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The judgement of believers' works

1 Corinthians 3:12 Are you building a palace or a shack?

The rewards accumulated in every faithful believer’s life are described in

1 Corinthians 3:9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field; you are God’s building. 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. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

We will receive these rewards at the end of our life at the bema judgement seat of the righteous[1].

Paul compares the life of faith as though each believer was building a structure. Our materials can be gold, silver, or precious stones or else they can be wood, hay and stubble. If you are building with gold, silver, and precious stones you are building a palace. However if you are building with wood, hay, and stubble the best you could hope for would be a shack, a hut, or a mud-hut [2].

In the above scripture v13 we learn that each person’s work for God will be tried by fire. The fire would only purify the gold, silver and precious stones but would completely consume and destroy the wood, hay, and stubble.

This confirmed in v15 which is not talking about loss of salvation but the loss of rewards.

What does this mean for Christian believers?

Are we building a palace or a shack?

Or are we building a mixture precious and worthless materials? If this is the case, there would be a partial collapse of the structure when tried by fire.

When serve the Lord with work done in the flesh, or in our own strength, or not specifically commissioned by the Lord then we would expect to produce wood, hay, and stubble.

When we serve the Lord by doing works that He commissioned and were conducted in the power of the Holy Spirit then we can expect our rewards to include gold, silver, and precious stones.

What do you think?

What about me? I suspect I have a mixture of both types of work in which case there will be size reduction when my building it is tried by fire!

What do you think you are building today?


Personal Prayer

[1] The Bema Seat is the title given the Judgment Seat of Christ (see 2 Corinthians 5:10, and Romans 14:10). [2] Roger Price CCF Tapes BBS 023 ‘Palaces or mud-huts’.

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