Too much has already been said about Harold Camping and his foolish prediction that his view of the rapture would happen last Saturday. Perhaps I will write about my understanding that Camping’s understanding of the rapture will actually never happen, but that is for another time. But allow this one last thing.
In all that the secular media have had to say about Camping’s prediction, they always get one thing wrong. They all talk about the “good” people being raptured and the “bad” people being “left behind”.
One Toronto magazine put it this way:
“The gang’s all here, which means one of two things: we are all horrible, horrible people who were deemed unworthy of Rapture, or—and this is more likely, we hope—Christian radio host Harold Camping lied about being a prophet on his résumé”
Thet got the part right about Camping not being a prophet. But they couldn’t be more wrong about who gets to be with Christ when He comes. We believe that Jesus will one day return in power and glory. We do not know when. It may not be for thousands of years yet. But it will not rescue the good and damn the bad. There is not a person on the planet who will be deemed worthy of seeing Christ.
The saved are not “worthy” of anything. Hear Paul in Romans 3.
Romans 3:10-18 (ESV)
as it is written:
“None is righteous, no, not one;
 no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
 “Their throat is an open grave;
they use their tongues to deceive.”
“The venom of asps is under their lips.”
 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
 in their paths are ruin and misery,
 and the way of peace they have not known.”
 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
This fundamental Christianity. It is one of the most basic, most emphasized, most preached truths of the Gospel. But those outside the faith still do not hear it. They still hear that the good will live forever and hell is for really really bad people.
Christians are called to give the Gospel. Let’s make sure we get it right. We are not saved because we are better than anyone else. We do not believe because we are smarter, more spiritual, more holy, more good or more anything. We do not deserve to be saved. We do not deserve to live. We did not deserve to wake up this morning.We are saved, not because we are good, but because God is merciful. We believe because God has given us faith. We did not choose Him, He chose us. Salvation is a work of God, not us. The New Testament compares the act of God in saving us to His creative work of bringing light into the world.
2 Cor. 4:6 (ESV)
For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
Salvation from sin is an act of grace. It does not come because of us but because of Him. It is appropriated by faith, not works. We simply trust Jesus Christ to do for us what we cannot do.
We are still here on planet earth, not because we are all so bad that we don’t deserve heaven, but because God is patient with people and still calling people to faith in His Son. This message is foreign to the thinking of the unbelieving world. That is why it needs to be delivered by those who have come to see its truth.