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1 Corinthians 3
What do verses 14 and 15 mean and vs 17 does that mean we can't find mercy or does it mean if we don't ask for mercy we will be judged.
1 Corinthians 3
I believe the portion of Scripture you're looking at in 1 Corinthians 3:10-17 has to do with Rewards that a believer receives when we stand before God in that final day. In other words, we as Christians, are already established on the firm Foundation which is Christ Jesus, so the question about mercy after this fact doesn't come into the picture.
Paul speaks about what we build upon this foundation. Many Christians will come before God empty-handed, as they have not done what God required of them. It doesn't mean evangelizing in foreign lands or holding large evangelistic crusades, or suffering at the hands of wicked men. It can be how faithful you have been, did you take the opportunities God gave you to witness for Him, or to serve His Church with gladness, to be a listening ear or praying heart to someone in need. Was your Christian life worthy of bearing Christ's Name? Some believers' works will abide under scrutiny (fire), but sadly, many will suffer loss of reward because of their disobedience & carnal living, BUT (v15) they will still be saved "yet so as by fire" (a modern rendering: 'by the skin of their teeth'). But this is not a good place to be in.
The Christian is the present day visible Temple of God on Earth - God expects we look after His Temple, refrain from sin, & present it holy before the world. If the Christian continues to defile (continuing in wilful sin) God's Temple, God will destroy him (i.e. the body will be removed - by death) - see also 1 Corinthians 5:5. This God has to do to bring to a halt such misbehaviour, just so that the believers' spirit might be saved. God has never put up with sin, & more so when we look at Israel's disobedience through the ages & the Christian's disregard to holy living. God gives us time & opportunity for us to come to our senses, to repent & turn away, but many who refuse, suffer under His Hand, as when some disregarded the Lord's Table, and so "many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep (die)."
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