Does 1 Corinthians 3:15 REALLY teach that saints who backslide and never repent only forfeit rewards?

  • Christian Chat is a moderated online Christian community allowing Christians around the world to fellowship with each other in real time chat via webcam, voice, and text, with the Christian Chat app. You can also start or participate in a Bible-based discussion here in the Christian Chat Forums, where members can also share with each other their own videos, pictures, or favorite Christian music.

    If you are a Christian and need encouragement and fellowship, we're here for you! If you are not a Christian but interested in knowing more about Jesus our Lord, you're also welcome! Want to know what the Bible says, and how you can apply it to your life? Join us!

    To make new Christian friends now around the world, click here to join Christian Chat.

LW97

Senior Member
Apr 10, 2018
1,140
232
63
#1
This 100 %ly lines up with what I believe:

 

LW97

Senior Member
Apr 10, 2018
1,140
232
63
#3
Some Christians believe that if a saved person enters into a sinful lifestyle and fails to repent then he will still get to heaven but will lose rewards. Their proof text is 1 Cor. 3:13-15 which say, “his work will be shown for what it is … the fire will test the quality of each man’s work … If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames”. Notice that these verses are referring to the testing of a man’s work, not sin.

If the passage in 1 Cor. 3-4 was talking about sin then it would be saying –
I) Those who build with good, golden sins will be rewarded.
II) Those who build with not so good, straw sins will lose their rewards.
Of course this is ridiculous. Whoever heard of building a church with sin or God rewarding someone for sin? In this article, I would like to show that these verses are not speaking about sin in the least but about how we work to build the church on the foundation of the gospel of Jesus.
Beginning with 1 Cor. 1:11- 13 and 1 Cor. 3:1-8, these verses tell us that the Corinthians were fighting about whether they should follow Paul, Apollos or Cephas. Paul said that their focus should be on Jesus because men are mere servants with assigned tasks; one man plants, another waters and each man will be rewarded according to his own labour. Next, in 1 Cor. 3:9-11, he continues on to say that we are God’s workers, His field and His building (His church) and that he, Paul, has laid a foundation as an expert builder and each of us must be careful how we build on that foundation, which is Jesus Christ.
Then 1 Cor. 3:12-15 talk about how we build the church and warn that fire will test the quality of each man’s work. The verses say that we can –
a) Build with gold, silver or costly stones and receive our reward or
b) Build with wood, hay or straw and, although we will still be saved, our work will be burned up.
Building with gold, silver or costly stones represent good leadership and sound doctrine while wood, hay and straw represent poor leadership and unsound doctrine. Sin is not in question here.
So far, Paul has spoken about building the church with either good or poor leadership and doctrine but now he continues on to speak about bad leadership and doctrine which destroys a church. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 say, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you [plural] are that temple”. The term “God’s temple” is referring to the church, the body of Christ, and these verses say that God will destroy anyone who destroys His church (see 2 Pet. 2).
Then, from 1 Cor. 3:18, Paul continues on to further warn us not to follow men. In 1 Cor. 4:6 he sums up what he has said so far (from 1 Cor. 3:1) by saying that he has applied these things to himself and Apollos so that we could learn the meaning of the saying, “’Do not go beyond what is written.’ Then you will not take pride in one man over against another”. He is saying that the entire passage is to warn us not to follow men but to stay with what is written. In 1 Cor. 4:2 he said, “it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful”, and it is by not going beyond what is written that we remain faithful to that trust.
So we can see that this passage of scripture has nothing to do with sin. It is a warning for us not to follow men’s wisdom but to use the written Word to build on the foundation of Jesus because our rewards will be according to the way we build.


  • If we build with sound biblical doctrine then we will be rewarded.
  • If we build with poor doctrine then we will still be saved but lose our rewards.
  • If anyone destroys the church then he will be destroyed.
If we attempt to make sin the context of this passage then it will make no sense at all as words like build, labour and work don’t relate to sin. Likewise, sin can’t be related to building with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay and straw unless we say that we will be rewarded for good sins and lose our reward for bad sins. The fact is, sin is not the subject of this passage.

