Each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. (1 Corinthians 3:13—NIV)

How striking to realize that everything connected with our pilgrimage on earth is tested. Why would we presume that our heavenly review of this life would not resemble a testing? Although we do find that the testing differs from our experiences in grade school in one very important area. There is no possibility of failing the "class" for the born-again saint. Romans 8:1 states, "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit." The Christian’s sin was judged at the cross and the punishing penalty was paid in full by our Savior.

Our passage in 1 Corinthians is referring to what Paul calls the "bema" in 2 Corinthians 5:10, when all believers of the church age pass before the review stand and receive rewards for victories in the testings of life. It will be a joyful and humbling day when believers receive crowns from our great Savior for those things done for Him through God’s grace and enablement.

1 Corinthians 3 teaches that there will be a testing of the believer’s lifetime work, collectively identified as gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and stubble. The testing is described as the effect of fire being applied to these objects. Those things of true godly value will remain and be recognized. Those things manifested as mundane, earthy, common, and of no real enduring account will be banished from their place and consideration before the presence of Christ.

The works are tested to display their character, "what sort it is." Then the Lord rewards the saint for what endures the test. The test is not of personal worthiness of heaven thus jeopardizing the eternal security of the believer. The test is of what the saint has wrought since he received new life and all its attendant benefits. Paul’s teaching is the same in principle, though not identical, to the Savior’s teaching concerning the parable of the talents for those entering the Kingdom age following the Great Tribulation.

I heard a dear saint once say, "Don’t get in line behind me at the bema because I expect to be there a while." He had a guiding life principle, namely, what Christ values he will do daily. What is your expectation?