An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

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.”
(1 Corinthians 3:10)

As I write this devotional, Linde and I are in the middle of doing a home renovation that will make our house more conducive to hosting more people. Recently, our electrician friend came in to assess the work that he would need to do, and he assured us that everything would be “up to code.” This was important, he insisted, in order to ensure the safety of future owners of our house who might want to do renovation work of their own. While he spoke to us, my mind wandered off to the Scriptures (as it’s prone to do!) and I began to think about the many references in the Bible to the church as God’s building project. “Upon this rock,” said the Lord Jesus, referring to the apostolic witness to Himself, “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). The apostle Peter, to whom this amazing statement was made directly, elsewhere referred to Christians as “living stones,” who are being built together into a “spiritual house” for God (1 Peter 2:5). Peter of course agrees with Paul, who declared that Christians “are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:20-22). Today’s verse passage reminds us that, though we as individual Christians have an everlasting and unshakable foundation in Christ Jesus the Lord, we ought to be careful about what we try to build upon that foundation both in terms of our outward conduct and our inward thought lives. “Every man’s work shall be made manifest:” wrote the great apostle, “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” (1 Corinthians 3:13). Paul continued, “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:14-15). Here we get the picture of a man who has received Christ for salvation, but has not built properly upon that foundation; he has not built his life “up to code.” Though he is saved, he will miss out on special recognition and rewards in the life to come. He is saved “yet so as by fire.” This is the opposite of the man who adds to his saving faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity, who God grants an abundant entrance “into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:3-11). May the Lord help us to build our lives according to the code contained not in the ordinances of man but in God’s precious word.

God bless,

pastor john