Our salvation rests solely upon the completed work of Jesus Christ, but rewards are to be earned by spiritual service for God, and will be according to the quality of our works. True service done in the power of the indwelling Spirit, is of eternal standing, but fleshly service is perishable and will bring the Christian loss of reward at the final day.
I Corinthians 3
1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.
3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?
4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.
8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labour.
9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
10 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.
11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
13 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.
14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
15 If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.
16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
20 And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.
21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are your’s;
22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are your’s;
23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.
I Corinthians 3:1-2 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 3:3-8 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 3:9-14 – J. Vernon McGee
I Corinthians 3:15-23 – J. Vernon McGee
1 Corinthians 3:1-9 – Prosperity Comes from God
In all our relations with our fellow-men, Christ’s followers must realize their obligations as members of one great family, with one God. A man may be in Christ, truly regenerate and forgiven for his past sins, and yet be carnal; that is, according to Romans 7:18, he may be ruled by me, I, self. The marks of this inward disposition are set out here. He is a babe who needs to be fed with milk, little and often, because unable to digest solid food. He is a sectarian, throwing contempt on those who do not belong to his own school of thought. He allows himself to be infected with jealousy and strife. Let us test our Christian life by these symptoms. Where are we? And if we are conscious that self has become enthroned as the governing motive of life, let us not rest till Christ takes its place.
It is not easy to learn that the planter or the waterer is just nothing at all, and that God is all. Let us think of ourselves only as God’s instruments, and in a humble way as God’s fellow-workers. It is a most helpful thought. Constantly when engaged in tilling the soil as evangelists or in building character as preachers and teachers, let us count on success, because of the all-power of our great Partner. He must give the policy and direction; it is our part to conform wholly to His will and guidance. —Through the Bible Day by Day
1 Corinthians 3:10-23 – Build on the Sure Foundation
We are called upon to contribute our share to the building of saved souls which is rising through the ages, to be an habitation of God through the Spirit, Ephesians 2:21-22. But in addition, we must not neglect the building of our own character on the one foundation, which is Jesus Christ. God has placed Him to be the foundation of every structure which shall stand firm in all the tests of fire through which we are destined to pass. We must needs go on building day by day. Whatever we do or say is another stone or brick. It is for us to choose which heap of material we take it from; whether from that of the wood, hay, or stubble, or from that of the gold, silver, or precious stones.
All things serve the man or woman who serves Christ. The lowliest life may be a link in a chain of golden ministry which binds earth and heaven. Our Lord was constantly described in the Old Testament as the Servant of God. He said that He had come down to earth to do His Father’s will. “I am among you as he that serveth” (Luke 22:27). When we serve Him as He serves the great purposes of God, then everything begins to minister to us. The extremes of existence, of creation, and of duration, all serve us. —Through the Bible Day by Day
I Corinthians 3:10—Let every man take heed how he buildeth.
A fitting illustration of the Christian life for the people of Corinth, famed for its architecture. We are all builders, whether we choose or not! We may be temple-builders! Each heart, each life, each character, may become a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Every act we do, every word we utter, the way in which we spend any moments of our time, is either a fragment of gold, silver, and precious stones, or of wood, hay, and stubble, built into the rising structure of the erection entrusted to our skill and pains. It does not so much matter what we do, but how we do it. Every time we perform any action with the best motives and spirit, we deposit a tiny grain of gold-dust; whenever, on the other hand, we do aught after a slovenly, superficial, and careless manner, we weave into the structure of character a material which will yield as inevitably in the hour of temptation as wood, hay, and stubble before flame.
We sometimes, at the end of the day, reviewing the past hours, bitterly lament that we have done nothing in the way of character-building. “There is nothing to show for this day,” we say mentally to ourselves. Ah! but there is. Every moment has left its record on your heart. Every act has left you confirmed in a good habit or in a bad one. The soullife has not halted for a second; one has been growing to moral health, or towards decrepitude, consumption, and decay. If not gold, then wood; if not silver, then hay; if not costly stones, then stubble.
We shall not be saved on account of our works. The only thing that can secure salvation is the being built into God’s foundation, the Rock Christ Jesus. But we shall be rewarded according to the manner in which we have built up the structure. —Our Daily Homily
It was fortunate that the Savior did not build his church upon a perishable foundation. When in answer to his inquiry Peter said, Thou art the Christ the Son of the living God, Jesus had a corner stone for an edifice whose summit would reach the stars and whose base would be as broad as creation. The church is founded upon a fact and that fact is the historic Christ. No lever of human assumption bolstered by conceit has ever moved that corner stone the breadth of a hair. The church of Jesus is founded upon the impeccable, the faithful, the everlasting Christ who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Touch not the walls of Truth which surround Zion. They are impregnable.
I Corinthians 3:11