Lesson 10

Paul's First Letter to the Corinthians

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

3:10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another builds on it. But let each man be careful how he builds on it. 3:11 For no one can lay any other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ. 3:12 But if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or stubble; 3:13 each man's work will be revealed. For the Day will declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself will test what sort of work each man's work is. 3:14 If any man's work remains which he built on it, he will receive a reward. 3:15 If any man's work is burned, he will suffer loss, but he himself will be saved, but as through fire.  

Today's Lesson 

The Corinthians had developed divisions and strife in their assembly. Because of this, Paul tells them they are more fleshly than they should be. While they should be listening to the guidance and the leading of the Spirit of God, they were more concerned with envy and strife, pitting one of them against another. To counteract this, Paul had given them the metaphor that they were God's farm. God has helpers that tend His farm, people such as Paul, Apollos and Peter. But no matter how much these people work for the betterment of the farm, it is still God who directs the work and owns the land.


In the same way, Paul now shifts to the metaphor of a building. The Corinthians are God's building. Paul laid the foundation at Corinth when he founded the church there. But Paul is not the only worker that God employs at Corinth. Specifically there is another named Apollos now. Apollos builds on the same foundation that Paul laid. Even if another comes and builds there too, it is still God's building. It's not Paul's building and it's not Apollos' building. It belongs to God.


Paul tells them that the foundation that he laid was Jesus Christ. This corresponds with Paul saying that he determined to know nothing while he was with them except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. What Paul built, he built on the foundation of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Nothing else lies within the foundation of the gospel.


But this passage also lays down another basic Christian principle as well. The works of men will be judged one day. This includes the works of Christians as well. Whatever we build with the help of the Holy Spirit will survive the Day of Judgment. These works will be like the work of a master craftsman, completed with gold, silver and costly jewels. The work we do of our own will be like the work of an inferior craftsman. It will be work of wood, hay and stubble. When the fire of judgment comes, this work will be devoured. It will be consumed because it was not done at the direction and with the cooperation of the Spirit of God.


Notice what Paul writes about this judgment, though. This is not a judgment to determine whether or not one will be saved. The judgment of salvation will be determined with whether or not we have placed our faith and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Everyone who does that will be saved. The judgment of works will determine what rewards we will receive for the work done on earth through the Spirit.


Are you building up for yourself rewards in heaven? Are you building on the foundation of Christ under the direction of the Spirit of God?


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