A Christian friend is "claiming her boys for Christ," even if the rapture occurs. Is this sound?

A Christian friend is "claiming her boys for Christ," even if the rapture occurs. Is this sound?

What Christian mother would not have a burden for her unbelieving sons, especially if they are young men? Saying anything to discourage this mother would be unkind. Pointing out a couple of problems in this sister’s thinking might help others, however.

The first is a matter that has appeared in these columns previously. Those who, during the tribulation, have "received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved" will be damned (2 Thessalonians 2:10, 12a). They did not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness (v 12). By the middle of the seven year period, these will have had sufficient truth that they could have been saved, but they chose not to believe that truth. The result is a judgement assigned by God that, although they are still living, they will be deceived and subsequently damned. They will see the fulfillment of God’s Word in "the abomination of desolation" (Matthew 24:15) and their doom will be sealed.

If during this period God will so severely judge these who have had 42 months of privilege, what makes us think that He will treat those with greater privilege (and have seen His Word fulfilled in the Rapture) differently? Those who know the gospel clearly in this age will have had clearer light, personal testimony urging them to accept salvation, and closer dealings of the Spirit with their conscience. Knowing the enmity of the human heart (Rom 8:7) and the wilfulness of those who resist the gospel (John 3:36b), we should expect that God will deal as severely with the privileged who enter that seven year period as He will with the less privileged 42 months later. In light of this, I judge it to be a cruel unkindness to give anyone who knows the gospel message any hope that he can be saved after the Rapture.

The second concern is equally sensitive. "Claiming our children for Christ" because we have prayed for them could be sound. This could be a statement of confidence in God, knowing that He is kind (Luke 6:35), shares our concerns (1 Peter 5:7), and loves to answer prayer (Psalm 65:2). This is proper and grows out of a vibrant relationship with our Father. Such a statement of trust does not, however, obligate our Father to do what we have asked; it is a matter of trusting Him.

On the other hand, if the statement amounts to a bargain with God, it is seriously misguided. If something a believer does places God under obligation or makes his children more "savable," will that child be saved by grace or by his parents’ works?

Praying fervently (James 5:16) and urgently for his children’s salvation is becoming for a Christian parent. Anything less would seem uninformed. At the same time, humble confidence in God is always sound.

David Oliver