


The Greek words σωτηρία (salvation) and σώζω (to save) together occur 13 times in the book of Romans. When Greek words have the same root stem, they belong to the same word family.

The statistics in the above table [1] reveal that the subject of salvation is concentrated in Romans 9–11 with 8 occurrences, taking up more than half of the 13 total occurrences in all of Romans. The overarching theme of this section is God’s salvation for the Jews and Gentiles:

(1) A remnant will be saved (9:27).

(2) Paul’s heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved (10:1).

(3) Confessing with your mouth Jesus is Lord and believing in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you are saved (10:9).

(4) With the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved (10:10).

(5) Everyone who calls on the name of Lord will be saved (10:13).

(6) Salvation has come to the Gentiles so as to make Israel jealous (11:11).

(7) To make my fellow Jews jealous and thus save some of them (11:14).

(8) The climax: all Israel will be saved (11:26).

Significant words in Romans 9 - 11

A careful study of the special nouns and verbs used in Romans 9–11 can reveal further key words that are related to salvation.[2]


Key words related to salvation in Romans 9–11 are: God, speak, Israel, Gentiles, righteousness, Lord, Christ, believe and faith (the two are of the same word family), save and salvation (same word family), and mercy.

  1. θεός (God) has the highest frequency with 26 occurrences. The main concern is how Yahweh God accom­plishes the final salvation for Israel. The entire section is theocentric. A sentence block dia­gram of Romans 9-11 is provided in Appendix 3. This will allow the reader to see the main themes and Paul’s flow of thought easily. This whole section is God-centered, and ends with a doxology to God, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom 11:36).
  2. λέγω (to say, speak) has the next highest frequency with a greater concentration in Romans 10. Paul uses λέγω whenever he refers to Scripture (9:17; 10:11; 11:2); what God says (9:15, 25; 10:21; 11:4); what David says (11:9); and what Isaiah says (10:16, 20). He also uses “I say” referring to himself (9:1; 10:18, 19; 11:1, 11, 13).
  3. “Salvation” (3 times in noun form and 5 times in verbal form) con­cerns “Israel” (11 occurrences) and “Gentiles” (9 occurrences).
  4. “Believe” (πιστεύω) and “faith” (πίστις) belong to the same word fam­ily in Greek. Out of the 14 combined occurrences, 10 are concentrated in Romans 10.
  5. “Righteousness” (δικαιοσύνη) occurs 11 times, with a greater con­centration in Romans 10. A major theme of Romans 10 is that sinful men are without any righteousness of their own, therefore they need the righteousness of God for their salvation.
  6. “Lord” (κύριος) occurs 8 times. Sometimes “Lord” refers to Yahweh, and sometimes to Jesus.
  7. “Christ” (Χριστός) occurs 7 times, all in Romans 9 and 10. God’s righteousness is revealed and manifested in the person of Christ.
  8. “To have mercy” (ἐλεέω) occurs 7 times, found in Romans 9 and 11. For both Jews and Gentiles alike, God has mercy on all people.

Not all Israel is Israel

Romans 9:2-3 “That I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” (ESV)

As a fellow Jew, Paul was in deep sorrow for his countrymen because in the hardening of their hearts, the Jews have rejected Christ.

Romans 9:6 “It is not as though God’s word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.” (NIV)

God’s promises always hold true for the true Israel. There is a true Israel within Israel. Paul distinguishes two groups of Israelites: ethnic Israel and spiritual Israel. Even though the Jews are physical descendants of Israel, not all Israel belongs to the true Israel.

Israel is God’s chosen people, but not all God’s chosen people are chosen. Only the true Israel is chosen by God. Not all the offspring of Abraham are true children of Abraham. Not every child of Israel in the flesh is a child of promise.

To belong to Israel, it is necessary to become “children of the promise” (Rom 9:8) through faith in Christ. Those who belong to Christ are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise (Gal 3:29).

Not all the elect are the elect. Why? The Jews did not keep the law by faith and have stumbled over the stumbling stone (Rom 9:32). The crucified Christ was a stum­bling block to the Jews.

God raises a Remnant

Romans 9:27 “And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved.” (ESV, italics added)

Even though Israel as a whole has rejected Christ, the word of God has not failed. Not all the chosen people are turning to Christ for their salvation, but there is a remnant (κατάλειμμα) of Israel that will be saved.

God, in His mercy, preserves a seed (σπέρμα) for Israel, or else Israel would be completely extinct like Sodom and Gomorrah (v.29).

