The only way to enter heaven in this dispensation of grace is rapture. It is also the only way to attain a glorified state “like angels in heaven” in the eternal states. It is also the only means of escaping the lake of fire where mankind is herded without divine intervention after earthly life.
The rapture of the church of Jesus Christ has eligibility criteria. Not all Christians dead or alive can participate in the event mostly because of lack of knowledge. Ignorance is a destroyer. Church rapture is judgment for living Christians. The dead in Christ receive their verdict at the point of exit. It is the same standard of requirement for both groups.
The qualification for participation in rapture in essence requires one to be born of God (John 1:12), live like one who is born again and have nothing that belongs to the kingdom of darkness at the point of exit through sleep or rapture. Those who are not born again are described variously as darkness, children of wrath, and workers of iniquity who need to be pulled out of the fires of hell. The prime need of the unbeliever is salvation and not head knowledge argument about rapture and the existence of hell.
To be born again is the first step along the narrow path that leads to eternal life, but it is not always sufficient ground to participate in the rapture event. Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5-6 NKJV). This commandment is for those who are born again and can discern the true state of affairs in the world especially as it relates to the conflict between the kingdom of Light and the kingdom of darkness.
A born again Christian can miss the rapture of the church. Apostle Paul said: “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 NKJV)
A Christian can fall away from the faith through ignorance, carelessness or deliberate action. The clear teaching of the Scriptures is that one can be born again, be baptized in the Holy Spirit and active in a local assembly and still miss the rapture of the church.
Those to be raptured must have no spot, wrinkle or blemish. A ‘spot’ is a secret sin not confessed to the Lord and not remitted by the blood of Jesus. If ignored it gradually becomes besetting. ‘Wrinkle’ is the manifestation of worldliness in the life of a Christian while ‘blemish’ is the iniquity derived mostly from sexual immorality. These aberrations affect the spirit, soul and body in different ways. “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV)
Consequently, there are two pivotal reasons for missing the evacuation of the church to heaven: failure to be born again and iniquities arising from what I call transactional sins in areas that create commitments involving blood. This is idolatry. Idolatry and sexual immorality are two sides of the same coin as they go hand in hand. Wherever you see one you must find the other too.
If you are a minister of the gospel or a born again Christian you need not that I should say anything about the new birth. Be that as it may, Jesus said a person must be born again to see the kingdom of God in addition to being born of water and the Holy Spirit to enter therein. That clearly is a call for discipleship and growth in grace from babyhood to maturity in Christ.
Matrimony is the second reason people miss heaven. Through society-approved but ungodly marriages many Christians are in bondage without being aware of it. What Jesus will judge is not what tradition or the state permits but what is written in the Bible.