And it shall come to pass, that whoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered…
The fulfilment of this prophecy took place on the Day of Pentecost. Then God poured out his Spirit from on high, and the despised disciples were inspired to speak, while multitudes were convinced of their sin against Messiah, and cried not in vain for mercy and salvation. Such results still follow the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the Church in answer to the prayers of the faithful. We will consider the special effect alluded to in our text, namely, the cry of those convicted of sin.
I. THE CONDITION OF THE CONTRITE. They are in danger, or they would not require to be "delivered." Those who heard the apostles "were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?" for they knew that they had sinned against God in the rejection of his Son.
1. They were guilty of sin. Who is not? Even children have evil tendencies which respond to temptation. The heart of a child is like a pool of water which seems perfectly clear, but let it be once stirred, and it is at once beclouded. Sin is a terrible thing. In Scripture it is spoken of as a debt we cannot pay, as a burden we cannot bear, as a thief who robs us, as a leprosy which corrupts us, and as a poison that ends in death. Sin has insulted God and robbed him of his children, and nailed the Lord Jesus Christ to the cross. But however widespread and deadly its influence, "whosoever shall call on the Name of the Lord shall be delivered."
2. They were convicted of sin. Unless they had been they would not have called upon God. It is not simply a knowledge that all men are sinners which is required, but a sense of our personal responsibility in regard to sin. There is a great difference between knowing that fire burns, and knowing that we are being burnt.
3. They were convicted by the Holy Spirit. Yet he is called "the Comforter." He is likened to the dove, to the breath which Jesus breathed, to the dew that lights upon the grass, and to the oil of joy. Nevertheless, it is his work to "convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of a judgment to come;" and in doing so he overwhelms sinners with a sense of shame and peril. But for this, there would be no cry and no deliverance. Pain is a necessary stage of cure in such a disease as sin. If a wound has been long neglected, the wise surgeon will take off all the coverings which have been wrapped over it in ignorance, and will give new agony for a time, if only he is able to get rid of the venom. But after that he will bind it up. So must the Holy Spirit wound before he heals. We must have the broken heart before God can bind it up. Conviction of sin shows that God has not given us up.
II. THE CRY OF THE CONTRITE. It has been said that we are not saved by prayer, but we cannot be saved without it. Prayer is the soul going to its refuge, or rather it is the soul laying hold on the hand that draws it into the refuge.
1. Prayer is the ordinance of God. It is as much a law as is the law of gravitation, and is proved by experiment, not by a priori argument as to its probability. True, God is our loving Father; but unless we arise and go to him as the prodigal did, we shall not have the welcome and the kiss, the robe and the music.
2. Prayer implies faith and hope. We must have faith in the character of God - in his "Name," to use the phrase in our text - that is, in what he has made known of himself. For example, he is revealed to us as the Holy One; so that we can only go to him when we are really wishing to forsake sin, to be helped out of it instead of being helped in it. He is omniscient; therefore thoroughness in confession is required, for he knows us so perfectly that we dare not dissemble, nor cloke our sins before him. And he is almighty - well able to give us the pardon and deliverance we need. His "name" is "Jesus," for he shall save his people from their sins. Add to faith in his character faith in his nearness. It is useless to cry to one who is out of hearing. He is a God near, and not far off.
3. Prayer may be a simple call. It is a cry rather than a statement. The Pharisee told God much, but he did not pray. The publican smote upon his breast and cried for mercy; and God heard his prayer, and he went down to his house justified.
III. THE PROMISE TO THE CONTRITE.
1. They shall be delivered:
(1) From the forebodings of doom.
(2) From the terrors of an awakened conscience.
(3) From vain efforts at self-reform.
(4) From the power and from the love of sin.
2. Deliverance will come through faith in the crucified Saviour. To this the Jews were brought on the Day of Pentecost. "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,"
3. Deliverance will follow on the cry for mercy. All are encouraged to call upon the Lord - the backslider, the uneducated, the child, the degraded and abandoned. "As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth; wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye." - A.R.
Parallel VersesKJV: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.
WEB: It will happen that whoever will call on the name of Yahweh shall be saved; for in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there will be those who escape, as Yahweh has said, and among the remnant, those whom Yahweh calls.