Romans 11:5 “So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace.” (ESV, italics added)

The remnant of the chosen ones is a sign of God’s provi­dence in the eventual realization and consummation of God’s promises for Israel and the nations. The true Israel includes both Jews and Gentiles. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything but the new creat­ion that embodies the true Israel of God (Gal 6:15-16). The Israel of God is the spiritual Israel. “For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.” (Rom 2:28-29)

All Israel will be saved

Romans 11:25-26 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob.” (ESV, italics added)

It is in God’s heart that all Israel will be saved. When the fullness of Gentiles comes in, God will put the focus of attention on the nation Israel.

Jesus is the Deliverer who will come from Zion to bring salvation to the entire nation of Israel. The same prophecy is predicted in Isaiah 59:20, “And a Redeemer will come to Zion, to those in Jacob who turn from transgression,” declares Yahweh. The Psalmist has the same long­ing, “Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When Yahweh restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad” (Ps 14:7).

Yahweh lays the stumbling stone

To understand Romans 10, special attention needs to be given to Romans 9:30-33. In Appendix 3, the sentence block diagram reveals Paul’s entire flow of thought from Romans 9 to Romans 10. Paul explains how Israel failed to obtain righteousness while the Gentiles were able to obtain righteousness before Yahweh God. Why such a big contrast? “Israel did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works” (Rom 9:32). The Jews pursued righteousness as though it were based on works. A man is saved not by works but by faith in God.

In God’s work of salvation, He lays a stone which people will either accept or stumble over. Who is the stone?

Romans 9:33 As it is written, “Behold I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (ESV, italics added)

In Romans 9-11, Paul alludes heavily to the book of Isaiah.

Isaiah 28:16, “Therefore thus says the Lord YHWH, ‘Behold, I am the one who has laid as a foundation in Zion, a stone, a tested stone, a precious cornerstone, of a sure foundation: Whoever believes will not be in haste.” (ESV, YHWH restored, italics and underline added)

The word “behold” draws your attention to the fact that Yahweh is the one who lays the stone in Zion. However, the descriptions of the stone are different. The stone can have a positive or a negative effect on the people. The positive is that it is a precious cornerstone to those who believe (Isa 28:16), but the negative is that the stone is an offence to those who stumble over it (Rom 9:33).

Paul also alludes to another passage in Isaiah regarding the stumbling stone.

Isaiah 8:13-15, “But YHWH of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he will be­come a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.” (ESV, underline added)

Isaiah is telling the people of Judah to put their confidence in Yahweh God. To those who refuse to trust in Yahweh, Yahweh will be a stone of offence and a rock of stumbling that will crush them in judgment. Because of the stone, many will stumble, fall, and be broken. They will be totally destroyed.

In Rom 9:33, Paul is alluding to these two Isaiah passages, specifi­cally these statements: (i) Isa 28:16a — Yahweh is the one who lays the stone; (ii) Isa 8:14 — Yahweh is a stone of offence and a rock of stum­bling.

The stumbling stone is a divine act of God:

  1. Yahweh Himself is a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling (Isa 8:14).
  2. Yahweh also makes Christ a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence (Rom 9:33).

The Jews actually stumbled over the person and work of the Messiah Jesus. The Jews refused to believe in Jesus as the Messiah, so they rejected him. Christ is a stumbling block to the Jews (1Cor 1:23).

In rejecting Christ, they have also rejected Yahweh God. The Jews did not just stumble over Christ, they also stumbled over Yahweh and His marvelous working in Christ.

Psalm 118:22-23, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This is YHWH’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” (ESV, YHWH restored and italics added; cf. Acts 4:11)

Jesus Christ was rejected by his own people. In rejecting Christ, the Jews were rejecting Yahweh, because it is Yahweh who laid the stone. They refused to believe in the work of salvation that Yahweh did in Jesus Christ. Christ became a stumbling stone to the Jews in their unbelief, but a cornerstone to the Gentiles who pursued righteous­ness by faith. Where the Jews failed, the Gentiles succeeded and attained right­eousness by faith.

The rejected stone has become “the cornerstone”. The purpose of the cornerstone is to give stability and security to the building. Jesus is the precious cornerstone. This brings to mind what Jesus said to the Pharisees regarding the stone: “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the corner­stone; this was the Lord’s doing and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” (Mt 21:42; cf. Mk 12:10-11; Lk 20:17)

God appoints Jesus to be the chosen and choice stone for our salva­tion. But how can the chief cornerstone end up being a rock of offense? The teaching of Jesus is offensive to those who lack faith. They stumble and trip over him because they are “disobedient” to the word (1Pet 2:8).

