Q. I have a question concerning the difference between “believers” and “true believers” and the Rapture. I have many friends and relatives who believe that Jesus is the son of God and believe that he died on the cross for our sins, but they do not have Jesus as Lord of their lives and it seems they have no relationship or fellowship with Christ. According to John 3:16 will they be taken in the Rapture just based on their belief in Jesus or will they have to endure the Tribulation?
A. John 3:16 is just one of many verses that identify our belief in what Jesus did for us as the single qualification for salvation. The Greek word for belief is pisteuo. Its primary meaning is, “to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, or place confidence in the thing believed.” John 6:28-29 & 6:40, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 1:13-14 and others all use the same word.
This kind of belief is more than just an intellectual assent, it’s an emotional commitment, something we’ve staked our eternal destiny on. The Greek word for faith comes from the same root. It usually manifests itself in the form of changed behavior, but not always, so there’s no specific outward sign that can prove your belief to others or theirs to you. Only the Lord knows for sure who are His because only He knows the inner thoughts of our heart. (1 Cor. 4:5). But all who possess this belief will go in the rapture no matter what their life looks like to others.