DAY OF THE LORD . . . What is of sound design and substance will endure if built on the foundation of Jesus Christ

“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his 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 man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (Reference: 1 Corinthians 3:11-15 )

This posting has a long title . . . . because I am placing in it many ideas and concepts. And that is because, beloved, there are many ideas and concepts that are reflected in these few verses. The writer of 1 Corinthians has done himself proud in its thought and construction. In order to be sure I grasped it correctly, I consulted Albert Barnes. And as always he stated the case so well that I could not improve upon it.

Barnes wrote concerning this passage, “The apostle does not say that Christians will be doomed to the fires of purgatory; nor that they will pass through fire; nor that they will be exposed to pains and punishment at all; but he “simply carries out the figure” which he commenced, and says that they will be saved, as if the action of fire had been felt on the edifice on which he is speaking. That is, as fire would consume the wood, hay, and stubble, so on the great Day everything that is erroneous and imperfect in Christiana [sic] [I assume Christianity is meant] shall be removed, and that which is true and genuine shall be preserved as if it had passed through fire. Their whole character and opinions shall be investigated; and that which is good shall be approved; and that which is false and erroneous be removed.

The idea is not that of a man whose house is burnt over his head and who escapes through the flames, nor that of a man who is subjected to the pains and fires of purgatory; but that of a man who had been spending his time and strength to little purpose; who had built, indeed, on the true foundation, but who had reared so much on it which was unsound, and erroneous, and false, that he himself would be saved with great difficulty, and with the loss of much of that reward which he had expected, as if the fire had passed over him and his works. The simple idea, therefore, is, that that which is genuine and valuable in his doctrines and works, shall be rewarded, and the man shall be saved; that which is not sound and genuine, shall be removed, and he shall suffer loss. Some of the fathers, indeed, admitted that this passage taught that all people would be subjected to the action of fire in the great conflagration with which the world shall close; that the wicked shall be consumed; and that the righteous are to suffer, some more and some less, according to their character.”

Having consulted Barnes and finding a well written exegesis I wondered if I had done have as well when I wrote on this passage five years ago. And while it is no Barnes exegesis, in its own way it captures the essence of this passage as well. So I have proved a link to it here. The Best Foundation Anywhere

All that remains beloved is to encourage and exhort you (especially during this season of Advent) to build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, using things that will endure. Selah!

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The Second Week of Advent: Being Patient for Whatever Will Come

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. ” (2 Peter 3:8-9) 15a)

I have often thought that there was a good bit of time between Adam, Eve, and the Garden of Eden, and the coming of Christ. Many years also between Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. Many years until Moses was called out. And many years of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. And yet the writer of 2 Peter says God is not slow.

And think about all the years from Jesus until now. Have any arisen like the Bible “heroes” we know of? It might seem like the Lord is slow – ever so slow to take more action in the history of humanity. Each year more humanity is created, and more that the Lord is “not wanting any to perish”.

These are some ponderings to have during Advent, when we are thinking “what are we waiting for?” It is more than just thoughts about the baby Jesus; it is thoughts about who we are as the Lord’s people, and our growth and development of our Christian faith. Especially in the Advent year when the over all theme is coming back to renewal of faith and devotion. Sometimes we come back because there is no where else to go.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.” (2 Peter 3:10)

We may wait for Advent; but just as the writer of 2 Peter tells us the Lord is not slow, we are also told that the Lord will return at the most unexpected time. And we may very well want more time then!

Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” (2 Peter 3:11-13)

Our Advent wait is part of the longer wait for the Lord Christ to return. Unlike when Christ came a baby with much heralding and foretelling, the writer of 2 Peter says there will be little warning. And it will not be the gentleness of a baby, but the fiery return of the Almighty.

Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. (2 Peter:3 14-15a)

The way we wait, beloved reader, is as important as what we wait for. This is one of the things we can learn during Advent – to wait, and to wait wisely for what we know will eventually come. May our Lord blessing your waiting!