Jesus becomes a crushing stone of judgment to those who reject him. Jesus said, “Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken to pieces, and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” (Lk 20:18) Those who stumble over Jesus will fall to their own destruction. Simeon, while holding baby Jesus in the temple, recognized Jesus as the Messiah, the one anointed by God (Lk 2:25-26), for his eyes had seen God’s salvation (Lk 2:28-30). And the child is appointed “for the fall and rise of many in Israel”, a sign that is opposed so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed. (Lk 2:34-35)

To some, Jesus is the stone that causes them to stumble, while to others, Jesus is the cornerstone of their lives (Eph 2:20) such that “they will never be disappointed” (Rom 9:33; 1Pet 2:6).

The last section of Romans 9:31–33 acts as a preface to the next chap­ter. This section is crucial to help us understand Paul’s flow of thought to Romans 10.

Romans 10:1–13

How To Be Saved

Romans 10:13 needs to be expounded in its immediate context of Romans 10. By looking at some of the key words in Romans 10, we will be able to see significant details regarding salvation.


For conciseness, all conjunctive and preposit­ional words are excluded from the table or else it would be too unwieldy. All the words that occur two or more times are listed.[3]

The key words in Romans 10 are: to say, believe and faith (same word family), righteous­ness, God, word, Lord, Christ, heart, hearing and hear (same word family), to call on, preach, mouth, confess, save and salvation (same word family). We will look at these words closely in the following exposition.

The subject of salvation threads through this section beginning with verse 1 in which Paul expresses his desire that Israel may be saved, and culminating with the final salvation in verse 13, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved”.

Rom 10:1 … may be saved (or for their salvation)

Rom 10:9 … you will be saved

Rom 10:10 … and is saved (or resulting in salvation)

Rom 10:13 … will be saved

Paul uses the word “for” (γάρ) [4] nine times (vv.2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 12, 13) to connect all the points in explaining how one can be saved (v.1 and v.9).

We can further subdivide Romans 10:1-13 into two parts.

Part 1: That Israel may be saved (v.1)

This is Paul’s heart desire and prayer for his countrymen.

Reasons (vv.1-8):

  1. For (γάρ) they have a zeal for God but not according to know­ledge (v.2)
  2. For (γάρ) they are ignorant of the righteousness of God and seek to establish their own righteousness and did not submit to God’s righteousness (v.3)
  3. For (γάρ) Christ is the end of the law, so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes (v.4)
  4. For (γάρ) righteousness of the law by works vs the righteous­ness of God by faith (v.5-8)

The underlying theme is that Paul prays for Israel that they may be saved. Unfortunately, Israel failed in their zeal and misunderstood God’s right­eousness. The Jews thought they could establish their righteousness through the works of the law and refused to submit to God’s righteous­ness by faith.

For their salvation, the Jews needed to understand that the law has come to an end τέλος (telos). Telos in Greek means “a termination, the limit at which a thing ceases to be, always of the end of some act or state, but not of the end of a period of time” (TDNT). Now that Christ has come, Christ is the telos of the law. Paul says in Rom 3:21-22 that the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law (although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it) but the righteousness of God is through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. It doesn’t mean that the law is abolished, for Paul says to the Galatians that the law was our tutor until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith.” (Gal 3:24)

Paul then makes the contrast between a righteousness based on the law and a righteousness based on faith in Christ. Israel was pursuing a law leading to righteousness but they did not succeed in reaching that law (Rom 9:31-32). Why? Israel sought righteousness in the wrong way as if righteousness were based on works. The tragedy is that external obedience to Sabbath keeping, circumcision, and observance of feasts can become outward performances without an inner heart of obedience to God (Rom 6:17). What is important is whether one is a Jew inwardly, for circumcision is a matter of the heart (Rom 2:29). Faith begins from the heart. God wants heart obedience.

God’s word has not failed. Paul alludes to Lev 18:5; Deut 30:11–14, appealing to the Jews to put their trust in the word of faith that is in their heart (Rom 10:8). It is not the obedience of works but the obedience of heart that God requires.

