Saturday, July 15, 2006

Let's look at 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Some observations on the verses:

"And if anyone builds on this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw, the work of each will be revealed; for the Day will make it known, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire will prove the work of each, what sort it is. If the work of anyone which he built remains, he will receive a reward. If the work of anyone shall be consumed, he shall suffer loss; but he will be saved, but so as through fire" (1Corinthians 3:12-15)

It is claimed that the man in the verse "...will be saved, but so as through fire." According to Roman Catholics, this puts the man squarely in the fire and, thus, the man becomes the object of purification. Of course, common sense tells us that the fire must come into contact with the object in order to cause purification, thus, once again, the man must burn in the fire to which effect causes the purification.

It is further claimed that the man will "suffer loss." Some Roman Catholics will interpret the word "suffer" to mean that the man will endure some sort of extreme discomfort or pain. The word for "suffer loss" is zēmioo which, according to Strong's Concordance, means:

To injure, that is, (reflexively or passively) to experience detriment: - be cast away, receive damage, lose, suffer loss.

So, the next logical step is to determine what the man is suffering the loss of or if the man himself is going through some sort of suffering. Before we can determine this, the verses speak of the fire testing each man's "work"; thus, we know that the "work" passes through the fire. According to vss. 12 and 13, the works are those men build on the foundation of Jesus Christ. In the context of the rest of the chapter, these are the "works" of ministry. Contextually, the incorruptible materials used to build upon the foundation of Christ will endure the fire, but that which is corruptible will burn away. So, it makes perfect sense that the corruptible works of the man will be destroyed by the fire, thus this correlates with how he suffers. He suffers in the same manner one does when he sees his possessions go up in flames. Yet, he isn't the object of the flames. He escapes the fire. This is comparable to the man whose home catches fire. All his possessions, that which he worked for remain inside. He runs out before the flames claim him. When the flames are put out, he salvages what he can. Yet, almost everything is gone with the exception of that which the fire could not burn. He finds his jewels and other valuables, but that which couldn't endure burned away. Yet, as the verse plainly states, he escaped the the fire. He managed to get out. In essence, this analogy is what the passages show clearly, thus to say that it is purgatorial, placing the man as the object of the "purifying" flames, is forcing the text to say something it doesn't say.

One other thing that bears mentioning, there is no salvation in purgatory according to Rome. The soul who goes there is already saved and, whether it be a literal fire or not, must endure a cleansing in purgatory. Yet, the verses show this to be in reverse. When the man escapes the fire this is when he is "saved." According to Rome, the soul in purgatory is already saved, yet must endure the fire and released when satisfaction is attained, the stains of his sin having been purged, but this doesn't exegete well with the passages which would have the the man saved after he endures the fire.

All in all, it's a wonder that folks would actually believe these passages imply a purgatorial cleansing, when the only objects enduring the flames are those which are away or apart from the man and not those which are attached to him. How one sees a purgatory in a passage which seems to be so anti-purgatory is beyond me.

1 comment:

Pinoy Reformista said...

Mahusay ang ginawa mo brad.
Purihin ang Diyos sa buhay mo.

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