“For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.” (1 Corinthians 3:11-13)
The principles of Leviticus 19 are echoed by Paul is his words to the believers at Corinth. He reminded them of building upon the foundation which he laid: the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, salvation by faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. Our response to the gospel should build with works of love, righteousness and service unto others regardless of class or merit.
All those who preach the gospel are supposed to build upon that foundation but an unhealthy situation had come about in Corinth because of the vanity of those who were in love with wisdom and deeds of the flesh. Instead of unselfish service in imitation of Christ, the essence of the gospel that was being preached was health, wealth, personal success, prosperity and self-fulfillment not care of the poor or oppressed. This false gospel was akin to building on a firm foundation with materials that were substandard and shoddy. Paul warned them to stop because they were inviting the discipline of the Lord.
And yet despite Paul’s cautionary words,the same situation has arisen in the modern Church. What passes for the gospel in many of today’s churches has been watered down with a focus on individualism, celebrity, self-exaltation and worldliness. The warning of Paul concerning the church we are building applies to us too. Our works of love and righteousness should be building God’s Kingdom and not our own. Such good deeds should lead people to Christ without compromising the truth about sin. The gospel should never be changed to make it more attractive. It is supposed to be make people uncomfortable in their sin and weakness and so lead them to faith in Christ.