Part 2: That you will be saved (v.9)

  1. If you confess Jesus is Lord with your mouth (v.9)
  2. And if you believe in your heart God raised Jesus from the dead (v.9)

Reasons (vv.10 – 13):

  1. For (γάρ) believing with the heart one is justified and confession with the mouth results in salvation (v.10)
  2. For (γάρ) everyone who believes in him shall not be put to shame (v.11)
  3. For (γάρ) there is no distinction between Jew and Greek (v.12)
  4. For (γάρ) the same Lord of all bestows riches to all who call on him (v.12)
  5. For (γάρ) everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved (v.13)

Romans 10:9 is therefore followed by five consecutive reasonings indi­cated by γάρ, finally reaching its climax in Romans 10:13. We will study Romans 10:9-13 carefully verse by verse.

Romans 10:9

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”

What is crucial for salvation is that we confess that Jesus is Lord, and believe that Yahweh raised Jesus from the dead. These two statements are interlinked because if Jesus were not raised from the dead, what would be the point of calling him Lord? Christ conquered death because Yahweh raised him up. Jesus is not dead but alive today, so we can call him Lord. He is the exalted Lord. “Lord” is not merely a courtesy title but expresses that Jesus is truly the master of our lives.

In the work of salvation, Yahweh is the One who empowers Jesus by raising him from the dead. When we submit to live under Jesus’ Lordship, we also submit to Yahweh. Our faith in Jesus expresses also our faith in Yahweh.

To confess and to believe are verbs in the active voice, aorist tense, and subjunctive mood. It is the responsibility of the subject (“you”) to respond to God’s salvation with active confession and active believing. The aorist tense in Greek puts the emphasis on the action without any reference to the time it takes to accomplish the action. The subjunctive mood of the verb in Greek can be interpreted as a probability or objective possibility. In this verse, under the condition of proper confessing and believing, the result of salvation should be possible.

“You will be saved” is the main clause of the sentence. The Greek word is σωθήσῃ — future tense, indicative mood, and passive voice. The verb in the future tense is dependent on the conditional “if” at the beginning of the verse. The indicative mood indicates the mood of assert­ion or presentation of certainty. The passive voice is used because the focus is on the action of “being saved”. You cannot save yourself. Yahweh is the One who saves you when you meet the requirements in the confession and believing.

Confess Jesus is Lord

The Christian life begins at the basic level where a public confession is made to declare Jesus is Lord and to live under His Lordship. Being a Christian is not a matter of making a decision to accept Jesus as your personal Savior. We become a born again Christian at baptism (Jn 3:5-6) when we declare Jesus as our Lord and submit our lives to live under Jesus’ Lordship every day. Lordship has to do with ownership. You don’t call anyone “Lord” unless you submit to the person’s authority. When Jesus is Lord, he is our master and we are his slaves. “Not I but Christ” (Gal 2:20). To say Jesus is Lord indicates an allegiance to Jesus who has complete command of our lives. No one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit (1Cor 12:3). The public confession is done by faith with the inner work of the Spirit in our lives to obey all of Jesus’ teaching (Mt 28:20).

When we conduct baptism at our church, the one who gets baptized makes a pledge to God — an oath of allegiance to love God with all his heart (Deut 6:4-5) — and to submit to Jesus as his Lord. Christ Jesus is the Lord (Col 2:6; 1Cor 8:6).

Our faith is strictly monotheistic as Jesus recognizes the Father as “the only true God” (Jn 17:3). Jesus never calls himself God. Instead Jesus identifies himself as the Christ sent by God (Jn 17:3) which distinguishes Jesus from God. It is God who exalted Jesus to be both “Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36) but not to be a deity.

The Bible clearly tells us to call Jesus “Lord” not “God”. As Paul says, “what we proclaim is not ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord” (2Cor 4:5a). Only when we are in total subjection to the Lordship of Christ can we say that we belong to God. We belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God (1Cor 3:23).

We call Jesus “Lord” because we are committed to do the will of the Father, just as Jesus did not seek to do his own will but the will of Him who sent him (Jn 5:30; 6:38). If we say “Lord Lord” and do not do the will of the Father, Jesus will say to us, “I never knew you” (Mt 7:21–23). An empty confession without doing the will of the Father is not saving faith.

Have faith in Yahweh God

It is not enough just to acknowledge the Lordship of Christ. Parallel to the confession is having faith in God who raised Jesus from the dead. This act of faith is not something theoretical but has a powerful impact on our lives. If Christ has not been raised (passive voice), our faith is in vain (1Cor 15:14) and we would still be in our sins (v.17). There is no salvation without the resurrection of Jesus.

Believing God in His raising Jesus from the dead means that we have the hope that God, in like manner, raises us up to be born again (1Pet 1:3; cf. 1Cor 6:14). Faith is required for we “believe and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus” (2Cor 4:13-14).

