The more I think about it, the more sense the Rapture* makes. Leaving everything else aside for a minute, just think of the greatest thing in the universe – the mercy of God. The immense, almost incomprehensible, unsurpassable, undeniable, almost indescribably wonderful mercy of Almighty God. And think of what the Lord Jesus warned in the gospel of Luke (chap. 21 verse 36) after prophesying the horrors of the Great Tribulation: ‘Watch…and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.’
I often do this – pray to be accounted worthy and escape the horrors that are ahead. Do you? This is a scary time. We’re watching and seeing so many signs that we are coming up to the end of this age, the age of grace. So personally, I often pray that although I am not worthy at all, that the Lord will account me worthy to escape the Great Tribulation.
How can He, who is perfectly just, account me worthy when I am not? He can’t cook the books and falsify His perfect accounting, can He? NO!
His books are perfect. So how can my sinful name get into the right list?
God has made a way, a narrow way, a ‘squeeze through the entrance’ way. I was on the broad, easy, wrong way, but through God’s amazing grace and mercy, He allowed me to squeeze through the gate of salvation and get on to His narrow way.
What is that way? It is believing in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, that He left heaven, became a human just like us, so that He could offer Himself as a sacrifice for all our sins. So that He could suffer and die for us, be buried and rise again on the third day, triumphing over death itself which had entered the world after the sin of the first man, Adam.
And as the Lord Jesus triumphed over death, He opened the door of heaven to all who believe in Him.
But how could God the Father let His Son suffer and die like that? Because it is foundational that the wages of sin is death (Romans 3) and there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9). And it is a given that all, ALL, have sinned (Romans 3).
Only Jesus, sinless and holy, could pay our penalty. He became sin for us and took on all our sins on the cross. He paid the terrible price. He paid for our salvation, making it available to us as a free gift.
If we reject His great gift, and turn away, it is our free choice. So terrible. So tragic. Such horrific, eternal consequences.
But if we accept His great gift of salvation, He gives us His Holy Spirit as a kind of down payment and we are sealed with His Holy Spirit. He causes us to be born again, new creations, old things passed away. He puts a new heart in us, a heart that can respond to God and the things of the Holy Spirit.
How can we come to faith and believe all this and be born again? Faith comes by hearing the word of God, which we have in the Bible.
So get a Bible and start reading. If you are praying for a member of your family to come to faith, try to make sure they hear some words from the Bible, whether it is by you speaking, playing a CD or something with scripture being spoken or sung. Somehow, some way, try to get God's words in their ears or before their eyes.
Does it matter what Bible version you use? In English, if you have a King James version, a New American Standard version or a New King James version, you have the word of God in your hands. **
I started reading a KJ version in 1980, having never owned or read a Bible despite 12 years of Catholic schooling. After reading the gospel of Matthew, then Mark and halfway through Luke, I was so convicted of my sins that I did not know what to do. And I loved the Lord Jesus so much!
That took about a week and a half. The 12 years had accomplished nothing like that, nothing at all.
But the entrance of God’s word brings light. I knew from reading that I was a sinner, that I deserved to go to hell and that there was nothing I could do to change that.
So what I actually did was fall on my knees, all alone in a room, confess my sins to God and beg Him to forgive me, telling Him I believed every word of His book, and believed that Jesus had died on the cross, was buried and rose from the dead. And I begged Him to make me one of His people, knowing full well that I didn’t deserve it.
And you know what? He did all that! He forgave me. He made me one of His people. And He did far more than I knew then. He caused me to be born again, born spiritually.
How do I know He answered my prayer like that? Because He promises those very things – to forgive and cleanse us (1John 1) and make us a new creation (2 Cor 5:17).
And what He promises, He does. He can be trusted to keep His promises.
So what has all this to do with the Rapture of the church? Why should the church get a free pass to escape the Great Tribulation? Believers now are not perfect, far from it in my case. I did not deserve to squeeze on to that narrow path to heaven, and I sure do not deserve to be rescued out of the world to escape the horrors Jesus warned us of.
I deserved to go to hell and I don’t deserve any ‘get out’ clause now.
But remember – the matchless love and mercy of our Father and the perfect love of the Son, the Lord Jesus! His mercy never fails us. Whatever we go through now will seem small compared to the glory He will reveal. There is mercy without measure for those who have accepted God’s Son.
Just on that ground alone, without looking at anything else right now, I would say: read your Bible, confess your sins to the Lord, put your absolute trust in Him to forgive you and make you one of His people.
Jesus promised that whoever comes to Him, He will never, never turn away - John 6:37.
*The Rapture is the sudden removal of all believers in the Lord Jesus Christ from the earth. Those who have already died will rise from their graves and the living believers will be snatched up, all taken to meet the Lord Jesus in the air. Read it in 1 Thes 4:16-18 and 1 Cor 15:51. Also John 14. There is a controversy over when the Rapture will take place, before or during the Great Tribulation. Whoever turns out to be right, the Rapture is a future event, fixed and certain. The important thing is to be ready, be watching, keep close to Jesus and try to somehow give Him glory every day, whether by thanking Him, by helping His people, by telling someone about Him, by singing to him as you wash the dishes - whatever.
**I have this on the authority of Dr Arnold Fruchtenbaum, one of the foremost Bible scholars in the world today. He was answering a question at the church we attend in England.