I would like to have a better understanding on the matter of 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. In v15, how can one can be saved if his work hasn't passed the "fire test"? -- Marcelo (Brazil)

As we read 1 Corinthians 3 in context we see that the passage deals with church-building, not our individual Christian lives. (And certainly not purgatory as the Roman church claims.) Paul seems to be saying that if the foundation of the congregation you have built is unstable, your work will "burn up," though you will still be saved. So unless you are a church builder, the "fire test" does not apply to you!

As for whether you can be saved if your life's work does not "pass the test"--well, we rightly reject salvation by works. Of course God's grace produces in us a rejection of worldliness (Titus 2:11-14), and a determination to work hard (1 Corinthians 15:10), but we do not work in order to be saved. We don't have to "measure up." Is this good news? Enjoy your salvation!

This article is copyrighted and is for private use and study only. © 2003. Reprints or public distribution is prohibited without the express consent of Douglas Jacoby.