Sunday October 23, 2022 | Greg Boyd
For no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid: that foundation is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—the work of each builder will become visible, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each has done. If what has been built on the foundation survives, the builder will receive a reward. If the work is burned, the builder will suffer loss; the builder will be saved, but only as through fire.
Greg teaches how what we build on the foundation of Jesus Christ will be tested by fire in the Final Judgment. That which aligns with the Kingdom will be purified and that which does not will be burned away.
In the New Testament, faith includes the expectation that God will bring this epoch to a close by returning and having the world go through Final Judgment. When we live with this expectation, it generates a sense of urgency for the Kingdom. We begin to see the seriousness of following him with all of our heart.
We see this in the focus scripture quoted above. Jesus Christ is the foundation. People remain free to accept or reject this glorious reality, but no one can lay another foundation. The question settled at the Final Judgment is this: to what degree did we fully embrace this loving foundation, and to what degree did we not? To what degree did we work with the Spirit to cultivate a character that is consistent with this loving foundation, and to what degree did we not? For only that which is reflective of God’s triune, other-oriented, loving nature can be allowed into God’s Kingdom.
What each of us has built with our life on the foundation will be “disclosed” and “revealed by fire” on that day. This “Day of the Lord“ or the Judgment Day need not be taken to mean this will all take place in a single 24 hour span of time. It refers to an epoch or season, not just one day. And this season may be different for different people. Perhaps people’s experience of this day will depend on how open or resistant they are to the lure of God’s love.
God’s love will be experienced as a fire that purifies everything about our character that can be purified and needs to be purified, uncovering the gold, silver and precious stones. And God’s love will burn away from us everything that needs to be burned away, revealing it to be wood, hay, straw. The process of refining and purging is itself the process of revelation, because it reveals the degree to which what you build is compatible with and purified by the fire of God’s love.
This means that we need to take seriously our faith now. The time to learn to love is now. This is the time for us together to make learning how to love the central goal of our lives.
The time to learn how to be honest with God is now. God values honesty above all. God doesn’t want pious sweet sounding language that conceals what is real. God wants the real you, hurting you, pissed off you, the doubting you, the disappointed you, the scared you where you are really at. Whatever is real, that’s what God wants.
The time to practice speaking the truth to others is now. The church is to be a community of truth for we are inhabited by the Spirit of truth. We need one another, to depend on each other so that we can learn to live in spiritual friendships as we walk through life.
We either learn to get real with God, ourselves and others now, or it will be done for us on the Final Judgment. We are the corporate Bride, helping one another prepare for the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Let us do this now and not wait until some point down the road.