Let’s read 1st Corinthians 3:11-15 from the NKJV: “For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 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 man’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s works which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.”

In this passage we read of a particular “Day” (verse 13) that is coming when every BELIEVER’S WORK will be judged by Jesus Christ. Scripture calls this the “Judgment Seat of Christ” in 2nd Corinthians 5:10 which reads, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” In our passage we’re considering today it is the believer’s SERVICE for the Lord that is emphasized while in 2nd Corinthians it is the entire believer’s LIFE that is under review. We must realize that the Judgment Seat of Christ does not involve Jesus Christ “judging our SINS” for our sins were already judged and removed by Christ Himself when He bore God’s judgment for those sins on the cross (see Isaiah 53:5-6, 10; 2nd Corinthians 5:21; 1st Peter 2:24; 3:18). Every believer can rest assured that we will NEVER come into judgment for our sins (see John 5:24 and Romans 8:1).

I believe this Day will occur immediately after the Rapture of the church (see 1st Thessalonians 4:16-17). Before we enter into our eternal home in glory (see John 14:2-3) the Lord will review our service for Him (from the day we were saved until our last day on earth). This judgment is said to be “by fire” because Christ’s “judgment of our works” will be according to His perfect holiness. Our service must meet His holy standards and thus every act of service that doesn’t meet those standards will be “burned up” like “wood, hay or straw.” Every act of service that meets His holy standards will “endure” like “gold, silver and precious stones.” One has called this time of review “God’s great clearing house” where He will remove work that has been “worthless” so that our service that is approved may be seen as precious to Him and “worthy of a reward,” for the main purpose of this judgment is for REWARDS.

The Lord Jesus, in His marvelous grace, wants to reward His faithful servants for every act of service that was done to bring glory to God and blessing to men. He desires to say to each of us, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord” (Matthew 25:21). The “rewards” He gives out are called “crowns” in Scripture and you can read about them in 1st Corinthians 9:24-25; 1st Thessalonians 2:19; 2nd Timothy 4:7-8; 1st Peter 5:1-4 and Revelation 2:10. When we do receive them we will realize that it was His love and grace, accompanied by His power, which motived us and enabled us to serve Him faithfully and thus we read in Revelation 4:10-11, “The twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and CAST THEIR CROWNS BEFORE HIM, saying: ‘You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power.” Yet I believe He’ll pick up those crowns and place them back on our heads and our place in His coming kingdom will indeed be determined by our faithful SERVICE to Him here and now.

What happens if one’s service is “burned up?” Verse 15 teaches us “he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.” If the Lord, according to His holiness, “rejects our service,” we will suffer LOSS OF REWARD. It is NOT a question of “losing one’s salvation,” for it goes on to say “but he himself WILL BE SAVED.” Even though the “fire has burned up his works,” the “fire won’t touch him!”

Our SALVATION is based on Christ’s work for us and not on our works for Him (see Ephesians 2:8-9).  (442.5)  (DO)