We need God’s resurrection power every day to live the new life of holiness in Christ. Only when we experience the power of resurrection today will we have the confidence that God will raise us up in the future. This means that all those who have died are still waiting for the day when God will resurrect the dead. Only Jesus, the glorified man, has ascended to heaven in the new body. All those who are dead are still waiting for resurrection to take place. To say that our resurrection has taken place is to miss the mark of truth (2Tim 2:18). Believing in the resurrection of Jesus and trusting that God will, in the same way, raise us up to a new glorified body is essential for our salvation.

Romans 10:10

“For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.”

Saving faith involves our heart and the confession with our mouths. Whereas Romans 10:9 is concerned with the content of the confession and the believing, Romans 10:10 elaborates on the significance of the two actions in how they relate to each other for salvation.

Heart” is mentioned four times in this section (Rom 10:6, 8, 9, 10). What one believes in the heart must also find expression with the mouth. When I first came to the Lord in my teens, I believed the Gospel message with my heart, but I did not want to make a public confession as I only wanted to be a secret disciple of Christ. I was not bold enough to make a public stand in front of my family and school friends. I did not want to be the oddball at school because I feared how my classmates would look at me for following Christ. Peer pressure puts us into the bondage of fearing men. When heart and mouth do not match, there is an element of reservation leading to unbelief.

“Confess” in Greek is ὁμολογέω (homologeō), a compound word with the root stem λέγω (legō) which means “to say or to speak”. Since homo means “together or in agreement,” so homologeō means “to speak the same thing in agreement” (Thayer). What we declare openly with our mouths must be in agreement with what we believe in our hearts. What is declared by the mouth must match what is in the heart.

If our heart has unbelief and we do not have faith in Yahweh, we cannot properly profess that Jesus is Lord.

Romans 10:11

For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”

Paul is alluding to Isaiah 28:16

Romans 10:11 picks up from the earlier text in Romans 9:33 where Paul quotes from Isaiah 28:16: “Behold I am laying in Zion a stone of stum­bling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

  1. The phrase “in him” is not in the original Hebrew text of Isa 28:16 הַמַּאֲמִין לֹא יָחִישׁ, which literally says “whoever believes will not be in haste”.
  2. Paul is actually citing from the LXX text: ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῇ. The word αὐτῷ (in him) is added to the LXX translation, and “him” in the context would refer specifically to the tested stone that Yahweh lays for the foundation.
  3. Paul also makes a slight modification in his citation of Isaiah 28:16 from “he who believes” to “everyone who believes”. In his flow of thought, Paul is bringing in the universality of the “all” because the righteousness of God is open to all in Christ.

In the work of salvation, the Father and Son are involved together:

(1) The Father is a stumbling stone and a rock of offence (Isa 8:14), and so is the Son.

(2) What is true of Yahweh is manifested in the person and the work of Christ, the one sent by the Father.

(3) The Son manifests the works of the Father, so to believe in the Son is to believe in Yahweh, as Jesus said, “Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me” (Jn 12:44).

(4) Believing in Jesus Christ means that we believe in Yahweh, the One who sent Jesus.

Romans 10:12

“For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.”

No distinction between Jews and Greeks

The Greek word for “distinction” is διαστολή (diastolē) which means “a difference or a separation”. For those who are baptized into Christ, there is no more separation between Jews and Greeks for “you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:28). Yahweh God makes salvation available for Jews and Gentiles to obtain by faith. “For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and all were made to drink of one Spirit” (1Cor 12:13). The Father and Son work together to extend salvation to all who drink of the one Spirit. God is the One who shows no partiality to the Jews and the Greeks (Rom 2:10-11).

The same Lord of All

Some translations say “the same Lord is Lord of all” (ESV, NASB, NIV, RSV) while others have “the same Lord is over all” (MIT) or “the same Lord of all” (HCSB). In the original Greek text, the word kyrios occurs only once — the same kyrios of all.

The word “all” points to the Jews and the Gentiles. Peter said to Cornelius’ household, “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. As for the word that he sent to Israel, preach­ing good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all)” (Acts 10:34–36). In God’s plan of salvation, it is in Christ that salvation has also come to the Gentiles. For Christ to be Lord of all, he has to be Lord of both Jews and Greeks (the Gentiles).

There is innumerable spiritual wealth in heaven. There are the riches of God’s kindness, forbearance and patience (Rom 2:4); the riches of God’s glory for vessels of mercy (9:23); the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God (11:33); and the riches of his glory (Eph 3:16). How unsearchable are His judgments and how inscrut­able His ways (Rom 11:33).

