Antiquarian Anabaptist

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Take heed how you build

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5).

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. 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. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:9-11).

In these verses the Apostles are describing the church as a spiritual temple for worshipping God. The foundation of this temple is Jesus Christ and Christians are called to work together in unity to build up the walls of the church. We are all imperfect builders and apt to at times choose materials that seem to us to be strong and sturdy, but will not endure when tested by fire.

These verses seem to be primarily directed at ministers of the gospel, yet we all have some supporting role in building the walls of the church. We would all acknowledge that we have responsibilities in our homes and congregations, but may we not stop there. Others see us when we are away from home and their ideas about the nature of the church are influenced by what they observe in us.

There is a comforting promise in the verse 15 of 1 Corinthians 3 for those who have used materials that were not durable: as long as we were fully on the foundation of Jesus Christ we will be saved. These flammable materials could be attitudes that were somewhat selfish, attempts to blend the teachings of men with the eternal truths of the Bible, attempts to cut corners in our business dealings, or having confidence in men rather than in God.

“Our God is a consuming fire.” The nearer we come to God, the more of these impurities in our life and our teaching will burn. We need not feel threatened by this, this is simply God’s way of preparing us for heaven and at the same time preparing us for more effect service while we still live here on earth.

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