For, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Saint Paul wrote these words to the church of Rome to remind them and us of something important.
The love of Jesus is so tremendously huge that anyone who calls upon God for help… for comfort… for salvation… those prayers will be answered. Including people who have ignored God their whole life until a moment of extreme duress. God doesn’t “turn his back” on those who call out to Jesus.
Think about the criminal on the cross next to Jesus. This man was about to die. He admitted he was a felon and probably never gave God a thought during his life of crime. Yet in that moment before death, he looks over to the dying savior of the world and says to him, “Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42)
Jesus doesn’t hesitate. He doesn’t say, “not a chance.” Jesus doesn’t even scoff. In the final moments of Jesus’ life, the criminal is assured of his place in heaven.
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. (Paul quoted Joel 2:32)
But then Paul asks a great question for the rest of us. If God loves the world so much that he would come to us in the person of Jesus, how do people call on the name of the Lord if they have never heard of him or know anything about him?
The answer is unambiguous. The answer is us.
We’ve been called and we’ve been sent into our neighborhoods and social circles to share the love of Jesus. We’ve been sent to invite others to come to church and hear about the love of Christ in song, in bread and wine and in preaching.
We aren’t just consumers of religious content, we are also the ones who share what we have learned and experienced in and through Jesus.
Someone needs to know what you have discovered. Somebody you know is searching for answers but doesn’t know where to look. Tell them.