To make it a bit clearer, let’s consider a Christian who dies while refusing to repent of his adultery. Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) believers will say that he will still get to heaven but lose some rewards. This is entirely out of context with the passage in question as the man was not building on the foundation of Jesus while he was in adultery, he was just fulfilling his lusts. He wasn’t building the church while he remained in sin, he was just building his condemnation. The truth is, this passage is taken entirely out of context by OSAS believers. An unrepentant sinner will not suffer a loss of rewards for his sin but eternal condemnation.

 

Deuteronomy

Well-known member
Jun 11, 2018
1,212
1,218
113
63
#4
Does 1 Corinthians 3:15 REALLY teach that saints who backslide and never repent only forfeit rewards?
Hi LW97, a "saint" who backslides and ~never~ chooses to repent of their sins has a very serious problem, because they are (in all likelihood) not who they think they are or claim to be .. cf Matthew 7:22-23, but are instead deceived and/or deceivers .. e.g. Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43. People who act like this are not "saints", because they are not saved (and never were).

~Deut
p.s. - here's a statement about the Perseverance of the Saints and some of what that means.


Chapter XVII
Of the Perseverance of the Saints

I. They, whom God has accepted in his Beloved, effectually called, and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace, but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.[1]

II. This perseverance of the saints depends not upon their own free will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election, flowing from the free and unchangeable love of God the Father;[2] upon the efficacy of the merit and intercession of Jesus Christ,[3] the abiding of the Spirit, and of the seed of God within them,[4] and the nature of the covenant of grace:[5] from all which arises also the certainty and infallibility thereof.[6]

III. Nevertheless, they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins;[7] and, for a time, continue therein:[8] whereby they incur God's displeasure,[9] and grieve his Holy Spirit,[10]come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts,[11] have their hearts hardened,[12] and their consciences wounded;[13] hurt and scandalize others,[14] and bring temporal judgments upon themselves.[15] ~Westminster Confession of Faith
.
 

Deade

Called of God
Dec 17, 2017
11,010
5,738
113
73
#5
Does 1 Corinthians 3:15 REALLY teach that saints who backslide and never repent only forfeit rewards?
Speculating on another's salvation and/or reward(s) is a no-win game we shouldn't play. We have a lot of work just getting and keeping ourselves clean. Let's look to that!:cool:
 

Nehemiah6

Senior Member
Jul 18, 2017
9,374
3,078
113
#6
An unrepentant sinner will not suffer a loss of rewards for his sin but eternal condemnation.
So then this person is not a saint but a sinner who needs to be saved.
 

Guojing

Well-known member
Jan 12, 2019
2,286
440
83
#7
You should also address Romans 5:12-19. In the Greek, sin is almost always a noun and not a verb. It refers to sinful nature, the nature we got from Adam, and not sin, the action.

If you believe a believer can lose their salvation thru sinful actions, you are actually saying that Jesus work is less powerful than Adam work, since Adam's disobedience was powerful enough to make sure that, even if you only do good works/refrain from sinful actions, you are still destined for hell.
 

Mii

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2019
694
444
63
#8
Personally. NOTE: Personally...

I feel like losing your rewards has to do with Stewardship and brings to mind the parable of the talents, 2 Vineyard parables...each vineyard parable says something different and it's late for me but I can type out my take if you'd like.

A good steward of the resources that he/she has been entrusted with will be given immeasurably more. Those that are poor stewards and take a lackadaisical view of stewardship I would say need to take a closer look.


Stewardship is a concept that has been DRILLED into me. Not by my parents or really a lot of teachings I've heard (as they are infrequent) but by the Lord indirectly though many things (Scoring, grading, earthly rewards). I've taken it to extremes though and tried to apply it across the board to everything...which I believe is Christ's job not mine.

What does it mean to be a Trustee of the light that is within you? To be a caretaker of the tabernacle/tent/temple that is your body? To guard your tongue and use your words wisely? To guard what you watch, what you hear, what you eat, how you play, who you hang out with? You can go rather far and I do believe the Lord will reward us according to how we have written the word on our hearts. Did we carry it out?


The parable of the 10 virgins also comes to mind in regards to stewarding your oil. Not being foolish with the grace that you have.



