Many of us Christians think that being caught up with our Saviour Jesus Christ when He returns for His saints (the Rapture) depends on our ability to keep the Ten Commandments, “how good we are” here on earth or even what we are doing at the time of His coming. Not so!

Just a quick intro before we see why not and what the word of the Lord says is the condition for being caught up with Christ at His coming.

The bible says in Ephesians 2:8- “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”

“Saved” in verse 8 above encompasses salvation from hell to heaven, salvation from the power, pleasure and penalty of sin
​​; deliverance from oppression and molestations of the enemy; deliverance from all earthly ills and being caught up with Christ when He returns for His saints. The Rapture, which is the believer’s bodily redemption in Christ, is the final delivery in the “Saved” package that Christ bought for us with His blood at the cross. It is a gift.

As it is with all of God’s blessings which are FREELY given to us with Christ according to Romans 8:32, being caught up with Christ at His coming (Rapture) cannot be earned by our efforts at keeping the Law which Romans 3:20 says cannot make any righteous in God’s sight. It is by Grace. It is freely given. We can’t “work towards it” by our own efforts at law-keeping in order to earn or deserve it. We look forward to it because “It is finished!” It is certain for all who are believing Christ; all whose righteousness is found in Christ and not their own righteousnesses from keeping the Ten Commandments.  The only brand of righteousness that counts with our Heavenly Father is that which He freely gives to all who believe as a gift through Christ. We are made righteous by the blood of our Saviour Jesus and not our works, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:21: 

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

Remember Romans 3:20 – “For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.” All the law-keeping and good works done in order to get right with God can never make one righteous in His sight. Only the righteousness that was paid for with the blood of Jesus suffices for the Most High God. All who receive this gift of righteousness are 100% righteous in His eyes, no matter what they do or do not do. This way, we don’t TRY to do His will; we GET to do His will “for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:13)

Only by grace through faith are we saved, including our bodily redemption in Christ (Rapture). If it is by one’s own effort, then it is no longer grace. Romans 11:6 says – 

“And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work.”

But many of us, even with good intentions, still try to attain right standing with and earn God’s favour with our filthy rags righteousnesses and law-keeping. This is the height of self-righteousness and hypocrisy: to believe that we can earn points of righteousness with God or curry His favour by doing what the Law commands when Romans 3:20 tells us that  no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. Our own righteousnesses are like filthy rags (menstrual rags in original Hebrew) according to Isaiah 64:6; not our sins but the good things we do with the aim of getting right with God. Whatever we do to make ourselves deserve God’s goodness or be eligible for our bodily redemption (Rapture) in Christ are like menstrual rags in His sight. 

Believing that being caught up with Christ at His coming depends on our own filthy rags righteousnesses from our performance of the Ten Commandments or has anything at all to do with our own efforts at getting right with God has quite the opposite effect as we see in Galatians 5:4-

“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.”

Those who think it is what they do or do not do that make them right with God have been cut off from Christ. No Rapture for such. It takes grace to be caught up with our Saviour.

So who is qualified for the Rapture? 

The criteria for being caught up with Christ is to be a believer in Christ and to be “alive and remain” at His coming, according to the word of the Lord. We see this in 1 Thessalonians 4 where the believers there were concerned about what would happen to those that had fallen asleep in Christ. This text isn’t Paul’s opinion. Paul said it “by the word of the Lord”:

13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.
15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.”

We (Paul was speaking to believers) who will be caught up with Christ (after those that are asleep in Christ are first caught up) are “we who are alive and remain” at His coming, not we who are doing our best to keep the Ten Commandments; not we who are fasting; not we who are obeying the Law to be eligible and thus are cut off from Christ; not we who make sure that we do good all the time so that we can make the cut. Wonderful as these things are, it is “we who are alive and remain” that will be caught up with Christ at His coming.

Did you also notice that Paul said in verse 18:  “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 

Our Saviour’s words concerning the Rapture are to bring COMFORT to all believers but today, it brings FEAR to many, thanks to the preaching of “another gospel” by many leaders who make the flock believe that it is their ability to ‘be right with God” that makes them Rapture-worthy and not the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. These poor, beloved of God see that there is no way that they can make it if it depends on them and so are scared when they hear the song “Will you be ready when the Lord shall come!” Please where is grace in this kind of teaching? Where is God’s undeserved, unmerited favour? 

Many leaders condemn the flock, threaten them into being “cheerful givers,” point out their inadequacies and tell them to “stop sinning, or else,” all without pointing them to Christ as the one who saves from sin; just like the Accuser the devil. They might as well tell a cancer patient with zero healing powers to heal himself! Their own preaching of the blessed hope in Christ (Rapture) produces fear and not comfort as it should. They place a burden on the shoulders and a yoke on the necks of God’s beloved. Believers, this is not of Christ. In other places, the preaching of the blessed hope (Rapture) is left out altogether. This hope should be our primary expectation as believers. 1 John 3:3 says – “And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”

Pastors and leaders, unveil God’s Grace expressed in His love for us (Christ died for us) and the people will live right. 