There is also a whole wealth of riches in the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph 3:8). In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, for the knowledge of God’s mystery is Christ (Col 2:2-3). God wishes to bestow His riches to us through Christ. “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:19) In the coming ages, God will show the immeasur­able riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:7).

Romans 10:13

For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

Romans 10:13 is a citation of Joel 2:32 where the original Hebrew text is “everyone who calls on the name of YHWH will be saved.”

When Paul quoted Scripture, he would either quote directly, or para­phrase, or allude to a passage without telling his readers. The LXX was often used instead of the Hebrew Scriptures. Since Paul was writing to a Greek-speaking audience, it is almost certain he used the LXX.

We can compare the Greek in Romans 10:13 with Joel 3:5a in the LXX text (Joel 2:32 in the Hebrew text corresponds to Joel 3:5 in the LXX which has a different chapter-verse numbering):

Joel 3:5a καὶ ἔσται πᾶς ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου σωθήσεται.

Romans 10:13 πᾶς γὰρ ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου σωθήσεται.

There is no doubt that Paul was citing from Joel. The phrase “πᾶς … ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου σωθήσεται” (everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved) is exactly the same in both passages.

Why is it that we don’t see the name YHWH in the LXX text? During the Second Temple era, the Jews returning from the Babylonian exile were afraid of misusing God’s Name, so they called God “Adonai” where the name “Yahweh” appears. Adonai, the Hebrew word for Lord, is translated kyrios in the LXX.[5] As a diaspora Jew, Paul was sufficiently versed in Scripture to have known that kyrios was the substitute word for Yahweh.

In the context of the passage in Romans 10, kyrios refers to Jesus (v.9, 12). In the flow of thought, kyrios in v.13 refers to Jesus even though the name of Jesus is not explicitly mentioned.

In Paul’s writing, kyrios is the exalted title given to Jesus by God. God is the One who works out His salvation plan in and through the Lord Jesus. God raises Jesus from the dead. Through Christ, God’s salvation is now extended to all nations. Jesus’ Lordship is over all Jews and Gentiles.

In calling Jesus “Lord”, the early disciples submit to the Lordship of Christ as Christ submits to the Lordship of Yahweh. In the chain of command, Yahweh is above all. The eternal principle of calling on the name of Yahweh for our salvation always holds true. Upon this firm foundation, we call on the name of the Lord Jesus for Yahweh saves through Jesus.

Calling Jesus as Lord

(1) Paul was exhorted by Ananias to call on the name of the Lord Jesus at baptism for the forgiveness of sins. “Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” (Acts 22:16)

(2) The NT saints related to Jesus as kyrios. In his vision, Paul said to the exalted Jesus, “Who are you Lord? (9:5; 22:8; 26:15); “What shall I do Lord?” (22:10); “Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another, I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you” (22:19). Ananias in his vision said: “Here I am Lord” (9:10), and “Lord, I have heard from many about this man” (v.13). Stephen in his vision called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (7:59), and “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (v. 60). The kyrios whom Stephen called to is the exalted Lord Jesus “standing at the right hand of God” in heaven (v.55, 56).

(3) The early disciples suffered for bearing the name of Jesus. Before Paul became a Christian, he had put in prison those who “called on the name” (9:13-14, 21). At Stephen’s martyrdom, Paul was there giving approval to those who stoned Stephen to death (22:20). Following Stephen’s example, Paul was always ready to be imprisoned and even die for the “name of the Lord Jesus” (21:13).

(4) Paul doesn’t just call Jesus “Lord” but “Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 3:8). When Jesus is my Lord, he is the master of my life. He is my boss. He is my Lord and I am his slave. Jesus owns me, just as Yahweh owns Christ. You are Christ’s and Christ is God’s (1Cor 3:23). Jesus is my trusted Lord and I am his willing slave to serve him all the days of my life. The Greek word for slave is δοῦλος (doulos), “the one who gives himself up wholly to another’s will” (Thayer). In a practical way, for Jesus’ sake we are also slaves to those we minister to in the church (2Cor 4:5). Calling Jesus “my Lord” is to live a life surrendered to obeying Jesus as my master.

(5) Paul often emphasizes Jesus’ corporate Lordship: “Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 1:4; 5:21; 7:25; 1Cor 1:9) or “Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23; 8:39; 1Cor 15:31; Eph 3:11; 1Tim 1:2, 12; 2Tim 1:2) or “Jesus our Lord” (Rom 4:24; 1Cor 9:1). Jesus, the head of the body, is indeed our Lord.

