Back in the mid-70s when I was a teenager and a babe in Christ there was a painting that hung on a wall inside the church. The picture was of a large city from a distance; in the sky above the city was Jesus Christ and throughout the painting were Christians being caught up in the air to Him. Also scattered through the image were car wrecks, a plane crash and other disasters that were caused by the masses of people disappearing as they are taken up to Christ. The painting was of the rapture.
Christians have long portrayed the rapture as an event that will cause mass chaos; every major city in America having multicar pileups because of drivers disappearing, thousands dying in plane crashes all over the world as pilots suddenly vanish. Industrial accidents, assumed prison breaks because of empty cells, individuals on live TV or web cams vanishing into thin air. Panic would be worldwide, rioting and looting would be the rule of the day as society crumbles into pieces.
May I suggest something for every person claiming to be a Christian to think about? Could the rapture not be that large of an earth shattering event?
Christ asked the question in Luke 18:8, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?” Fascinating, we Christians tend to think when the rapture comes a good percentage of the earth, especially here in the United States, will go. Jesus, on the other hand, asks if He will find any faith at all.
Preachers will often use Matthew 7:14, “because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” as a motivator for people to accept Christ as Saviour, but think of what Jesus said here; only a few will find it.
Christ also told us that the condition of the earth when He returns would be like it was in the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26). We often talk about the rampant sin of Noah’s day when we mention this, but we never look at the righteous side. There were only eight saved in the entire world when the flood came.
I have enough faith to believe there will be more than eight Christians walking the globe when the rapture comes but if we add all this together; “shall he find faith?” plus “few there be that find it” plus “as it was in the days of Noah” can we conclude the event may not be as earth shattering as we thought with tens or hundreds of millions of people vanishing into thin air?
If not as many are going in the rapture as we thought we must conclude that there are not as many true Christians as we think. This is a sobering thought.
Salvation is by faith without works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:27-28; Romans 4:1-5). If someone is trusting in Christ plus the fact they have joined a church, been baptized or done some other good work is there salvation only by faith in Christ?
Christ said, “Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it” (Luke 17:33). If you are seeking to gain eternal life, though your own good works or by some religious ceremony, you won’t find the eternal life you seek.
Saving faith is not a faith that sits back and does nothing; saving faith will produce works (James 2:17-20); saving faith will change a person’s heart (2 Corinthians 5:17) and saving faith will cause a person to turn away from sin (Luke 13:1-5; 2 Peter 3:9).
The Bible gives us a warning that not all faith is saving faith, “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19).
How many professing Christians have not had a faith that caused a change in heart, a turning from sin and propelled them to do any work for Christ? God, of course, only knows the answer, but He did want us to think about the question when He asked, “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in northern Parke County Ind. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Blog:www.preacherjohnson.com.