I'm visualizing holding a candle. If it's raining are we guarding it with our hand. Stewarding it? Do we take the attitude, eh...if it goes out...the Lord will relight it surely? Besides...I'm getting wet, who cares about my light right now? We KNOW it's raining and we need to be careful.

If a gust of wind came seemingly out of nowhere and blew it out when it was calm as can be?

Different situations can teach us different things. The latter situation I would say is a reminder to constantly be on guard. Watchful. Expectant. Steadfast. The former...a heart condition, or maybe just new faith.


Regardless, some things are between you and the Lord. I think the concept of stewardship is easily seen. I'm not saying this to anyone specifically, just in general


P.S in regards to basing rewards off sin...I think our responses to it do matter and will be recompensed with the seriousness in which we warred against our flesh and the lies of the enemy and the world. Even something as simple as TV and idleness.
 

SIMON55

Active member
Feb 15, 2019
538
191
43
MO,OK,AR
#10
So.....in hillbilly shorthand I gots to work my way into heaven and have redeemable rewards points to cash in when I get there.......
.........Dag nab it of all the gul dang thangs I never heard of my old family bible didn't come with one of those rewards points guides printed in the front of it.........
Wouldn't you just know it all I got is a bunch of names of dead kin in the front of mine!!!
..... Which one is it I need to buy.....one of those new fangled companion bibles do they have the rewards points cheat sheets in them?.​
Redeemable rewards points are you sure this just isn't something Paul didn't. Just make up on his own​
accord ?​
 

Deade

Called of God
Dec 17, 2017
11,010
5,738
113
73
#11
Personally. NOTE: Personally...

I feel like losing your rewards has to do with Stewardship and brings to mind the parable of the talents, 2 Vineyard parables...each vineyard parable says something different and it's late for me but I can type out my take if you'd like.

A good steward of the resources that he/she has been entrusted with will be given immeasurably more. Those that are poor stewards and take a lackadaisical view of stewardship I would say need to take a closer look.

Stewardship is a concept that has been DRILLED into me. Not by my parents or really a lot of teachings I've heard (as they are infrequent) but by the Lord indirectly though many things (Scoring, grading, earthly rewards). I've taken it to extremes though and tried to apply it across the board to everything...which I believe is Christ's job not mine.

What does it mean to be a Trustee of the light that is within you? To be a caretaker of the tabernacle/tent/temple that is your body? To guard your tongue and use your words wisely? To guard what you watch, what you hear, what you eat, how you play, who you hang out with? You can go rather far and I do believe the Lord will reward us according to how we have written the word on our hearts. Did we carry it out?

The parable of the 10 virgins also comes to mind in regards to stewarding your oil. Not being foolish with the grace that you have.

I'm visualizing holding a candle. If it's raining are we guarding it with our hand. Stewarding it? Do we take the attitude, eh...if it goes out...the Lord will relight it surely? Besides...I'm getting wet, who cares about my light right now? We KNOW it's raining and we need to be careful.

If a gust of wind came seemingly out of nowhere and blew it out when it was calm as can be?

Different situations can teach us different things. The latter situation I would say is a reminder to constantly be on guard. Watchful. Expectant. Steadfast. The former...a heart condition, or maybe just new faith.

Regardless, some things are between you and the Lord. I think the concept of stewardship is easily seen. I'm not saying this to anyone specifically, just in general

P.S in regards to basing rewards off sin...I think our responses to it do matter and will be recompensed with the seriousness in which we warred against our flesh and the lies of the enemy and the world. Even something as simple as TV and idleness.
I loved your analogy Mii. Stewardship tells us a lot about our conversion. We cannot earn our way to salvation, but we can guard it as something precious. None of us will really know we were serving the right Spirit until that day when we are resurrected, immortal. I believe the Holy Spirit will guide us into this stewardship that will show fruits of the Spirit.
 

Melach

Well-known member
Mar 28, 2019
1,203
830
113
#12
good message brother. indeed the works in question is good works, not evil works (sin).
the problem is never earning salvation through good works. the problem is always sin, as Jesus said depart from me ye who work iniquity. the issue is not and was not good works but rebellion.
 

