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To understand the verses in question, we need to look at 1 Corinthians 3:10-17, which says, “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no may lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Let’s consider verses 10-12first.  I want to state clearly and emphatically that this passage is dealing with “believers” and their “service for the Lord.”  After we are saved, we have the privilege to serve the Lord by proclaiming the gospel to lost sinners and by teaching the Word to fellow-believers. The Apostle Paul was a faithful servant in both areas; he preached the gospel and many souls were saved, and he taught the truth of Jesus Christ to believers so they could grow spiritually. He “laid the foundation” by giving us all the truth about Jesus Christ as we see in verses 10-11, and now we have the privilege (and the responsibility) of proclaiming that truth to others. As we serve the Lord in this way, we are building on the foundation that the apostle Paul laid as we read in verse 12. If we are faithfully serving the Lord by declaring the truth for the glory of God, it will be looked upon as “gold, silver, precious stones.” In other words, it will be of lasting value. But if we fail to preach the truth accurately and for the glory of God, it will be like “wood, hay, and stubble,” without any real value at all.

In verses 13-15we learn that all of our service is going to be manifested and reviewed, and will either receive a reward or loss of reward. Verse 13 states, “…the day shall declare it.”  What “day” is this? In 1 Corinthians 1:8Paul had this to say, “Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  He used similar language in Philippians 1:6 which says,  Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” It is “the day of Jesus Christ,” when He takes His redeemed ones home to Glory!  He promised that we would be with Him in John 14:2-3, “In My Father’s house are many mansions…I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Our passage for study today is teaching us that immediately after we’re raptured to Glory we will stand before our Savior and His all-searching eyes, pictured by the “fire”, that will see and reveal every act of service we have performed. Every service done that brought glory to His Name will be rewarded, and every service that dishonored Him will suffer loss.  Yet even if all our service was “burned up,” it would NOT affect our salvation, as we see in those words of grace, “…but he himself shall be saved.”

In verse 16 the apostle reminds the Corinthians that they were, as indwelt by the Spirit, the temple of God. And then in verse 17 he introduces another class of “workmen” who seek to defile, or literally to destroy, God’s temple. These are no doubt “false teachers” who introduce false teachings among God’s people with the purpose of destroying the work that God has done in their hearts and lives. Paul spoke of such men to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29, “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.” These are men that are led by Satan that seek to destroy the testimony of God’s people, yet we learn of their deserved fate in those solemn words, “him shall God destroy.”

May we take this passage to heart, dear brothers and sisters and allow the Lord’s love for us to cause us to reach out to others with the Word of God, for their eternal blessing. When “the day of Jesus Christ” comes, our work will then stand the test of fire; we will be rewarded for faithful service, and even more importantly, we will bring glory and honor unto the One Who is worthy to receive it, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ!  (129.1)  (DO)