A Voice in the
For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, you are God's building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 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 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. 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. Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1Cor3:9-17)
"It doesn't matter how we live, God accepts us JUST AS WE ARE. That's graeeesss." How many times haven't I heard comments like this throughout my adult life! Usually these comments are made by people claiming to be Christians, but are so much in love with the world that they "turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ."(Jude4) They haven't counted the cost to be a Christian to realize that when one comes to Christ, they are "a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2Cor5:17)
However, God has seen to it that there is no lack of instruction regarding how to live a Godly life. Every place one turns in Scripture there are either "direct commandments" or there are "word pictures."
Paul likens Christian growth to a "building." In 1Cor6:19-20 he asks, "Don't you know?" ..that your body is the temple of the Holy Spir- it? ..that the Holy Spirit comes to you from God? ..that you are NOT your own? In God's grace He "bought" you. ..GLORIFY God in your body...you belong to God.
As we are Growing Up in Christ, we are "building a building." The way we live for God is likened to the building materials. And when we are all finished, the structure is going to be tested by fire. If the materials remain, we know we did a satisfactory job. If not, the Chris- tian will still be saved, but barely by the skin of his teeth.
What is this testing? "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad."(2Cor5:10) Let us not mistake this for the "Great White Throne" (Rev20:11-15) That judgment is to judge all those whose names were not found in the Book of Life..those who are not Saints.
The Judgment Seat of Christ could perhaps be likened to a cham- pionship game. The practices, training and play-offs are the Christian life. But the ones who get to play in the final game are the ones who worked hard and trained and were prepared. And they are the ones to shoot all the baskets, rack up the points, and at the end of the game, get carried on the shoulders of the others, in triumph. The ones who didn't measure up, or had been sluffing off, or were injured, spend the championship game, side-lined on the "bench." Yes, they are "on the team" but don't receive adulation.
Paul speaks of it, "Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.(~1Cor9:24-27)
Now that we understand a bit of the motivations behind Christian living, the next question might be, "How do I live the Christian life? WHAT should I do? HOW do I do it?"
Again, the answers are in Scripture. We build on the Foundation "which is Jesus Christ." (1Cor3:11) "having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.(Eph 2:20-22)
Jesus put it this way,"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. "But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." (Mat7:24-27)
We must build on the Rock... Christ (1Cor10:4) Obey Christ. "Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments...he who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk just as He walked."(1Jn2:3,6) Be LIKE Christ.
"Be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your- selves."(Jas1:22) Many are those who claim head-knowledge of Scripture. But not many are there who actually submit to God's Word in humility.
We must first of all be "In Christ." Our name is in the Lamb's Book of Life.
We then immerse ourselves in God's Word; looking to it for direc- tion as a "lamp to our feet, light to our path."(Ps119:105); we "take heed" [obey] it for cleansing. (Ps119:9); we "hide" it in our hearts so that we "might not sin" (Ps119:11); we receive "Doctrine, reproof, instruction in righteousness" in order to be "complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2Tim3:16-17)
When we do this we will "seek those things which are above." We will "set [our minds] on things above, not on things on the earth." We will "put to death [our] members" on the earth: fornication, unclean- ness, passion, evil desire, anger, wrath malice, lying, etc. And will "put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him" and will be characterized by "tender mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, etc." And whatever we do will be "in the name of the Lord Jesus."(~Col3:1-17)
As God's building..as God's "field" we should bear fruit. If we abide in Christ we will "bear much fruit."(Jn15:5) If we are rich fertile soil, we will yield, "a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some a hundred. And [Jesus] said to them, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"(Mk4:8-9)