“…foundation…which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble…” (1 Corinthians 3:11+12/KJV).
It must have been between age 10 and 13 when for the first time in my life, comfortably from our living room, I could watch a new house being built. I could observe how they were going about in building a concrete foundation. Later they were building walls on top. For some of these they were using well shaped bricks. Others were made of solid concrete reinforced by steel.
In the quote above Paul is referring to some perhaps unusual building materials. It is not that uncommon in Central Europe that wood should be used as building material. Straw and stubble makes me think of primitive huts in African villages. Yet even the most precious European castles are at best embroidered with gold.
Gold, silver and precious stones as building materials make me think of the heavenly Jerusalem as described in the book of Revelation. (Cf. Revelation 21:10-27). Thus we might conclude that the most suitable material for the Church of Jesus to be built must be of heavenly origin even as Jesus Christ had come from God to be borne and to live as a human being.
The material by which a Christian fellowship is built is important because some materials would not be able to stand fiery trials. Christians are not exempt from the difficulties and tests of life.
The name ‘Jesus’ speaks of God’s help in need. The “Christ” is the one anointed by God to guide and to protect God’s people.
‘Jesus Christ’ is the foundation of the Christian church. Yet he also is to be the foundation in the spiritual life of every Christian believer. We all must come to Jesus in awareness of our own great need.
As we grow up we become aware of what other people expect (or seem to expect) from us. We learn how to cope with various challenges of life. Yet we are fairly slow in coming to understand what God is looking for in our lives.
“Lord Jesus, somehow I have grown up with little awareness of what counts in your eyes. The few glimpses I have gained make me call to you now. I need you. I need your forgiveness. I want you to be and to remain a sure foundation to my Christian life! Amen.”
Yet here Paul challenges us not only to think about the right foundation. Much depends on how we build on that foundation.
Admittedly Paul here refers to the work of Christian preachers as the builders of a church fellowship. Yet it is also correct to say that every Christian believer ought to be careful how he builds on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
It would not be wise to once pray the sinner’s prayer and then to forget about how much we need Jesus on every step or our Christian life. Paul says that Jesus Christ is made to be our wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption.(Cf. 1 Corinthians 1:30).
Or let me say this plainly with the words of Jesus himself. He taught his disciples: “… for without me ye can do nothing.” (John 15:5/KJV). Only as we depend on Jesus the good fruit, which God is demanding from us, will grow in our lives. Only through Jesus Christ we can grow to bear various challenges and difficulties yet to remain full of love.
(All images on this post except the last one are taken from Pexels.com.)