1 Corinthians 3:13 - 15
ESV - 13 Each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.
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Paul really explains it in verses 6-8. Someone plants the seed "foundation" and another can add to that foundation "watering", but it is God who gives the increase. The increase by God is through proper understanding by the 'foundation layer' of God's Word, the Bible. More specifically, it is stated that it is Paul's gospel for today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) that we will be judged by (Romans 2:16). This is the gospel of God's grace and faith in Christ. It is our job as ministers of reconciliation between God and man to learn, understand, and teach this, Paul's gospel of Christ crucified. When the solid foundation of "gold, silver, precious stones" has been laid, and not the weak of "wood, hay, and stubble", the solid foundation will then prevail when tried by fire, and the builder shall then be rewarded for it. Loss of reward then occurs when a weak foundation of today's gospel of God's grace and faith in Christ has been planted. For instance, adding works as a requirement for salvation today in God's dispensation of grace (Ephesians 3:2). Believers today work for God because we ARE saved, not as a means to BE saved. I would like to expand on the question also since this chapter is in regard to the Judgement Seat of Christ, and not the White Throne Judgement as some confuse. Verse 17 is a reference back to verse 9. Anyone who defiles you, "the temple" and "laborer together with God", will He (God) then destroy. Some mistakenly take this to mean that if you defile yourself in some way, God will destroy you. When kept in its context it is apparent that if anyone attempts to defile you, God's temple, God will destroy them at the White Throne Judgement. Only members of the Church the Body of Christ will appear at the Judgement Seat of Christ. This is also made clear through verse 15 that states that our works of foundation laying and building upon are what will be tried by fire, not we ourselves, as "he himself shall be saved". We, as believing members of the Church the Body, can do nothing that would cause our own destruction by God, as we are sealed until the day of redemption by the holy Spirit at the moment of belief (Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30 KJV). It is important to state also though that true believers of the gospel that saves today (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) would not desire to do anything of this nature to begin with. True believers grow in faith and hate their sin nature in the process. The understanding of God's grace, compared to that of God's future wrath to unbelievers, is the motivator for believers to begin serving God in their lives, and resist the temptations of serving themselves in the flesh. Sometimes we will fail, but remembering that in the end "he himself will be saved" shows how God's grace is greater than our offenses (Romans 5:20).
“For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man." (John 5:26-27). The title 'Son of Man' is not just a reference to Christ coming to us as Messiah, God incarnated into flesh and blood as a human being, as promised by God to Israel in Deuteronomy 18:15-19, but is an actual divine title authorizing the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Judge, (John 5:27), just as the title "Son of God" gives Him the authority to raise our mortal bodies from the dead, (John 5:25). The standards set upon us by the Lord Jesus Christ for the judgment of our individual works is described as 'eyes like flames of fire' (Revelation 1:14, 2:18, 19:12). This judgment is not regarding salvation, which is afforded to us as a free gift apart from all individual works of righteousness and is received by God's grace through faith alone, (Ephesians 2:8-9). The assessment and reward or rejection of our individual 'works' is about receiving eternal rewards and 'boasting in the Lord,' (1 Corinthians 1:30-31), not in ourselves. That is, Jesus rewards our efforts only when He sees Himself working through us by means of His Holy Spirit. Any work done apart from this holy inspiration has no lasting merit and will be 'destroyed' along with all of its effects because it finds no place inside the Lord's system of irreversible goodness, (Romans 8:28), even while we ourselves are 'saved' yet 'as one barely escaping through the flames,' (1 Corinthians 3:15). “Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to render to every man according to his work." (Revelation 22:12).
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