Judgment Seat of Christ, a place of loss, by Adrian Rogers
Now, I want you to go back to that passage of Scripture in 1 Corinthians chapter 3. Just turn back to that with me—1 Corinthians chapter 3. All right, now remember the story: “other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is [Christ] Jesus”—that’s verse 11. If you’re going build a Christian life, you’ve got to start with the foundation. You got that?
All right, we understand that. But now, let’s continue to read—“[For] if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, [and] stubble”—two divisions: the spiritual and the carnal—“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”—or, “test”—“every man’s work of what sort it is”—thus far we understand it. Now, the next verse says—“If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward”—we’ve already talked about that. But now, notice the next verse—“If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Corinthians 3:11–15)
Now friend, you have before you black print on white paper, so look at it: “If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer” (1 Corinthians 3:15) Just underscore the word suffer and underscore the word loss.
Now, I want to emphasize this because I know human nature enough to know what the average carnal Christian is thinking right now. The average carnal Christian is saying, “Okay, so there’s a time when I’m going to face the wreck. So there’s a time when my life is going to come by in dress parade, but after all, I’m saved. And, even though I might suffer loss, the verse says I’m going to be saved anyway.
So really, what difference does it make, Brother Rogers? Any place in heaven is going to be fine. I mean, it’s all good up there. And so, if I just get in, it doesn’t”—you know, we’ve even made a little song about it: “Just build me a cabin in the corner of gloryland”—“That’ll satisfy me. If I just have a little cabin in the corner of gloryland, I’ll be satisfied.”
Friend, it won’t satisfy God, and in some strange way, it won’t satisfy you. Now, don’t ask me to explain it because I can’t explain it, but I can read it. And, I can tell you plainly and clearly that if your works are burned, you will suffer loss, and the loss will be severe.
And, you would say, “O God, O God, that I could go back and live my life again! O God, how I wasted my Christian life! O God, how my life has gone up in smoke! O God, if I could only do it again!” But, you can’t, because the Bible says, “Every one [is going to] receive the things done in his body” (2 Corinthians 5:10)—that is, while we’re alive, while we’re here. Christians can suffer loss.
Adrian Rogers, “Taking Inventory,” in Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust, 2017), 2 Co 5:8–10.