The advocates of the partial-rapture theory declare that only those who are intelligently and eagerly looking for the Lord will be caught up at His return. They affirm that none save those who are walking worthily and who are faithful to the end will be taken to be with the Lord when He descends into the air, and that only such, will, subsequently, |reign| with Him during the millennial era. They teach that all un-spiritual believers will be left behind on earth to suffer the judgments of the Great Tribulation. As a consequence, not a few of the Lord's people have been harassed and distressed, fearful lest they should be among the number who are rejected by the Lord at His coming. We are told that none but those who attain some high standard of spirituality will be raptured, but when we ask for a precise definition of this standard none can enlighten us; when we inquire, How faithful and how worthy we must be in order to be among the select company who shall be taken to the Father's House, none can give us a satisfactory reply. Hence, instead of the Return of our Lord being a blessed hope it becomes a source of bewilderment and anxiety.
It appears to the writer that there is one Scripture which simply and satisfactorily disposes of every objection which can be brought against the affirmation that the entire Body of Christ will be raptured at the appearing of our great Head. We refer to 2 Thess.2:16 -- |Now our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace.| Here we learn that the |Hope| which has been given to God's people in this Age, like every other blessing we enjoy, is |a good hope through grace,| hence, all questions of worthiness, merit, desert, are forever ruled out. Let us settle it once for all that the Dispensation in which we are living is a unique one, that it is fundamentally different from all that have preceded it and from that which is to follow it -- the Millennium. This is the Dispensation of Grace, and grace obliterates all distinctions, grace eliminates all questions of merits; grace makes every blessing a Divine and free gift. But, the human heart is essentially legalistic. Man wishes to have a hand in his own salvation and desires to contribute something to the price of his redemption. When, by grace, the Holy Spirit has taught a soul that the Finished Work of Christ is the sole ground of our justification before God, when he has learnt from the Scripture of Truth that the Blood of the Cross cannot be plussed by anything from the creature, then it is that the Enemy comes to that heart and seeks to disturb its peace and rob it of the liberty wherewith it has been made free, by insisting that faith in Christ merely puts us in a salvable condition, that believing the Gospel simply places us on an extended probation, and that only if we obey God's commands and walk worthily before Him shall we be taken to Heaven at the close of our earthly pilgrimage. This is Law mingled with Grace; thus is the precious Blood supplemented by human works. Instead of realizing that good works flow from a heart that is filled with gratitude to God and which are constrained by the love of Christ, the believer is led to believe that good works must be performed by him as a condition of his eternal salvation. But, even when the believer has been delivered from this error, the legalistic tendency of the human heart still seeks an outlet, and in our day it is manifested in reference to the Blessed Hope of the believer. The saints are now taught that their Rapture and Glorification are not |through grace| but will be the result of personal effort and attainment. Thus does the leaven of legalism work to the robbing of God of His glory and the believer of his peace.
Again we say, let us settle it once for all that we are living in the Dispensation of Grace (John 1:17; Eph.3:2) and that every blessing we enjoy is a gift of Divine clemency. We are justified by grace (Rom.3:24). We are saved by grace (Eph.2:8). The Holy Scriptures are termed |The Word of His Grace| (Acts 20:32). The Third Person of the Holy Trinity is denominated |The Spirit of Grace| (Heb.10:29). God is seated upon a Throne of Grace (Heb.4:16). And, the Good Hope which is given us is |through grace| (2 Thess.2:16). It is all of Grace from first to last. It is all of Grace from beginning to end. It was grace that predestinated us before the world began (2 Tim.1:9), and it will be grace that makes us like Christ at the consummation of our salvation. Thank God for such a |Blessed Hope.|