To get a proper understanding of the portion, let’s read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, “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 man 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 made 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.”

The Apostle Paul, in addressing the Corinthian church, refers to himself as a ‘wise masterbuilder’, or an architect.  The building was not his design. It was the Lord’s.  The Lord used Paul to lay the foundation of this great building, which is the church.  Most of us remember the words of the Lord to Peter in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”  Notice the future tense in the words, “I will build my church.”  It was to Paul that the Lord gave the truth of the church and its order, which he faithfully shares with us in his epistles.  Paul is not the foundation, Christ is.  We read in Ephesians 2:20-21 that we, “…are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.”  Paul’s job was to lay the foundation.  Our job, as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ, is to ‘build thereon.’

We are cautioned about how we build.  We have six building materials listed: gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble.  The first three materials are precious and durable while the other three materials are worthless and perishable; not worthy to be used in this building.  The first three materials symbolize the service of the workman which is of faith, done in obedience to the Word of God and demonstrating the character of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The other materials, the wood, hay and stubble symbolize what is not of faith.  It is work done in self-will, trying to exalt ourselves instead of the Lord.

This judgment of our works will occur at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  We read in 2 Corinthians 5:10, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.”  As believers, we are not judged…but our works are!  For those works of ours that are determined to be led of the Lord and honoring to the Lord, we will be rewarded of the Lord.  For those works that we really did just to draw attention to ourselves, or we did to make others think better of us, they will be burnt up and there will be a loss of rewards, but we “shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”

This Judgment Seat of Christ will occur when all the saints appear before the Lord.  This would have to be after the rapture of the church.  During the seven-year Tribulation period, there will be the marriage supper of the Lamb, when we are presented to Christ as a chaste virgin.  Revelation 19:7 says, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”  It stands to reason that we will have our works judged before we participate in this marriage feast.  To stand before the Lord and have our works judged is not something we should dread or be afraid.  There should be nothing that would make us hesitate to stand in the presence of our blessed savior.  However, we should ‘take heed’ how we build and use those materials that are worthy of the Lord Jesus, the gold, silver, and precious stones, that He might be pleased and honored.  (180.7)