Mii

Well-known member
Mar 23, 2019
694
444
63
#13
I loved your analogy Mii. Stewardship tells us a lot about our conversion. We cannot earn our way to salvation, but we can guard it as something precious. None of us will really know we were serving the right Spirit until that day when we are resurrected, immortal. I believe the Holy Spirit will guide us into this stewardship that will show fruits of the Spirit.
Thanks man...I agree with not knowing what spirit you are serving 100% as faith is not yet sight.

I was reading in Ezekiel and the book is rather deep in regards to falseness. I'm not going to try and summarize the whole book but one day I was feeling tired of the gospels because head knowledge can get in the way of meditating on the word at times. I also have a tendency to take one statement Jesus made or one thing and sort of let it run away with me into a mini-doctrine...and some of these are rather erroneous (much like some nonsensically delirious dreams). So Ezekiel pops in my head. Ezekiel? What? Oke.

"The word of the Lord came to Ezekiel..." KJV says expressly (which I just now found out because that's what I had handy).

So now I'm paying attention. Lots of stuff and again concepts run away with me but later on in the book there are false prophets...and I use this term loosely because it seems the Lord has high standards for a false prophet. Saying one thing that he didn't DIRECTLY say to you in a dire time vs a time of peace. Anyway, they saw things by their own spirit and it wasn't the Lord.


I'll stop because I feel like doing an in depth commentary on Ezekiel ha. But yeah, I do think we can hear things from ourselves that aren't SPECIFICALLY the Lord, and the motivations thereof are murky. I do think the Lord "steers" us away from things that are just "fluff" but I sometimes get bull-headed. This matters Lord!!! Well, it does but not "that" much. Of course, there's "strange spirits" also and at times I feel like I miss the Lord because I'm unsure what spirit it is, but like you said. We'll know when we know.

(I realize now I may have made a pun with having steers and bull-headed being in the same sentence ;) )
 

RickyZ

Senior Member
Sep 20, 2012
9,635
780
113
#14
My belief is that those who are saved but living in sin will not be allowed to attend the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Yes that's the short version. The long winded, notated version is in my blog.
 

oyster67

Senior Member
May 24, 2014
1,785
1,370
113
#15
Amen to the original post. 1Cor3:15 refers to a lazy Christian; not to be confused with the person in Heb10:29, who was once sanctified, but has now willfully rebelled and is on his way to hell.

10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?
 
Mar 22, 2019
88
53
18
#16
No. I believe the Bible teaches that if one never repents then they are not saved. You cannot be saved without repentance.

I also believe that if someone is saved but wholly turns away, then "there is no sacrifice for sins left" (Hebrews 10:26)
 
Mar 22, 2019
88
53
18
#17
P.S in regards to basing rewards off sin...I think our responses to it do matter and will be recompensed with the seriousness in which we warred against our flesh and the lies of the enemy and the world. Even something as simple as TV and idleness.
Thank you for your reminder -- idleness is also sin but oft forgotten...
 

ForestGreenCook

Well-known member
Jul 8, 2018
2,987
330
83
#18
Some Christians believe that if a saved person enters into a sinful lifestyle and fails to repent then he will still get to heaven but will lose rewards. Their proof text is 1 Cor. 3:13-15 which say, “his work will be shown for what it is … the fire will test the quality of each man’s work … If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames”. Notice that these verses are referring to the testing of a man’s work, not sin.

