Today's Foundations Devotional: The test of fire
You shall not bow down to them nor serve them.
For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the
iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and
fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing
mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep
This judgement of believers for rewards is described by Paul:
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 manifest; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work 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 (1 Cor. 3:11-15).
Paul makes it clear that this is a judgement not of every man’s soul but of every man’s work. Even if a man’s works are totally burned up, yet his soul will be saved. In the first verse of this passage Paul explains why such a man’s soul is secure.
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ (v. 11).
This judgement concerns only those who have built their faith not upon their own works or their own righteousness but upon the foundation of Jesus Christ and His righteousness. So long as their faith remains unmoved upon this foundation, their souls are eternally safe.
When it comes to the assessment of believers’ works, these are placed by Paul in one of two categories. On the one hand there are “gold, silver, precious stones.” On the other hand there are “wood, hay, straw.”
The basis on which these two categories are separated from each other is the ability to stand the test of fire. The items in the first category – gold, silver, precious stones – will be able to pass through the fire without being consumed. The items in the second category – wood, hay, straw – will be consumed in the fire.
One thought immediately emerges from contrasting these two categories: Quality is of infinitely greater importance to God than quantity. Gold, silver and precious stones are all things that are normally found in small quantities but are nevertheless of great value. Wood, hay and straw are all things that take up much space and are obtainable in large quantities but are of relatively little value.
Father, thank You for helping me every day to build my
life-house with gold, silver and precious stone - so with
things of eternal value - and not with the fleeting, passing
things of this world. I want to honour You with everything
I do, Lord! You are worth everything to me! Amen.