“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
“Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;
“Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.
“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”
—I Cor. 3:11–15.
The phrase “yet so as by fire” is pulled from a paragraph in I Corinthians 3 that gives us details about the Judgment Seat of Christ.
The Judgment Seat of Christ is for genuine believers only. No one who dies unsaved will be at this judgment. This is not a judgment to determine destiny.
Whether a person goes to Heaven or Hell is a settled issue the moment the person dies. Nonetheless, there are judgments. The unsaved will appear at the Great White Throne Judgment (Rev. 20:11–15), while the saved folks will come to this time called the Judgment Seat of Christ.
If not to determine destiny, what then is this about? The text answers that very plainly. This judgment is where the rewards for faithfulness in serving the Lord will be handed out.
The foundation (vs. 10) is our salvation received from the Lord Jesus. Once we are saved, we are to build wisely and properly on that foundation (vs. 12). This judgment will assess our “work” (vss. 13–15) to determine “of what sort it is” (vs. 13).
If you have lived godly and served well, you will “receive a reward” (vs. 14). That’s Bible! That’s God’s plan! Don’t fret over it! Just live with it in view because as a Christian you can know that it is in your future.
But then there is the other side of the coin to consider. If you are saved but you live in disobedience to God, you are not walking with the Lord and you are not serving Him, well, you will “suffer loss” (vs. 15). That’s the loss of rewards. You will go to Heaven, “yet so as by fire” (vs. 15).
This makes clear that there are degrees of rewards in Heaven. Heaven will be Heaven throughout all eternity, but it will not be the same for everybody.
We preach Christ and present the Gospel (I Cor. 15:3,4; Rom. 10:9,10,13) because we want everybody to be saved and go to Heaven.
We preach the whole “counsel of God” (Acts 20:27) because we want everybody to do the bidding of God in his life.
When we read this passage and understand “yet so as by fire,” it should move us and motivate us.
Remember, “the day shall declare it” (vs. 13). When “the day” of the Judgment Seat of Christ comes, you will be more than a little glad that you were tutored by this Scripture and gave it priority in your life