But does the “we who are alive and remain” truth for believers mean that we should just go and be sinning anyhow? Certainly not! Many people who do not yet understand our salvation in Christ think that we “Grace people” are looking for an excuse to continue to wallow in sin but nothing could be further from the truth. Trying to be good or doing anything at all in order to get right with God via obedience to the Law has quite the opposite effect on you and on your standing with God. Galatians 5:4 tells us that this is how to get cut off from Christ –

“For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.”

Christ is of no effect in the lives of those who think that it is what they do or do not do (law-keeping) that makes them right with God. These ones have rejected the gift of right standing with God that Christ died that they might have as recorded in 2 Corinthians 5:21.

As for the effect on yourself, Romans 7:5 says: “When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.”

The “old nature” here is simply the sin nature that every human inherited from Adam by default, as it is written in Romans 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”

Having the old nature means living outside the umbrella of God’s gift of righteousness which is available to all believers through Christ’s obedience. Those who reject this gift of righteousness and depend on their “good works” and obedience to the Law to get right with God and be caught up with Christ at His coming (Rapture) have the old nature. These ones are not a new creation. They still have the Law as their standard of righteousness and thus are under the curse.  According to Romans 7:5, the same Law that such people try to obey in order to be righteous arouses evil desires in them and the result is more acts of sin that lead to death:

“When we were controlled by our old nature, sinful desires were at work within us, and the law aroused these evil desires that produced a harvest of sinful deeds, resulting in death.”

As the righteousness of God in Christ, we are a New Creation. Not under Law but under Grace. And this is the result: we get to produce a harvest of good deeds for God, yet not us but Christ in us! Romans 7:4-

“So, my dear brothers and sisters, this is the point: You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the One who was raised from the dead. As a result, we can produce a harvest of good deeds for God.”

Only when we forsake our own righteousnesses that come from our obedience to the Law and accept that which is from “one Man’s obedience” (Christ’s) can we produce a harvest of good deeds for God; only this way can we live right. Doing anything by our own effort to get right with God is not Grace. It is works. In Christ, we are not saved (including being caught up with Him at His coming) because we are obedient by our own effort. We become obedient because we are saved. 

Titus 2:14 says: “who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”

Believers, don’t let anyone deceive you into thinking that your right living and being zealous for good works as well as your salvation from your addictions, sins and bad habits can be accomplished by your sheer determination and self-will. That church “Daddy” who tells you so can never cast the first stone! The arm of flesh will fail. This is why Christ came, to “redeem us from every lawless deed…” To redeem means to “regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment.” This means that sin holds such that are under it in captivity and a price has to be paid in order for such to be set free; a price that Christ paid with His blood! He is our Redeemer. Without Him, we can do nothing. Ask and trust in Him to save you. He is ever-willing to make you clean. This is God’s undeserved, unmerited favour – Grace. And our being caught up with our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming to be with Him forever fits right in there with every blessing that He has freely blessed us with in Christ. 

For lack of understanding many think that this is “too cheap a gospel” but it did not come cheap to God at all! It cost our heavenly Father heaven’s Best: our Saviour Jesus Christ. He loves us so much! The Holy Spirit will teach you all things.

Believers, with the Lord as your Strength and Righteousness, understand that your being “raptured” has been paid for with Christ’s blood, alongside every single one of His blessings (His righteousness, healing, peace, deliverance, etc) that you are enjoying today. All are freely given with Christ (Romans 8:32.) Christ paid for our bodily redemption (Rapture) alongside all of His benefits that we are receiving and enjoying today when He shed His blood for us on the cross. If it was up to us, be assured that no one will be caught up with Him when He comes! Only by Grace (undeserved, unmerited favour) through faith are we saved.

You believing one (you who are the righteousness of God in Christ; you who have no righteousness of your own from doing works of the Law but have Christ as your righteousness; you whose boast is not in your own ability to fast and pray for 40 days straight and keep the Law but boast only in Christ as your Saviour and Redeemer;) you “who are alive and remain” will be caught up together with the saints in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air to be with Him forever. Look forward to it! We purify ourselves by having this hope fixed on Him (1 John 3:3)

Comfort yourselves with “the word of the Lord” in 1 Thessalonians 4, “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;” (Philippians 1:6)

Believe Right and you will Live Right!

http://rightbelieving101.blogspot.com.ng/2017/02/neither-hot-nor-cold.html

http://rightbelieving101.blogspot.com.ng/2017/03/what-is-will-of-god.html

http://rightbelieving101.blogspot.com.ng/2017/02/heavens-windows-are-always-open-to.html

http://rightbelieving101.blogspot.com.ng

Advertisements