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  • Chad Werkhoven

1 Corinthians 3:7-15 - Maximum Wage

Why work for the minimum wage in life when you've been offered the maximum wage?

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Read 1 Corinthians 3:7-15

Listen to passage & devotional:


Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 63

Q. How can you say that

the good we do

doesn’t earn anything

when God promises to reward it

in this life and the next?

A. This reward is not earned;

it is a gift of grace.



We're jumping into a discussion here in 1 Corinthians 3 in which Paul is helping these early Christians and us understand that God uses all sorts of different ministers, churches and denominations to build Christians, and so far as they are faithfully proclaiming God's Word, God is using all of them to grow His Church. But in making this point, Paul writes something that catches our attention here today: even though there are many different roles to play and jobs to do in building the Church,

each will receive his wages according to his labor (v8 - ESV).

This seems to be in conflict with the gospel's primary message that salvation, and the rewards of eternal life in paradise with Christ, are a gift of grace alone! It appears from this verse that a person's eternal reward will be commensurate with the amount of work that person did for the Kingdom in life!

Paul adds some clarification in v12-15. You have been called to build up Christ's church by using the Spiritual Gift that He's given to you. That work will be "shown for what it is," and half hearted efforts will not last, and although you will not receive an extra reward, you'll still get God's free gift of salvation, "even though only as one escaping through the flames."

But if you make this work your top priority in life, and you make the effort to develop your gifts and become proficient with them, the Bible - here and multiple other places - makes clear that you will be rewarded.

Dig Deeper

It's important to understand that even though you will be paid for the work you've done for God's Kingdom, these wages are still completely a gift of grace. As we began our study of our only comfort in life and death, we were reminded that on our own, "we are so corrupt that we are totally unable to do any good (question 8)."

But we are not on our own any more, are we! We have been regenerated - born again. Along with that grace, God gifted you with an ability to live for His glory by using your skills and talents to build up others. Your ability to do this work comes only because God in His grace gave you the necessary tools.

As an extra grace, He will pay you for using the tools He's given you!

This reward is something that Jesus talks about often, especially in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), and as we'll see tomorrow, one of the last things Jesus says to us in the very last chapter of the Bible is that He's coming soon to make payment! So be sure to work hard for Him, so that the treasure you build up is waiting for you in heaven.

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who makes His Church grow by using the talents & skills He's given to His children;

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will know how you've been gifted, that you will see the opportunities to contribute, and that your work will stand the test and be eternally rewarded.



Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Ephesians 6


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