The Journal of Biblical Accuracy
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Misusing 1 Corinthians 3:15 "I can do whatever I want and still be saved! On the day of judgment my (sinful) works may be burned but I will still make it!"

People get this idea by misinterpreting and taking 1 Corinthians 3:15 again out of context. Let’s read this passage in its context:

1 Corinthians 3:10-15
"According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw — each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire."

People take verse 15 and think in the back of their mind: "it does not basically matter what I do. Whatever I do, even if I walk according to the flesh, I may lose the rewards but I will still make it into the Kingdom. My works will be burned but I am not in danger." Yet, this is not at all what the passage says. The passage is not speaking about works in general, including sinful works. What it speaks about is building on the foundation, which is no other than Jesus Christ i.e. it speaks about works that were done on the foundation of Christ. Therefore, this is not a passage addressed to people who left this foundation to follow the world, living after the flesh, the old nature, and sinning willingly and as a way of life. For this case there are other passages which we have seen in this study. In contrast this passage refers to people who stay in Jesus and have Jesus as their foundation. Not every work that a believer does, will stand the test of fire. Some of them will be burned. Whoever has served God for some time, can probably list some things he has done on the foundation of Christ that will not stand the test of fire. For example, to those who teach the Word, James says:

James 3:1-2
"Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. [KJV: "we shall receive the greater condemnation"]. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body."

Many want to teach the Word of God and if this is what God has called somebody to do, he should do it with fear of God. But this does not mean that it is risk free. There will be a judgment for what one teaches and for any other work built on the foundation: "for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire." This is the context of the passage. We can apply it for works built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Some of them are of gold, silver and precious stones, but others of wood, hay and straw. These latter ones will be burned.

Next section: Speaking in tongues as proof that of salvation

 

Author: Anastasios Kioulachoglou