1 Corinthians 3:13
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 every man's work of what sort it is.
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(13) Revealed by fire.—Better, revealed in fire. For the general scope of this passage, see 1Corinthians 3:12 above. The day of the coming of the Lord is always thus represented as bursting suddenly with a rush of light and blaze of fire upon the earth. (See Malachi 3:1-3; Malachi 4:1; 2Thessalonians 1:8; 2Thessalonians 2:8.)

1 Corinthians 3:13. Every man’s work shall be made manifest — God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil, Ecclesiastes 12:14. There is nothing covered that shall not be revealed, neither hid, that shall not be known. But the apostle’s primary meaning here is, that it shall be made manifest what kind of materials every spiritual builder uses, that is, what kind of doctrines every minister of Christ preaches, whether they are true or false, important or trivial, calculated to produce genuine repentance, faith, and holiness in the hearers, or not; to promote the real conversion of sinners, and edification of believers, or otherwise: and of consequence, what kind of converts every minister makes, whether they be such as can stand the fiery trial or not. For the day shall declare it — Perhaps, 1st, η ημερα δηλωσει, might be rendered, time will declare it; for time, generally a little time, manifests whether a minister’s doctrine be Scriptural and sound, and his converts genuine or not. If his preaching produce no saving effect upon his hearers, if none of them are reformed in their manners, and renewed in their hearts; if none of them are turned from sin to righteousness, and made new creatures in Christ Jesus, there is reason to suspect the doctrine delivered to them is not of the right kind, and therefore is not owned of God. 2d, The expression means, The day of trial shall declare it; (see 1 Peter 4:12;) for a day of trial is wont to follow a day of merciful visitation; a time of suffering to succeed a season of grace. Where the gospel is preached, and a church is erected for Christ, the religion of such as profess to receive the truth is generally, in the course of divine providence, put to the test; and if it be a fabric of wood, hay, and stubble, and not of gold, silver, and precious stones, it will not be able to bear the fiery trial, but will certainly be consumed thereby. The religion (if it can be called religion) of those who are not grounded on, and built up in Christ, (Colossians 2:7,) will evaporate like smoke from wood, hay, and stubble, in the day of trial. But, 3d, and especially the day of final judgment, the great day of the Lord, is here intended, and this day shall declare it; shall declare every man’s work to all the universe: because it shall be revealed by fire — Which shall consume the earth with its increase, and shall melt down the foundations of the mountains; the heavens and the earth, which are now, being kept in store, reserved unto fire, against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men, 2 Peter 3:7. And the fire shall try every man’s work — As fire tries metals, and finds out and separates whatever dross is mixed with them; or, as the fire of that great and awful day will penetrate the earth to its centre, and consume whatever is combustible, so shall the strict process of the final judgment try, not only the religion of every private Christian, but the doctrine of every public teacher, and manifest whether it came up to the Scripture standard or not. Although there is here a plain allusion to the general conflagration, yet the expression, when applied to the trying of doctrines, and consuming those that are wrong, and the trying of the characters of professors, is evidently figurative; because no material fire can have such an effect on what is of a moral nature.

3:10-15 The apostle was a wise master-builder; but the grace of God made him such. Spiritual pride is abominable; it is using the greatest favours of God, to feed our own vanity, and make idols of ourselves. But let every man take heed; there may be bad building on a good foundation. Nothing must be laid upon it, but what the foundation will bear, and what is of a piece with it. Let us not dare to join a merely human or a carnal life with a Divine faith, the corruption of sin with the profession of Christianity. Christ is a firm, abiding, and immovable Rock of ages, every way able to bear all the weight that God himself or the sinner can lay upon him; neither is there salvation in any other. Leave out the doctrine of his atonement, and there is no foundation for our hopes. But of those who rest on this foundation, there are two sorts. Some hold nothing but the truth as it is in Jesus, and preach nothing else. Others build on the good foundation what will not abide the test, when the day of trail comes. We may be mistaken in ourselves and others; but there is a day coming that will show our actions in the true light, without covering or disguise. Those who spread true and pure religion in all its branches, and whose work will abide in the great day, shall receive a reward. And how great! how much exceeding their deserts! There are others, whose corrupt opinions and doctrines, or vain inventions and usages in the worship of God, shall be made known, disowned, and rejected, in that day. This is plainly meant of a figurative fire, not of a real one; for what real fire can consume religious rites or doctrines? And it is to try every man's works, those of Paul and Apollos, as well as others. Let us consider the tendency of our undertakings, compare them with God's word, and judge ourselves, that we be not judged of the Lord.Every man's work shall be made manifest - What every man has built on this foundation shall be seen. Whether he has held truth or error; whether he has had correct views of piety or false; whether what he has done has been what he should have done or not.

