The biblical concept of readiness for the second coming of Christ is to qualify to participate in the rapture of the church as a sleeping or living saint. To be ready therefore is to be qualified and look forward to partaking in the evacuation of the church to heaven. You can be eligible without being ready but you cannot be ready without being eligible. It is the duty of the individual Christian to make himself or herself ready. “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready” (Rev 19:7). The key to participation in the rapture of the church is purposeful preparation. Unpreparedness for the rapture of the church can lead to falling away from the faith. It can also lead to being left behind to face the wrath of the Antichrist.
The doctrine of the imminence of the rapture means that the catching away of saints to heaven is an event that will occur without prior warning. It can happen at any time of the day or night. Being ‘imminent’ means it can take place any moment from now. Since rapture is for the dead and living saints of Christ, when a believer dies, or rather sleeps, his rapture status is determined permanently. Readiness at all times is imperative for a glorious participation in the event.
Two groups of people involved in the rapture of the church are sleeping and living saints. For the dead, rapture-status is determined at the point of death. For the living, being a Christian is not enough to qualify for rapture. The standards for qualification are the same for the two groups but the living can be taken unawares. Just as it is important for you to know your physical health status for insurance and other purposes so it is important for you to know your rapture status in the event of sudden recall. Rapture is likened to sudden death. It is also judgment.
One of the provisions the Lord made for His followers to abide in Him till He returns is the ordinance of Holy Communion. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes” (1 Cor 11:26). Partaking of the Communion table regularly is one way of being ready for the Lord’s return.
The second coming of Christ is for judgment. Self-judgment is the most assured way of living a life of repentance and cleansing by the blood of Jesus. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us” (1 Jon 1:8-10). Failure to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Jesus on regular basis is a major cause of backsliding. Also, failure to remember the Lord’s death is an act of disloyalty to the One who sacrificed His life for our redemption.
God’s judgment of sin in the life of a believer can bring pain. This can be avoided through self-judgment. “For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world” (1 Cor 11:31). Not taking Holy Communion as often as possible is manifest evidence of lack of expectation of the Lord’s return resulting from ignorance or irreverence to the Lord. A Christian who proclaims the death of the Lord Jesus Christ and judges himself or herself daily by taking Holy Communion worthily is demonstrating readiness for the second coming of Christ. This is love for Jesus Christ, His mandate and ministry.