Q&A: Calling on the Name of the Lord / Led into Temptation

Today, we will consider two more questions from the question box.

“How is calling on the name of the Lord different in the New Testament from when they called on the name of the Lord in the Old Testament?”

The action of calling on the name of the Lord is certainly found in many places in both the old and new testaments. However, even though the testaments change, the meaning of the phrase remains the same.

The ancient Hebrew pictograph for the word “call”, pictures the sun at the horizon and the gathering of light, followed by a picture of the head of a man. Altogether, the picture means “a gathering, meeting, or bringing together.” Thus, it is a suitable word to denote worship; for in worship, we come before the Lord to pay homage to Him.  But one can only draw near to God if they do so according to His will (Matthew 7:21). Before the Law of Moses, God’s will was unwritten, yet revealed to, and understood by the Patriarchs. During the dispensation of Moses’ Law, God’s will was written down for the people to obey. Finally, under Christ, who is the only way to the Father, we are brought into close communion with God through obedience to the faith (Romans 16:26). So, in every dispensation, a relationship with God and the activities which brought man nearer to God only occurred by a proper response to God’s instructions to man, i.e. God’s will. As we will see in many examples of scripture, “calling on the name of the Lord” is to engage in actively doing the will of God.

Another word of this phrase that is often misunderstood is “name”. Whether in Hebrew or Greek, the “name” is defined as “one’s rank, honor, authority, and character.” So, calling on the “name” of the Lord is our response to His command and authority as our God and King; honoring Him through humble and trusting obedience.

The first time the phrase is used in scripture is very early on, in connection to the family of Seth (Genesis 4:26). It was within the early development of Seth’s family tree that “men began to call on the name of the LORD.” This is likely a reference to the fact that now that there is more of a population on the earth, faithful men gathered to worship in a more public and organized manner. Following this, it is used of Abraham and Isaac (Genesis 12:8, 13:4, 21:33, 26:25) in a more private application. It was by their offerings and sacrifices to God that they “called on the name of the Lord.” As we can see, no matter the specific application, the meaning is that they were performing the word of God. In other contexts, calling on the name of the Lord is used of praising God and giving thanks to Him, whether through song, prayer, or proclamation (Psalm 105:1, 116:17, Isaiah 12:4).

In the New Testament, Ananias used the term to explain to Saul that baptism was what was needed for Him to honor Christ’s instructions for salvation: “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16). Another way to word this would be: Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, doing the will of God.

Ananias actually uses the phrase another time in scripture, the next time he will use it to refer to those who are already Christians: “Then Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints in Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” (Acts 9:13-14). Later, Paul also identifies Christians as those in every place who “call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:2).

So, to answer the question of how calling on the name of the Lord is different from the old to the new, it is not different in meaning, only in application. And the difference in application of the phrase does not depend solely on whether the phrase is in either the Old or the New Testament, but it depends mainly on context. In various contexts, calling on the name of the Lord may refer to baptism, to praise and thanksgiving, to sacrifice, to public homage. Whatever the case, it refers to any scriptural action by which we do the will of God.


“’Lord, lead us not into temptation’ – Does God lead us into temptation?”

The statement “lead us not into temptation” is a piece of Jesus’ example of prayer for His disciples, it is recorded in Matthew 6:13 and Luke 11:4. There are a number of angles to consider, as per usual, when contemplating the depth and the riches of Jesus’ words.

God does not tempt anyone (James 1:13), but God does allow us to be tempted from time to time. Every time we face temptation, we know that God has allowed this to take place, as is the case with everything that occurs in the world. The evil one tempts us in hopes to cause us to depart from God, but God allows us to be tempted in order to prove our faith and stimulate spiritual growth and maturity (James 1:2-4). But someone will say “Wait, James 1:2 is not talking about temptations to sin, but various trials of life, so how does it fit into this discussion.” Well, if you look at the Greek text, you’ll see that word “trials” in James 1:2 is the same word that is translated “temptation” in Matthew 6:13. The Greek word is defined as “a putting to the proof, a trial; a direct temptation to sin; calamity, affliction.” So, we see that this word can mean totally different things depending on the context it is used in. Thus, one way we can look at Matthew 6:13 is that Jesus is praying that the Father lead us not into calamity; and many believe that that is the proper understanding of the text. However, what follows: “but deliver us from the evil one” causes me to conclude that Jesus is talking about temptations to sin.

I believe that one of the most helpful and collaborative texts is Matthew 4:1, “Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.” This demonstrates what Jesus said in His prayer, that God can lead us into temptation. Here, Jesus is led by the Spirit of God into the wilderness for this purpose: to be tempted by the devil. Thus, “lead us not into temptation” does not mean that God tempts us (the devil does that), nor does it mean that God leads us to sin, for temptation is not sin. Jesus was tempted by the devil in the text above, and the Holy Spirit led Him there for that purpose, but there was no sin. Jesus did not give in. Rejecting temptation makes us all the more stronger, more experienced, and spiritually mature. We too may be led to temptation from time to time, but “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13). But back to Jesus’ prayer, while enduring temptation is makes us grow, we may not have the heart to go through that today, so the simple request of “lead me not into temptation” is beneficial.

Article by Tanner Campbell