Who Will Be Saved?
Do you believe there will someday be a worldwide rapture of Christians as described in I Thessalonians 4 and I Corinthians 15? In my last blog post, I tried to imagine in a lighthearted way when and how such a thing could take place. (Click the underlined links to read more.)
The concept of the Rapture is so far removed from everyday experience. It's miraculous, fantastical, even paradoxical. The Apostle Paul calls it a mystery.
Did you know Paul is the only writer of Scripture to describe the Rapture? (Although I believe it's more accurate to call all the writers of the Bible co-authors with God, since the Holy Spirit inspired them.) There are plenty of references to various other end times events by other apostles, Old Testament prophets—even Christ Himself, but nobody but Paul mentions the Rapture.
Do you suppose Paul made a mistake about the Rapture? I don't think he did. I think the Holy Spirit deliberately revealed the mystery of the Rapture to Paul and only Paul because he was a unique apostle—he was the one and only apostle to the Gentiles.
As the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul understood the Law of Moses didn't have the power to rescue from death; God gave the Jews the Law to teach them they needed rescue from death. The Rescuer, though—the One Who has power over death—is Jesus Christ. Paul's gospel to the Gentiles, therefore, reveals there is no salvation in following the Law. Paul proclaims salvation comes from believing the Rescuer Jesus Christ has the power to defeat death. And we know He does, because He died, was buried, and was resurrected. And He still lives! Jesus Christ is alive right now!
Paul also teaches a gospel of grace. Grace is the term Paul gives to the process of acquiring the Rescuer's power over death. And this is the really exciting part, dear readers. Grace means our salvation is a gift. When we believe, trust, have faith—however you want to say it—in Jesus' death, burial, and resurrection, the Holy Spirit seals us—that's Him giving us the gift.
And once we're sealed, it's done. Our salvation from death is a finished work. So the answer to the question "who will be saved?" in the title above, is those who have believed and been rescued by God's grace.