Works Tried by Fire
1 Corinthians 3:12-15
12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each oneís work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each oneís work, of what sort it is.14 If anyoneís work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyoneís work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire
When you read this verse what does it make you think about?
Does it make you tired thinking about working?
Do you get exited about getting a reward if you work hard enough?
Does it make you fear because you are not sure your work will endure?
I think the most important question here is am I reading this according to manís wisdom or Godís. On down in 1 Cor. 3:18-19 it says,
18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you seems to be wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, "He catches the wise in their own craftiness";
I thought it was interesting that this was thrown in out of nowhere after it was talking about building but I think it is the key to how we see verse 12-15. If we look at them in mans wisdom I think we will have some of the thoughts I asked about above. Let me explain. In our wisdom I think we would say that we need to build with gold, silver or precious stones as opposed to hay, wood or straw. We assign value to the former three based on our earthly wisdom and we think that fire will not harm them. We also do not consider the foundation we are building on. Verse 11 says,
11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
When you build a building the foundation is laid based on what will be built on top of it. The plan is set before the foundation is laid. In verse 10,
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it.
We are not cautioned about what we build with but how we build on the foundation. How we build is most important because verse 16 says,
16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?
If we look at how Paul said he laid the foundation then we will see that it was by the Grace of God and not by the work of Paul. Paul was a wise master builder because he let God do the building and not him. We in our wisdom want to build with gold and silver so that we can get a reward or payment for our work. We forget that the fire that will try the work is not fire according to our understanding but fire from God that will consume anything we try to build with. We forget that our reward is Him whom we already have so why would we want anything else. We forget that the building is us, the very temple of God and the foundation for that building is Christ and the finished work of the cross.
So how do we build? It is so simple that we miss it most of the time because we look for some great wise answer in our on wisdom.
John 6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
Our work is simply believing, believing what He says about us even if our eyes donít see,
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
the foundational thing we need to believe is what Jesus said on the
cross "it is finished"
13 Happy is the man who finds wisdom,
And the man who gains understanding;
14 For her proceeds are better than the profits of silver,
And her gain than fine gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies,
And all the things you may desire cannot compare with her.
16 Length of days is in her right hand,
In her left hand riches and honor.
17 Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
And all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her,
And happy are all who retain her.
11 For wisdom is better than rubies,
And all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.