If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. 1 Corinthians 3:12-13
Buildings are being built all over the world. Each one uses different types of materials to be built. Mud huts are built in some locations, steel buildings are built in many large cities, wooden and brick homes are the homes of choice of many people. Even plastic and glass buildings are built.
The choice of how to build the building, depends on how it is expected to be used and what type of weather it will have to endure. Wooden homes will not survive in locations with hurricanes. Mud homes will not be able to be built in extreme cold climates. Once a firm foundation is laid, choices on how to build the place have to be made.
Lives of people also require a foundation and a building. The world builds their lives on a foundation of self and sin. Believers build their lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ. Both still have choices to make on how their lives are built.
Salvation comes through faith in what Jesus did, not the works being done. However, God has rewards for people for what they have done with their life.
On the day Jesus returns, all the works of the believers will be tested in a fire to determine their value. Some of those works will be wood, hay and straw. These are works that have no eternal value. Works of ministry for selfish reasons, going through the motions of ministry without the heart in it, worshipping without the heart in it, and many other works. These works will be destroyed by the fire as of no value.
Other works, such as spreading the gospel, giving a helping hand, feeding the poor, loving the hated, and other works that Jesus did, will survive the fire. They have eternal value.
How are you building your life?
Is it with precious stones of high, eternal value, that will survive the fire?
Or are you building your life with things of this world, that are wood, hay, and straw, that will not survive the fire?
Either way, you will be saved, but your reward will be different.
I pray today that you will know what God wants you to do; that you will do things of eternal value for Jesus; that your works will bring glory to God; and that your life will be focused on God and eternity.
Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin. Romans 3:20
People have a love/hate relationship with the law. They like the law because it gives boundaries and tells them what they can and cannot do. Yet, they hate the law for the very same reason that it tells them what they can and cannot do. People want to have complete freedom to do whatever they want to do.
Some people are the strict rule followers. They will strive to never break the law in any way. They pride themselves in being a rule follower. They are also very quick to point out to someone else when that person has broken a law. The list of laws seems to go on forever.
Others will pride themselves in being a rule breaker. They feel as though the law is not for them or that they are above the law.
These types of actions will also be found in the church. Some churches will have a long list of laws to follow in order to be a ‘good’ Christian believer. They like to show where people are at fault in breaking God’s law. Some will strive to live under the Old Testament law, claiming to be a good Christian by doing what God has said to do.
Yet, the law was not there for the purpose of action. Without a law there cannot be any breaking of the law. Without the law, there cannot be any sin. It was put in place to help a person become conscious of sin in his life.
Following the law will not make a person righteous before God. Once a person sins, there is only one thing left, and that is death. The law cannot take away sin. This puts a need in the person’s life for God to step in and provide salvation through Jesus Christ.
You may be one who prides yourself in following God’s laws. You may do it a little or a lot, however, it is not about the law. Everything is about the grace of God found in Jesus Christ.
As you look at the law, realize how sinful you really are. Notice how much you deserve punishment. Then turn to Jesus and find His grace and mercy to forgive you of your sins.
I pray today that God will reveal the sin in your life; that you will turn to Jesus for forgiveness; that you will know the purpose of God’s law in your life; and that you will know the salvation Jesus provides.
“Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear?” Acts 15:10
The churches in Jerusalem were requiring Gentile people to get circumcised if they wanted to be saved. Peter saw this and questioned them. He wanted to know why they were putting on such a requirement that they, themselves were unable to fulfill. He goes on to say that everyone is saved by grace of Jesus, not the works.
Every religion, except Christianity, requires people to do certain works in order to be saved. In the eyes of the world, this makes sense. In ordered to be saved by a god, a person must do something to earn it. Mankind wants to earn what he gets.
Under the Old Testament Law, people were required to live a certain way and do certain things, in order to gain God’s favor and be saved. It was very quickly shown in the Garden of Eden that mankind was unable to fulfill those requirements.
Yet, throughout the history of Christianity, people have been known to put on requirements for salvation that God did not put there. Many times people are told that in order to be saved, they must clean up their life and give up certain things. Or they must go to a certain church, or dress a certain way. They are told that if they do not do these actions, or others, they cannot be saved.
No where in scripture does God put any extra work requirements upon a person to be saved. All a person must do is confess his sins, believe in Jesus, and publicly announce that Jesus is Lord. It is trusting in the grace and mercy of Jesus that brings salvation, not any work or action.
Take a look at your own life and determine how you are saved. If it was not by works, then do not add anything to others to be saved. Keep salvation by grace as Jesus made it, not the way the world wants it.
Salvation is a gift from God for any who believe. It is not something earned or bought. Keep it that way, so that all may be saved. Teach the gospel message just as Jesus gave it, one of grace and mercy, with nothing added that cannot be done.
I pray today that you will know Jesus as your Savior; that you will tell others about Jesus; that you will not add requirements to be saved that Jesus did not put there; and that you will know the grace and mercy of God in your life.
Help me, LORD my God; save me according to your unfailing love. Psalm 109:26
David had many enemies trying to attack him and destroy him. They were saying false things about him in an attempt to bring him to ruin. He cries out to God for help. The first part of this psalm is David requesting God to strike his enemies. In this verse, he talks about needing God to save him according to His great love.
David never saw himself as that great of a person. He knew his faults and failures. Here He calls on God to help him according to His unfailing love. David knew that God loved with perfect endless love. It was on that great love that David is calling for help.
When a person is having a hard time and needs help, there are some who will call to others to assist him. Often when this is done, they talk about how good the person is or how much that person has done and deserves some help. Their focus is always on how good that person is.
Prayers are often asked in this same way in the church. Praying that God will meet the need of a person because of all the good he had done or for how long he has served God.
God meeting needs of people has nothing to do with the love the person has for God. It has to do with His love and His love alone.
Many people feel that they have to earn God’s love and earn His help. There is nothing that you can do to make God love you more. And there is nothing you can do to make God love you any less. His love is constant, perfect and eternal.
You are saved from sin because of His love for you. He will also meet your needs, whatever they are, because of His great love for you.
As you pray to God for needs to be met, worship Him and ask Him to meet the need according to His love for you. In this way, your need will be met in the perfect way, not just your temporary way.
Trust God’s love to save you, not your works.
I pray today that you will know God’s love for you; that you will not try to earn your salvation or needs being met; that your focus will be on God more than your needs; and that you will worship God with all your heart.