The important question that we as believers face in the light of this teaching is this. What constitutes, gold, silver, precious stone and what constitutes wood, hay and stubble? May I suggest again, it is not the outward appearance, nor is it what a man does that make a difference between destructible or indestructible. It is the attitude and the motive of the heart in doing what is done that makes the difference between gold and wood. Gold, silver and precious stones are things that God creates and plants in the earth and man can do more than reap the bounty of the provision of God.
Continuing on the subject of building a foundation of works or deeds. The issue is serious, because if any build upon this foundation; gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay or stubble, every mans work will be made manifest. the same word found in 11 cor. 5:10 is used here, but instead of this word being translated "appear" it is translated "be made manifest" or shall be revealed. The day that shall reveal our works is the day of the Judgment Seat of Christ. The works shall be revealed by fire. The fire shall try or test every mans work to determine of what sort it is.
As we relate to I Cor. 3:9, the Apostle is dealing with this same teaching under a different figure. He now uses the figure of a contractor and a sub-contractor who are engaged to erect a building. "We are laborers together with God, Ye are God's husbandry. Ye are God's building." God is the contractor. Paul and Apppolos and Cephas who had ministered to the Corinthians were the sub-contractors. Paul is saying, according to the Grace of God which He has given to Him, as a wise master-building, I have laid the foundation and another builds there upon.
"Did Jesus Just Happen?" The Life of Christ
Since we have review the various views concerning the Judgment Seat of Christ, let us place our attention on the actual Bema of Christ of Judgment Seat. The same Apostle who said, we must all appear before the Judgment seat of Christ has also written by Inspiration to tell us "that there is therefore now no condemnation (Judgment) to them that are in Christ Jesus." How can the same Apostle say these two statements and still not contradict himself.
The original language for the Apostle Paul's statement says "we must all appear before the Bema of Christ." The word "Bema" was a familiar phrase to the Corinthians. Just outside the city of Corinth was a large Olympic Stadium where the Athletes from all over Greece would assemble perodically to contest in the Greek Olympic Games. The custom was to erect a platform in a prominent position in the stadium. During the contest, the honored citizens and the heads of state would e ushered into the stadium and seated on the platform as spectators. The judges were on the field and would make sure that every rule of the contest was observed while the contest was going on.
The victor in a given contest, if he had participated lawfully, would be led by the judges from the scene of his victory to this platform which was called the Bema. There one of those honored citizens would take an oak leaf cluster, or a laurel wreath, and place it as a chaplet upon his forehead or as a garland upon his shoulders which that victor would wear during the rest of the Olympic games as a sign that he had contested lawfully and had been triumphant in the event/
Paul is picturing the believer as a contestant in a race. Those who are victors in the the contest will be brought before the Bema, on which not some honored citizen sits, but Jesus Christ, who will be the one who sits on the throne. He, there, will give a reward to those who are victors. The Apostle is speaking not in the area of sin but in the area of reward for the child of God. He says that we believers must appear before the Bema so that everyone may receive the things done in the body, according to that he hat done, whether it be good or bad. Now let us note these words good or bad. At the end of Verse 10, it seams to contribute to the idea that his is a judgment of sins. The words were used in two senses in the original text. "Good or Bad" could be used in reference to sins and righteousness or in reference to something that was usable or unusable, acceptable or unacceptable, apart from an ethical or moral significance.
What the Apostle is saying here is that every one is going to be examined to see whether that which he had done is acceptable or unacceptable, whether it is suited to a designated use or is unsuited to a designated use. A good example, sometimes a do-it-yourself carpenter will try to use a tool to do a job for which it was not designed. A pair of pliers is perfectly good it is used for its intended purpose, but you try to convert the pliers into a hammer, you will have nothing but a bent nail and a sore finger. The pliers are perfectly good but unacceptable as a substitute for a hammer. The Apostle is not speaking of that which is morally bad but of tht which is usable or useful as apposed to that which is useless.
In order to determine what is usable for the glory of God and what is useless in bringing glory to God we must all appear before the Judgment Seat. This word "Appear" means in the Greek, we must be "Manifested." The Apostle is saying we must all be turned inside out so that it can be publicly displayed exactly what we were on the inside so that everyone may receive according to that he has done whether it be acceptable or unacceptable, usable or useless.
Wayne McDoanld, Pastor