Acts 2:21
And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
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(21) Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord . . .—Singularly enough, the precise phrase, to “call upon” God, common as it is in the Old Testament, does not occur in the Gospels. With St. Luke and St. Paul it is, as it were, a favourite word (Acts 7:59; Acts 9:14; Romans 10:12; 1Corinthians 1:2). Its Greek associations gave to the “invoking” which it expressed almost the force of an appeal from a lower to a higher tribunal. (Comp. Acts 25:11; Acts 25:21; Acts 25:25.) Here the thought is that that Name of the Eternal, invoked by the prayer of faith, was the one sufficient condition of deliverance in the midst of all the terrors of the coming day of the Lord.

2:14-21 Peter's sermon shows that he was thoroughly recovered from his fall, and thoroughly restored to the Divine favour; for he who had denied Christ, now boldly confessed him. His account of the miraculous pouring forth of the Spirit, was designed to awaken the hearers to embrace the faith of Christ, and to join themselves to his church. It was the fulfilling the Scripture, and the fruit of Christ's resurrection and ascension, and proof of both. Though Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with tongues as the Spirit gave him utterance, yet he did not think to set aside the Scriptures. Christ's scholars never learn above their Bible; and the Spirit is given, not to do away the Scriptures, but to enable us to understand, approve, and obey them. Assuredly none will escape the condemnation of the great day, except those who call upon the name of the Lord, in and through his Son Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of sinners, and the Judge of all mankind.Whosoever shall call - In the midst of these wonders and dangers, whosoever should call on the Lord should be delivered (Joel). The name of the Lord is the same as the Lord himself. It is a Hebraism, signifying to call on the Lord, Psalm 79:6; Zechariah 13:9.

Shall be saved - In Hebrew, shall be delivered, that is, from impending calamities. When they threaten, and God is coming forth to judge them, it shall be that those who are characterized as those who call on the Lord shall be delivered. This is equally true at all times. It is remarkable that no Christians perished in the siege of Jerusalem. Though more than a million of Jews perished, yet the followers of Christ who were there, having been warned by him, when they saw the signs of the Romans approaching, withdrew to Aelia, and were preserved. So it shall be in the day of judgment. All whose character it has been that "they called on God" will then be saved. While the wicked will then call on the rocks and the mountains to shelter them from the Lord, those who have invoked his favor and mercy will find deliverance. The use which Peter makes of this passage is this: Calamities were about to come; the day of judgment was approaching; they were passing through the last days of the earth's history, and therefore it became them to call on the name of the Lord, and to obtain deliverance from the dangers which impended over the guilty. There can be little doubt that Peter intended to apply this to the Messiah, and that by the name of the Lord he meant the Lord Jesus. See 1 Corinthians 1:2. Paul makes the same use of the passage, expressly applying it to the Lord Jesus Christ, Romans 10:13-14. In Joel, the word translated "Lord" is יהוה Yahweh, the incommunicable and unique name of God; and the use of the passage before us in the New Testament shows how the apostles regarded the Lord Jesus Christ, and proves that they had no hesitation in applying to him names and attributes which could belong to no one but God.

This verse teaches us:

1. That in prospect of the judgments of God which are to come, we should make preparation. We shall be called to pass through the closing scenes of this earth; the time when the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, and when the great day of the Lord shall come.

2. It is easy to be saved. All that God requires of us is to call upon him, to pray to him, and he will answer and save. If people will not do so easy a thing as to call on God, and ask him for salvation, it is obviously proper that they should be cast off. The terms of salvation could not be made plainer or easier. The offer is wide, free, universal, and there is no obstacle but what exists in the heart of the sinner.

And from this part of Peter's vindication of the scene on the day of Pentecost we may learn also:

1. That revivals of religion are to be expected as a part of the history of the Christian church. He speaks of God's pouring out his Spirit, etc., as what was to take place in the last days, that is, in the indefinite and large tract of time which was to come, under the administration of the Messiah. His remarks are by no means limited to the day of Pentecost. They are as applicable to future periods as to that time; and we are to expect it as a part of Christian history, that the Holy Spirit will be sent down to awaken and convert people.

2. This will also vindicate revivals from all the changes which have ever been brought against them. All the objections of irregularity, extravagance, wildfire, enthusiasm, disorder, etc., which have been alleged against revivals in modern times, might have been brought with equal propriety against the scene on the day of Pentecost. Yet an apostle showed that that was in accordance with the predictions of the Old Testament, and was an undoubted work of the Holy Spirit. If that work could be vindicated, then modern revivals may be. If that was really liable to no objections on these accounts, then modern works of grace should not be objected to for the same things. And if that excited deep interest in the apostles; if they felt deep concern to vindicate it from the charge brought against it, then Christians and Christian ministers now should feel similar solicitude to defend revivals, and not be found among their revilers, their calumniators, or their foes. There will be enemies enough of the work of the Holy Spirit without the aid of professed Christians, and that man possesses no enviable feelings or character who is found with the enemies of God and his Christ in opposing the mighty work of the Holy Spirit on the human heart.

21. whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved—This points to the permanent establishment of the economy of salvation, which followed on the breaking up of the Jewish state. That he may prepare thus a people for the Lord, the apostle shows by what means they and we may escape. Pray in faith unto him. The name is that whereby any one is known; and the Lord’s name is his attributes, goodness, power, wisdom, faithfulness, &c.

The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe, Proverbs 18:10. And it shall come to pass,.... Even at that time, when these signs shall appear, and the destruction is hastening on, that

whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord; shall believe in the Lord Jesus Christ with the heart, and shall confess him with the mouth, and shall worship him in Spirit and in truth, and submit to all his ordinances and commands; for invocation of the Lord includes the whole of worship, internal and external:

shall be saved; or delivered from that temporal destruction which came upon the Jews, as the Christians were by removing from Jerusalem to Pella, as they were directed (u); and shall be saved with a spiritual and everlasting salvation by Jesus Christ; see Gill on Romans 10:13.

(u) Vid. Euseb. Eccl. Hist. l. 3. c. 5.

{4} And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall {n} call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

(4) The most important use of all the gifts of the Holy Spirit is to bring men to salvation by faith.

(n) These words call on signify in Holy Scriptures and earnest praying and craving for help from God's hand.

Acts 2:21. And every one who shall have invoked the name of the Lord,—this Peter wishes to be understood, according to the sense of the prophetic fulfilment, of the invocation of Christ (relative worship: see on Acts 7:59; Romans 10:12; Php 2:10; 1 Corinthians 1:2); just as he would have the σωθήσεται understood, not of any sort of temporal deliverance, but of the saving deliverance of the Messianic kingdom (Acts 4:12, Acts 15:11), which Jesus on His return will found; and hence he must now (Acts 2:22-36) demonstrate Jesus the crucified and risen and exalted one, as the Lord and Messiah (Acts 2:36). And how undauntedly, concisely, and convincingly he does so! A first fruit of the outpouring of the Spirit.Acts 2:21. ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα, the usual LXX rendering of a common Hebrew phrase. The expression is derived from the way in which prayers addressed to God begin with the invocation of the divine name, Psalm 3:2; Psalm 6:2, etc., and a similar phrase is found in classical writers, ἐπικαλεῖσθαι τοὺς θεούς, Xen., Cyr., vii., 1, 35; Plat., Tim., p. 27, c.; Polyb., xv., 1, 13. From this it was an easy step to use the phrase as meaning the worshippers of the one God, Genesis 4:26; Genesis 12:8, 2 Kings 5:4. It is therefore significant that the Christian converts at Corinth are described by the same phrase, 1 Corinthians 1:2. But just as in Romans 10:12 this same prophecy of Joel is beyond all doubt referred by St. Paul to the Lord Jesus, so here the whole drift of St. Peter’s speech, that the same Jesus who was crucified was made both Lord and Christ, points to the same conclusion, Acts 2:36. In Joel Κύριος is undoubtedly used of the Lord Jehovah, and the word is here transferred to Christ. In its bearing on our Lord’s Divinity this fact is of primary importance, for it is not merely that the early Christians addressed their Ascended Lord so many times by the same name which is used of Jehovah in the LXX—although it is certainly remarkable that in 1 Thess. the name is applied to Christ more than twenty times—but that they did not hesitate to refer to Him the attributes and the prophecies which the great prophets of the Jewish nation had associated with the name of Jehovah, Zahn, Skizzen aus dem Leben der alten Kirche, pp. 8, 10, 16 (1894), and for the force of the expression, ἐπικ. τὸ ὄνομα, in 1 Corinthians 1:2, see Harnack, History of Dogma, i., p. 29, E.T.—ὃς ἂν ἐποκ., “whosoever”: it would seem that in St. Peter’s address the expression does not extend beyond the chosen people; cf. Acts 5:36.—σωθήσεται: to the Jew salvation would mean safety in the Messianic kingdom, and from the penalties of the Messianic judgment; for the Christian there would be a partial fulfilment in the flight of the believers to Pella for safety when the Son of Man came in the destruction of Jerusalem; but the word carries our thoughts far beyond any such subordinate fulfilment to the fulness of blessing for body and soul which the verb expresses on the lips of Christ; cf. Luke 7:50. And so St. Luke places in the forefront of Acts as of his Gospel the thought of Jesus not only as the Messiah, but also as the Σωτήρ, Luke 2:14; cf. Psalms of Sol., Acts 4:2 (Ryle and James).21. shall be saved] Eusebius (H. E. iii. 5. 3) tells how the Christians were warned to leave Jerusalem before the destruction, and went into a city of Perea called Pella.Acts 2:21. [Πᾶς, every one) All men of this kind, and they alone.—V. g.]—ἐπικαλέσηται, shall invoke, shall call upon) All kinds (species) of prayers are included in this word. Melancthon especially delighted in the term invocation. [Such an invocation is meant as is made in spirit.—V. g.]—σωθήσεται, shall be saved, shall be made safe) shall escape all penalties; shall attain to blessedness. [Even in the very end, which shall be so terrible to the whole creation. V. g.] Luke 21:36.Verse 21. - Be for come to pass, A.V.
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