“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.” (Joel 2:32)
“God is no respecter of persons” (Acts 10:34). Yet in the above “whosoever” passage of the Old Testament, it is clear that those who “call on the name of the LORD” were the same as “the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” Those who call on the Lord have first been called by the Lord. He accepts all those who call on Him from every nation, but no doubt their geographical location to a large extent determines whether they will even hear of Him, and “how then shall they call on him . . . of whom they have not heard?” (Romans 10:14).
Theologians of great intellect have wrestled with these questions for centuries without resolving them, at least to the satisfaction of those of different mental persuasion. On the practical level, however, the Holy Spirit led Peter to quote this passage in his great sermon on the Day of Pentecost: “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21).
Peter was still speaking only to Jews, of course, but they had assembled at Jerusalem “out of every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). But then Paul made it forever plain that “whosoever” applied to everyone when he also quoted Joel. “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:12-13). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself, on the very last page of Scripture, says: “Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). So, whosoever will may come! One can contemplate later, with deep thanksgiving, the mysteries of the divine call, but first he must come, and if he so wills, he may! HMM