Saturday, 3 May 2014
…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 one’s work, of what sort it is.1 Corinthians 3:13
Paul is now speaking of anyone who builds on the foundation, which is Christ. Therefore, as noted in the preceding verse, he is speaking of saved believers regardless of the soundness of their work. Having noted six different metaphors concerning their work, he now says that “each one’s work will become clear.” Those people who teach incorrectly will be shown where their faults were; those who taught what is right and in accord with sound doctrine will likewise be so informed.
A great example of what Paul is speaking of today is how modern Israel is perceived. The doctrine of dispensationalism teaches that despite being out of God’s favor due to their rejection of Christ, Israel’s time of punishment will end and Christ will return to Israel after the Tribulation period refines them. From Jerusalem, and in the midst of His people Israel, He will reign for a thousand years.
Reformed theologians, for the most part, dismiss this and believe that the church has replaced Israel. To them, the 1000-year reign of Christ mentioned in Revelation is merely symbolic of the entire church age; not a literal time-frame, but simply a number which represents “fullness.”
Both of these cannot be right. Both sides truly believe they are correct and they find the opposing view incredible to even contemplate. In the end, proponents of both views will stand before the Lord and this, along with all their other correct or incorrect doctrine, will be evaluated. At that time “the Day will declare it.” This means that when the judgment of believers for rewards and losses are handed out, in that Day, the declaration for right doctrine will be proclaimed and the declaration for the faulty will also be called out.
Paul says that the reason it will occur is “because it will be revealed by fire.” In Revelation 2:18, we read this comment about the Lord –
“These things says the Son of God, who has eyes like a flame of fire, and His feet like fine brass.”
The “eyes like a flame of fire” speak of His ability to seek out and determine all things, burning away that which is of no value. The “feet like fine brass” speaks of judgment. It is at the Judgment Seat of Christ that the evaluation of each man’s efforts will be made. He alone will determine the truth of matters such as dispensationalism by “the fire” which “will test each one’s work, of what sort it is.”
The marvelous thing about Christ’s judgment is that it will be perfectly fair and it will be perfectly just. No soul will come before Him for judgment and leave feeling as if he had received unfair treatment. Instead, he will realize the error of his faults. Another beautiful aspect of what is involved in this judgment is the fact that we were given, in advance, the necessary tools to determine what our judgment will be!
In the giving of the Bible, we have been handed His instruction manual for life, doctrine, and practice. It is up to us to rationally, fairly, and competently evaluate those doctrines which are presented and then to reject those which are faulty. In the end, we can be as right as we want or as wrong as we want. We can pray about, study, meditate on, and proclaim God’s word competently, or we can trust other’s findings and hope they were right.
Of what eternal value is sitting on the computer playing games, watching an endless succession of television shows, or heading out to the mall day after day for shopping? And yet, we pursue these at the expense of right doctrine! Let us be prepared at our judgment, which is coming, for that which lasts.
Life application: How sure are you about which type of baptism is correct? Are you trusting the Bible or tradition? If the Bible, are you properly evaluating baptism’s symbolism and purpose? This is one of a zillion things that you will be evaluated on. Read, study, be approved!
Magnificent and splendid God! Someday I will stand before Jesus Christ for my judgment. On that day, the doctrine I held to, the things I taught concerning Your word, and the decisions I made about the standards You have given in Your word will all be exposed before me. Those things of value will stand. The others will be burned away in the fire. Give me the heart now, Lord, to study and be approved on that awesome Day. Amen.