How to Be Ready for the Rapture
by Tom Stewart
t is the height of conceit that we
would ever think that we will make ourself ready to be raptured home to Heaven by
the simple force of our will. "O LORD,
I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct
his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). If
we have learned anything about the LORD Jesus Christ, we have learned that "not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy He saved us" (Titus
3:5). In other words, we must be trusting in His merit and not
any so-called worthiness of our own for salvation, sanctification, and Eternity. "3 For
what saith the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for Righteousness.
4 Now to him that worketh
is the Reward not reckoned of Grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him that Justifieth
the ungodly, his Faith is counted for Righteousness" (Romans
4:3-5). In sum, our confidence and sufficiency is not in ourselves,
but in God. "Not that we are sufficient
of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God" (2Corinthians 3:5).
Having clearly established that we must presently be living "by the Faith of the Son of God, Who loved [us], and gave Himself for [us]" (Galatians 2:20), we can address how to be ready for the Rapture. "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh" (Matthew 24:44). However, in our attempt to properly emphasize the "Grace of God that bringeth Salvation" (Titus 2:11), we have a tendency to discount those Scriptures that make us responsible for our own readiness to meet the LORD Jesus Christ, when He returns for us in the Rapture. "Even so Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone" (James 2:17). It would be a grave mistake to assume that any action that we have taken in the past, will be sufficient by itself to ensure our readiness to be raptured. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man" (Luke 21:36). Rather than relying upon any metaphysical formula from men promising that God will grant us the indulgence of our sins that we are committing or will commit-- and, still rapture us home to Heaven-- we ought rather to faithfully declare our absolute necessity of a continuing and practical holiness. "Follow Peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see the LORD" (Hebrews 12:14).
What must we do to be ready for the Rapture? Our readiness to be raptured is summed up in the declaration, Trust Jesus for all things pertaining to life and to godliness. "According as His Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto Life and Godliness, through the Knowledge of Him that hath called us to Glory and Virtue" (2Peter 1:3). Even those Professed Christians who have not yet been taught or understood that there is any such thing as a Rapture-- who do not realize that "we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air" (1Thessalonians 4:17)-- will nonetheless be raptured, if they are at that time trusting Jesus for all things pertaining to life and godliness. "And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares" (Luke 21:34). If we needed a lengthy checklist to be assembled by theological divines to determine our readiness, then we will never have enough time to properly determine our condition before the LORD Jesus returns "in the twinkling of an eye" (1Corinthians 15:52). Only an active Faith in the LORD Jesus Christ for everything will find us ready to be raptured. "Have Faith in God" (Mark 11:22).
In practice, we can encourage our Faith-- and, thereby our readiness-- with the following suggestions.
Whatever action you may undertake to fortify the Saints, restore
the Backslidden, and win the Lost, is your opportunity to multiply the talents Christ
has given you, for He has warned how He will reward or punish us according to our
labour. "14 For the Kingdom of Heaven is as a man travelling into a
far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents,
to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability;
and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the
same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18 But he that had received
one went and digged in the Earth, and hid his lord's money.
19 After a long time
the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20 And so he that had
received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst
unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done,
thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will
make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also
that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents:
behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done,
good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make
thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one
talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where
thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25
and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent
in the Earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful
servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not
strawed: 27 thou oughtest
therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should
have received mine own with usury. 28
Take therefore the talent from him, and give
it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance:
but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast
ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing
of teeth" (Matthew 25:14-30).
[See our articles, "The Character of God is Revealed in the Rapture" ---New Window and "Exceeding Great and Precious Promises" ---New Window, for further assistance in preparing for the Rapture.]
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