1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.” (ESV, italics and underline added)

The New Testament Church called on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ because Jesus is their Lord. Notice that Jesus is not just Lord but our Lord, their Lord and ours. Jesus needs to be Lord of our individual lives as well as Lord of the whole church. In these years of serving the church, my husband and I make it our priority to bring every member in the body of Christ to submit to our Lord Jesus, to live under the Lordship of Christ. When we yield to Jesus as Lord, our hearts are filled with love, purity and strength. We let the word of Christ fill our lives richly (Col 3:16) so that we wholeheartedly obey the teaching of Jesus daily (Mt 28:20).

When Jesus is our Lord in the church, the church is empowered with the Spirit to shine as light in the world. I recall many incidents in the church where the power of God’s Spirit moved mightily among us. When Jesus is Lord in the church, brothers and sisters love God with all their hearts and love their neighbors as themselves. At communion, we constantly remind ourselves of the words of Jesus at the last supper, “I give you a new commandment, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (Jn 13:34). We have our weaknesses and often need to humbly ask for forgiveness from God and each other. Only with God’s cleansing can we work harmoniously to maintain the oneness in the body of Christ. With all our short­comings, we are determined to let Jesus rule as Lord in our church, and to love each other with the self-giving agape love.

When Jesus is our Lord, our brothers and sisters give offerings sacrificially. From time to time, we witness large sums of offerings from individuals in the offering box. We are able to use these extra funds to support overseas missionary work, as well as partner with other organ­izations to sponsor two children financially in China for over 15 years.

When Jesus is our Lord, we are on fire for God. Our Lord Jesus always points us to do the will of the Father. We surrender our all to God. We sell all and offer up our lives to serve God. This is exactly what happened to my husband and me in 1988. Together with twelve other members in our Toronto Disciples Church (almost 1/3 of the church), we quit our professional jobs, left our comfortable homes in Canada, sold our cars, and went to Hong Kong for the full-time training to serve God. God’s power moved mightily within us individual­ly and corporately as we responded to God’s call. Like Paul, we count everything as loss be­cause of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus our Lord (Phil 3:8).

When Jesus is our Lord, there is deep spiritual cleansing in the church. This is our constant experience in the life of the church as we aim to live in God’s holiness. God reveals to us our hidden sins and we repent. Back in 1981, I experienced this great phenomenon of spiritual cleansing in a church during a series of revival meetings that took place in Kelowna, British Columbia. For more than a month, we met night after night at church. After an hour of preaching, the meetings would spontaneously continue on into midnight with afterglow fellow­ship. People did not want to leave the church because the Lord took over the meetings where people openly confessed their sins and asked for forgive­ness from each other. Christians and family members confessed their faults, hatreds, jealousies, pride, grudges, and made right their relation­ships with one another. People were determined to make restitution for the wrongs they had done but had neglected for years. Some nights we stayed on until 2 am. Sunday worship services went on from morning into late afternoon as people shared God’s work in their hearts. Nobody even cared for lunch, as the hunger was not for food but for God. I was a new member in the church, as I had just moved to that city for my first teaching job. This experience remains vividly in my mind all these years, demonstrating what God can do when the Lordship of Christ takes over in a church.

Jesus as Lord is at the very heart of the redemptive work on the cross, for the church is bought with the precious blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). We are purchased with a great price. “For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and the living.” (Rom 14:9) Let Jesus be Lord of our personal lives and Lord of our church.

The name above all name

Phil 2:9-11 “Therefore God has highly exalted him (Jesus) and be­stowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (ESV, underline and parentheses added)

One day, everyone will acknowledge Jesus Christ is Lord. Yahweh gives the highest honor to our Lord Jesus with a name above every name. That day will come after Jesus destroys every rule, authority and power and delivers the kingdom to God the Father (1Cor 15:24). Jesus will reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet (v.25) and death is destroyed (v.26).

Because of Jesus’ absolute humility and total obedience to God even to the point of death on the cross, Yahweh bestows on him the name above every name. Jesus is superior to angels as “the name he has inher­ited is more excellent than theirs” (Heb 1:4). The name of Jesus is “above every name that is named” not only in this age but also in the age to come (Eph 1:21). Jesus still retains his own name, but the name of this Jesus is above every name, for “at the name of Jesus” every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, bringing glory to God.

The name of Jesus

Yahweh exalts the name of this Jesus to the extent that there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved.

