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“Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid which is Jesus Christ.” “But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” “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.” (1 Cor. 3:9,11,10-15)
The individual Christian faith is a building, and as such must have both foundation and superstructure. Every principle of truth or error adopted becomes a part of our faith-building. A building made of wood, and thatched with straw, may look well and for a time protect, but it will not endure like a better and more costly structure. So a faith building, constructed of men’s traditions, may for a time look passably well, be less costly and more quickly finished than one built of the precious truths patiently quarried from God’s Word. The former is easily swept away with the storm of infidelity which does not even shake the latter. The one will stand the test of fire and protect its owner, the other will but feed the flame and endanger the owner.
The building of our faith God leaves largely with us. He furnishes a mine of truth, places the tools within our reach, and urges us to build well of enduring materials, adding faith to faith, virtue to virtue, knowledge to knowledge. Thus he would have us grow in grace and knowledge and love, following examples of building which he has furnished.
“Other foundation can no man lay than that (which) is laid—JESUS CHRIST.” This statement of the importance of Jesus as the foundation of all faith toward God, is in full accord with the statement that “There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” No other basis of faith will do—”Other foundation can no man lay.”
Those who are building on this foundation rock are Christians no matter how poor a faith they build thereupon. Even though they build entirely with the wood, hay, and stubble of men’s traditions, yet as builders upon the Rock they are Christians. Though in this DAY OF THE LORD into which we have now entered their works shall suffer loss, yet such themselves shall be saved so as by fire. That is, though God has arranged that a fierce trial of faith is coming upon all who profess to be on the Rock, Christ Jesus, which will burn up, eradicate, destroy every vestige of error, every thing which is of man and not from God’s Word, yet all who truly recognize the Rock and are built on it shall be saved.
Those who build on the rock with the gold, silver, and precious stones of God’s revelation by reason of this good and proper faith-building, are enabled to overcome the world and carry out their consecration acceptably to God through Jesus Christ. “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith.” These overcomers who now “follow the Lamb” shall in due time be everlastingly united to Him whom “God hath appointed heir of all things.” As such they are sometimes called Jesus’ brethren, and sometimes by that close and endearing name—”The Bride, the Lamb’s Wife,” and as such we are to be heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord.
Those who build with poor stuff, the wood, hay, and stubble of human traditions, we understand to be those who do not overcome the world, but who are ensnared and bound by the spirit of the world and hindered from carrying out their consecration. Having only the traditions of men, they lack protection against error, and the strength necessary to overcome the world which is obtainable only from the truth. All, then, should recognize the value of truth in enabling us to carry out our consecration vows of death to the world and its ambitions.
If all Christians valued truth properly all would buy it and never sell it, though it cost time, inconvenience and self-denial to get it, and reputation and sacrifice to hold it.
The class who, though consecrated, are building a flimsy faith of man’s wisdom, we understand to be the “great company” (Rev. 19:6; 7:9-17) who will come to spiritual conditions, but through great tribulation brought on them by their erroneous faith, all of which dross of error must be consumed. Thus they will be saved by that fire or purification. This is the class which follows the Bride company (Psa. 45:14,15) as Rebecca’s maids followed her (Gen. 24:61). This is called the servant class in distinction from the royal class which reigns. These shall “serve God in His temple” and be “before the throne.” Thus in symbol we see a distinction represented between this class and the overcomers, the royal bride who shall reign with Jesus in the throne. Notice that the different rewards of these two classes (both spiritual) are shown by many scriptures (see Rev. 7:9,10,13-17; 19:6,7; Psa. 45:10-15). Therefore let all who seek the prize of our high calling take heed how (with what material) they build their faith even though on the sure foundation.
— January, 1883 —