(Luke 21:36) Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
The Bible teaches that Jesus will return to this earth from the sky to take His bride home (1 Thes 4:16-18; 1 Cor 15:51-52). This is called the Rapture of the church. It will happen suddenly and therefore scripture exhorts us to be ready (Rev 22:12). But will some Christians miss the rapture? Will they not be ready and therefore be left behind?
The church of Thyatira was a corrupt church that tolerated idolatry and immorality. Jesus warned the perpetrators as such: (Rev 2:22) Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed, and those who commit adultery with her into great tribulation, unless they repent of their deeds. Does this mean that some confessed believers will be punished by having to endure the judgment of God that will be coming to this earth? This is the belief of the Partial Rapture Theory that states only faithful Christians will be taken and unfaithful Christians will left behind.
The problem with the Partial Rapture Theory is that it is works-based. But the Bible says we are saved by grace through faith (Eph 2:8-9). Our salvation is not by merit. It also teaches that our sanctification is the work of the Spirit (1 Thes 5:23-24) and that we can do nothing without Jesus (John 15:5). If we believed we could not be righteous enough for the Lord’s coming then at what point are we guaranteed transport to heaven and at what point are we not? There’s no way a person can know so that would produce constant anxiety in the believer. But we are called to Christ’s peace and to be rooted in God’s love (Col 3:15; Eph 3:17-19).
So what do we say about some believers missing the Rapture? I believe the Lord will take all believers in Christ home to heaven and deal with each one at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Rom 14:10; 2 Cor 5:9-10; 1 Cor 3:11-15). Some will be rewarded and others will only have the reward of heaven because they had a saving faith but failed to do any works for Christ. How sad would that be to not have any commendation from our Lord. How much better to live for Jesus and hear Him say: (Mat 25:21) His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.
Though it seems all believers will be raptured, all make-believers will not! (Mat 7:21-23) “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’