If the passage in 1 Cor. 3-4 was talking about sin then it would be saying –
I) Those who build with good, golden sins will be rewarded.
II) Those who build with not so good, straw sins will lose their rewards.
Of course this is ridiculous. Whoever heard of building a church with sin or God rewarding someone for sin? In this article, I would like to show that these verses are not speaking about sin in the least but about how we work to build the church on the foundation of the gospel of Jesus.
Beginning with 1 Cor. 1:11- 13 and 1 Cor. 3:1-8, these verses tell us that the Corinthians were fighting about whether they should follow Paul, Apollos or Cephas. Paul said that their focus should be on Jesus because men are mere servants with assigned tasks; one man plants, another waters and each man will be rewarded according to his own labour. Next, in 1 Cor. 3:9-11, he continues on to say that we are God’s workers, His field and His building (His church) and that he, Paul, has laid a foundation as an expert builder and each of us must be careful how we build on that foundation, which is Jesus Christ.
Then 1 Cor. 3:12-15 talk about how we build the church and warn that fire will test the quality of each man’s work. The verses say that we can –
a) Build with gold, silver or costly stones and receive our reward or
b) Build with wood, hay or straw and, although we will still be saved, our work will be burned up.
Building with gold, silver or costly stones represent good leadership and sound doctrine while wood, hay and straw represent poor leadership and unsound doctrine. Sin is not in question here.
So far, Paul has spoken about building the church with either good or poor leadership and doctrine but now he continues on to speak about bad leadership and doctrine which destroys a church. 1 Cor. 3:16-17 say, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you [plural] are that temple”. The term “God’s temple” is referring to the church, the body of Christ, and these verses say that God will destroy anyone who destroys His church (see 2 Pet. 2).
Then, from 1 Cor. 3:18, Paul continues on to further warn us not to follow men. In 1 Cor. 4:6 he sums up what he has said so far (from 1 Cor. 3:1) by saying that he has applied these things to himself and Apollos so that we could learn the meaning of the saying, “’Do not go beyond what is written.’ Then you will not take pride in one man over against another”. He is saying that the entire passage is to warn us not to follow men but to stay with what is written. In 1 Cor. 4:2 he said, “it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful”, and it is by not going beyond what is written that we remain faithful to that trust.
So we can see that this passage of scripture has nothing to do with sin. It is a warning for us not to follow men’s wisdom but to use the written Word to build on the foundation of Jesus because our rewards will be according to the way we build.


  • If we build with sound biblical doctrine then we will be rewarded.
  • If we build with poor doctrine then we will still be saved but lose our rewards.
  • If anyone destroys the church then he will be destroyed.
If we attempt to make sin the context of this passage then it will make no sense at all as words like build, labour and work don’t relate to sin. Likewise, sin can’t be related to building with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay and straw unless we say that we will be rewarded for good sins and lose our reward for bad sins. The fact is, sin is not the subject of this passage.

To make it a bit clearer, let’s consider a Christian who dies while refusing to repent of his adultery. Once Saved Always Saved (OSAS) believers will say that he will still get to heaven but lose some rewards. This is entirely out of context with the passage in question as the man was not building on the foundation of Jesus while he was in adultery, he was just fulfilling his lusts. He wasn’t building the church while he remained in sin, he was just building his condemnation. The truth is, this passage is taken entirely out of context by OSAS believers. An unrepentant sinner will not suffer a loss of rewards for his sin but eternal condemnation.
The way you interpret the scriptures makes Christ's death on the cross of non effect. He said that he paid for all of the sins of all of the people that he died for and that he would raise them all up at the last day, without the loss of even one.(John 6) After we are regenerated and fall away to the lust of sin in the world, we lose our fellowship with God until we repent. If we die before we repent we will still be saved eternally by the blood of Christ. In regeneration we are put in Christ and Christ in us. Even though we fail to repent Christ cannot deny himself (2 Tim 2:13) This also covers our unbelief. The scriptures tell us to repent to be saved (delivered here in time, not eternally) we are delivered from our non fellowship with God.
 
Mar 22, 2019
88
53
18
#19
The way you interpret the scriptures makes Christ's death on the cross of non effect.
Your argument is false.

That person was not saying that the sacrifice of Jesus was to no effect.

The sacrifice of Jesus was necessary to make salvation possible which is why Jesus is called The Way, The Truth, and The Life. However, not all people are saved automatically.
 

oyster67

Senior Member
May 24, 2014
1,785
1,370
113
#20
The way you interpret the scriptures makes Christ's death on the cross of non effect. He said that he paid for all of the sins of all of the people that he died for and that he would raise them all up at the last day, without the loss of even one.(John 6) After we are regenerated and fall away to the lust of sin in the world, we lose our fellowship with God until we repent. If we die before we repent we will still be saved eternally by the blood of Christ. In regeneration we are put in Christ and Christ in us. Even though we fail to repent Christ cannot deny himself (2 Tim 2:13) This also covers our unbelief. The scriptures tell us to repent to be saved (delivered here in time, not eternally) we are delivered from our non fellowship with God.
Judas is a fine example of the loss of one. Jesus said so Himself.