Q. During the tribulation, do people get saved the same way we are now? That is, by a personal acknowledgment one’s own sinfulness and need of the Savior and by accepting Christ as that Savior?
I was curious because after the rapture, the “power that holds back” will be taken away (and many take this to mean the Holy Spirit), allowing the lawless one to come forth. When we accept Christ, the Holy Spirit is immediately given to us and resides within us. When people want to accept Christ during the Tribulation, will the Holy Spirit be available to them? If not, what are the spiritual implications of such a scenario?
A. People can only be saved by confessing that they’re sinners who are hopelessly estranged from God, and asking Jesus to be their savior. When that happens during the Church age the Holy Spirit comes to reside within the believer. But it wasn’t that way before the Church and it won’t be so after. The Church is the only group whose salvation is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit.
During post rapture times believers will have the same conditional salvation as Old Testament believers had. They’ll have to stay alert and stay pure. This is the meaning behind the parable of the 10 virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) and other passages like Rev. 16:15, “Behold, I come like a thief! Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.”
I wrote an article on the subject a while back. Here’s a link.