Saved “in the Twinkling of an Eye”?

“Now this I say, brethren, that flesh, and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherits incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1 Corinthians 15:50-52).

The above verses have previously been used and continued to be used to support the false notion that one can be saved “in the twinkling of an eye.” The most used application of this teaching relates to salvation at the moment of acceptance of Jesus Christ. The Calvinist believes that when one “accepts” Jesus into their heart as their personal Savior, they are saved. This “salvation” has occurred “in the twinkling of an eye” with no further thought or mention of the other acts of salvation the New Testament describes.

A study of 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 in its context will reveal that Paul was not discussing salvation! He was discussing the resurrection of the dead and the changing from the corruptible body to the incorruptible body of those who are living at the time of the resurrection of the dead.

Verse 53 further helps to understand the context: “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” As can be clearly seen, Paul is not discussing being saved in a moment, “in the twinkling of an eye.” He is discussing the fact that those who are living when the resurrection occurs will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye.”

In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, Paul makes similar comments: “For the Lord, himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” There simply is no justification in these verses for “instant” salvation; they speak of the Lord’s coming and the “unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).
Peter warned of those who are “unlearned and unstable” who “wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). The perversion of 1 Corinthians 15:50-52 into a “proof text” for an unscriptural process of salvation will cause untold millions to spend eternity in hell. May we not only be cautious to “rightly divide the word of truth” but also have courage to teach those who have bet their eternity on such a pernicious false doctrine.

Kyle Campbell