Acts 4:11-12 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (ESV, italics added)

Yahweh glorified Jesus so that by the name of this Jesus, all men can come to God for salvation. There is no other name under heaven given among men by which we can be saved. You cannot find salvation in the name of Buddha, or find salvation in the name of the Pope, or find salvation in the name of your pastor, or find salvation in the name of your church. You definitely cannot find salvation in your own name and save yourself. Only in the name of “this Jesus” can you find salvation.

Everything that Jesus has is given to him by Yahweh. Even the name of Jesus is given to him by Yahweh. The name of Jesus has to do with God’s salvation.

Unfortunately, the meaning of the name does not come out in the English translations. “Jesus” is derived from the Latin “Iesus,” which in turn comes from the Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iēsoûs). Although the common language was Greek in the Eastern part of the Roman Empire, the Jews in Jesus’ time understood Hebrew and spoke Aramaic. Aramaic is a Semitic language that is related to Hebrew and Arabic.

Being brought up in a Jewish home in Nazareth, Jesus would have his roots in the Hebrew language. When the angel of Yahweh appeared in Joseph’s dream, Joseph was told to give the name Jesus to the son born to Mary. Jesus’ name in Hebrew is ישוע (Yeshua) for “he will save his people from their sins” (Mt 1:21).

Jesus’ Hebrew Name ישועYeshua

There is an important message in the name of Jesus in Hebrew, ישוע.

(1) The first part יה (YH) is the short form of YHWH

(2) The second part is the Hebrew verb שׁוּעַ (shua‘) meaning to cry for help, to deliver, save, or rescue.

“Yeshua” literally means “Yah saves” or “Yahweh saves”. The Name of Yahweh is embedded in Yeshua. How remarkable this is!

In God’s design, under heaven among men, it is only in the name of Yeshua that Yahweh saves. Every time you proclaim Yeshua, you declare the Name of Yahweh — “Yahweh saves”. To call on the exalted Lord Yeshua, you are trusting in Yahweh for your salvation.

Yeshua always points us to Yahweh, the One who ultimately saves us. Through the name of Yeshua, we cry out to Yahweh to save us. Through Yeshua, Yahweh saves.

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (Jn 14:6) When we go to Yeshua, he directs us to Yahweh the Father.

In Jesus’ high priestly prayer, he prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name which you have given me (τῷ ὀνόματί σου ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι)” (Jn 17:11). What is striking is that the Father gives His Name to Jesus. It doesn’t mean that Jesus’ name becomes Yahweh but that Jesus bears the name of Yahweh. Jesus is the worthy bearer of God’s name. Jesus fully represents Yahweh God.

Jesus still has his own identity as Jesus. As the exalted Lord, Jesus has complete authority to represent Yahweh and act in the name of Yahweh. While Jesus was on earth, he came in the name of Yahweh (Mk 11:9; Jn 5:43; 10:25; 12:13) and did not act on his own authority but that of his Father.

The one who is sent has proven worthy because he bears fully the image of the One who sent Him.

Today our exalted Lord Jesus represents Yahweh in acting on behalf of His Name. The Name of Yahweh endures forever and throughout all generations (Ps 135:13).

[1] The statistics for the Greek words σωτηρία and σώζω in the 16 chapters of Romans are tabulated from the website Select the book of Romans, key in G4991 for σωτηρία and G4982 for σώζω.

[2] The statistics for the Greek words in Romans 9–11 are tabulated from Holman Christian Standard Bible, used by permission. I am using the 2nd Edition of HCSB (2009) whose textual source for the NT is Nestle-Aland 27.

[3] The statistics for the Greek words in Romans 10 are tabulated from Holman Christian Standard Bible, used by permission. I am using the 2nd Edition of HCSB (2009) whose textual source for the NT is Nestle-Aland 27.

[4] “When in successive statements γάρ is repeated twice or thrice, or even four or five times, either a. one and the same thought is confirmed by as many argu­ments, each having its own force, as there are repetitions of the particle or b. every succeeding statement contains the reason for its immediate predecessor, so that the statements are subordinate one to another.” (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon)

[5] In the oldest manuscripts of the LXX, the Greek transcription “IAO” is used to translate YHWH in papyrus 4ZLXXLevB. In papyrus Fouad 266, the name YHWH is retained in Judean Aramaic script. In the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in the Qumran manuscripts (between 3rd century BCE and 68 CE), YHWH in paleo-Hebrew script is found transcribed into the Greek text.



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