Can I be saved if I'm left behind?
If I am "left behind", will I have a chance to make it right or am I doomed even if I'm persecuted as a Christian?
Some people who ask that question, "Will there be a second chance?" use it as an excuse to claim that there is no pretribulation rapture because "God does not give second chances". Well, I don't think they can prove that last assertion, so their supposedly logical denial falls apart, but the first question is a common concern;
"Can I be saved if I'm left behind?"
I believe that after the rapture, when the antichrist will be revealed as he, in public, "confirms the covenant with many" (Dan 9:27) there will be a strong delusion sent.
2 Thess 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
Rev 3 describes this similarly, describing it as the "hour of temptation" or "trial" for the world.
Rev 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
Therefore, to be saved AFTER the rapture, will require greater discernment of the truth, a greater trial than is required today. Today, we do not have to cut through that particular strong delusion, or trial, since it has not yet been "sent".
"Persecuted Christians" are NOT doomed. They will be rewarded, as in, "obtain a better resurrection!"
Hebrews 11:35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: 40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.
Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
Clearly, there will be some who come to be Christians after the rapture of the Church, symbolized by the "man child" in Rev 12. Rev 12 ends with the phrase that the "remnant of her seed" who are persecuted in the tribulation.
Rev 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
So, to answer, yes, you will have a "chance" to "make it right" if you are not raptured, but I think it will be harder to "make it right" then, than it is today.
If you are wanting to be saved, I think the process is relatively simple. Confess your sins, and repent, which means to turn away from sinning, and confess the Lord Jesus with your mouth-which is the act of witnessing to others about your faith.
Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
1 John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Mat 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Beyond that simple message, a few important specifics are that you need to continue to remain faithful, continue to confess your sins and repent of them, and allow yourself to be continually renewed by the washing of the water of the Word of God, by reading and studying the Bible regularly.
Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Regular Bible study also protects you from fake Christians who only claim to be Christian for power, or money, or fame, and it also helps you to present a more effective witness of the truth of what the Bible says when others ask.
Getting back to those who use the "second chance" idea as a reason to scoff at the pretribulation rapture. Their basic contention is that the pretrib rapture is a doctrine which breeds spiritual laziness and complacency, or may even lead people to desire to avoid making a commitment to Christ today, since they might be able to do it later. But this accusation swings much harder against those who deny the pretribulation rapture. Their doctrine that the rapture does not come until after the tribulation, can give people the SAME REASON to delay accepting Jesus Christ as Lord; they can just wait for the tribulation to arrive which will be noticeable by the appearance of the Antichrist and the appearance of the many other supernatural descriptions of the tribulation found in Revelation such as the oceans turning to blood.
In point of fact, I believe the correct understanding of Rev 3 (pretrib) is the strongest warning against
spiritual complacency. The Laodicians are basically told they will not be
raptured, but be sent into the tribulation, unless they repent. I believe
this warning to the Laodican-type Christians is applicable to the subject of
the rapture and tribulation because of the context. The verses to the
Laodicains, Rev 3:14-19, are preceded by and
followed by the oft-quoted rapture verses Rev 3:10 and Rev 4:1, which are linked by the
description of the "open door", a theme of the rapture and Feast of
Trumpets also found in Matt 25.
And I have no idea how Matt 25:1-13, nor Luke 21:36 can breed spiritual complacency.
Luke 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
In reality, it is the doctrine of "Once Saved Always Saved", (OSAS) or eternal security which breeds spiritual laziness. Those who adhere to these unscriptural doctrines, (yet also preach the pretrib) also tend to deny that Luke 21:36 and Matt 25:1-13 are about the rapture. Occasionally, they also tend to deny that Rev 3 and Rev 4 are about the rapture as well.
In summary, knowing there is a way to escape will lead one to search for it. Not knowing there is a pretrib escape, or believing and preaching that the pretrib rapture is not true, is the doctrine which causes spiritual laziness and complacency.
Matt 24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Not knowing that there is a pretrib rapture, or preaching against it, is one way one would be caught unaware at the Lord's return at the rapture. Note that Matt 24:51 does not say death is the immediate consequence for that particular evil servant. It looks as if the consequence is not death, but being sent into tribulation, with the weeping and gnashing of teeth as an acknowledgment of having missed out on the rapture. Similar passages are Matt 25; the 5 foolish virgins, Matt 7:21-23, the "workers of iniquity" who are told merely to "depart".
Perhaps the best proof that salvation is still available during the tribulation is the ministry of the two witnesses of Revelation 11. If these are two men preaching to people, obviously their goal is to help people to repent and be saved. I strongly suspect that part of the deception will be that the world will say that these two witnesses are really the Antichrist and the false prophet.