For the day - The Day of Judgment. The great Day which shall reveal the secrets of all hearts, and the truth in regard to what every man has done. The event will show what edifices on the true foundation are firmly, and what are weakly built. Perhaps the word "day" here may mean time in general, as we say, "time will show" - and as the Latin adage says, dies docebit; but it is more natural to refer it to the Day of Judgment.

Because it shall be revealed by fire - The work, the edifice which shall be built on the true foundation shall be made known amidst the fire of the great Day. The "fire" which is here referred to, is doubtless that which shall attend the consummation of all things - the close of the world. That the world shall be destroyed by fire, and that the solemnities of the Judgment shall be ushered in by a universal conflagration, is fully and frequently revealed. See Isaiah 66:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; 2 Peter 3:7, 2 Peter 3:10-11. The burning fires of that Day, Paul says, shall reveal the character of every man's work, as fire sheds light on all around, and discloses the true nature of things. It may be observed, however, that many critics suppose this to refer to the fire of persecution, etc. Macknight. Whitby supposes that the apostle refers to the approaching destruction of Jerusalem. Others, as Grotius, Rosenmuller, etc. suppose that the reference is to "time" in general; it shall be declared ere long; it shall be seen whether those things which are built on the true foundation, are true by the test of time, etc. But the most natural interpretation is that which refers it to the Day of Judgment.

And the fire shall try every man's work - It is the property of fire to test the qualities of objects. Thus, gold and silver, so far from being destroyed by fire, are purified from dross. Wood, hay, stubble, are consumed. The power of fire to try or test the nature of metals, or other objects, is often referred to in the Scripture. Compare Isaiah 4:4; Isaiah 24:15; Malachi 3:2; 1 Peter 1:7. It is not to be supposed here that the material fire of the last Day shall have any tendency to purify the soul, or to remove that which is unsound; but that the investigations and trials of the Judgment shall remove all that is evil, as fire acts with reference to gold and silver. As they are not burned but purified; as they pass unhurt through the intense heat of the furnace, so shall all that is genuine pass through the trials of the last great Day, of which trials the burning world shall be the antecedent and the emblem. That great Day shall show what is genuine and what is not.

13. Every man's work—each teacher's superstructure on the foundation.

the day—of the Lord (1Co 1:8; Heb 10:25; 1Th 5:4). The article is emphatic, "The day," that is, the great day of days, the long expected day.

declare it—old English for "make it clear" (1Co 4:4).

it shall be revealed by fire—it, that is, "every man's work." Rather, "He," the Lord, whose day it is (2Th 1:7, 8). Translate literally, "is being revealed (the present in the Greek implies the certainty and nearness of the event, Re 22:10, 20) in fire" (Mal 3:3; 4:1). The fire (probably figurative here, as the gold, hay, &c.) is not purgatory (as Rome teaches, that is, purificatory and punitive), but probatory, not restricted to those dying in "venial sin"; the supposed intermediate class between those entering heaven at once, and those dying in mortal sin who go to hell, but universal, testing the godly and ungodly alike (2Co 5:10; compare Mr 9:49). This fire is not till the last day, the supposed fire of purgatory begins at death. The fire of Paul is to try the works, the fire of purgatory the persons, of men. Paul's fire causes "loss" to the sufferers; Rome's purgatory, great gain, namely, heaven at last to those purged by it, if only it were true. Thus this passage, quoted by Rome for, is altogether against, purgatory. "It was not this doctrine that gave rise to prayers for the dead; but the practice of praying for the dead [which crept in from the affectionate but mistaken solicitude of survivors] gave rise to the doctrine" [Whately].

Now, saith he, there will come a time when every man’s, that is, every teacher’s, work, or doctrine, shall be made manifest. As the metal is brought to the touchstone to be tried, whether it be gold or silver, or some baser metal; so there will come a time, when all doctrines shall be tried and made manifest, whether they be of God or no.

For the day shall declare it: what day shall declare it is not so steadily agreed by interpreters. Some by a day here understand a long time, in process of time it shall be declared; as indeed erroneous doctrines have not used to obtain or prevail long: Dagon falls before the ark. Others understand it of a day of adversity and great affliction, the day of God’s vengeance; and indeed thus it is often seen, a false faith, or a lie believed, will not carry a man through the difficulties which he meeteth with in an evil day: the truths of the gospel are of that nature, that they will give a soul relief and support in a day of affliction and under God’s severest dispensations, but errors and falsehoods will not do it. Others understand by the day here mentioned, the day of judgment, which is indeed often called the day of the Lord, 1 Corinthians 1:8, and described by fire, Joel 2:3 2 Thessalonians 1:8 2 Peter 3:10; but this text saith not the day of the Lord, but only the day. It seemeth, therefore, rather to signify the bright shining out of the gospel; for the text seemeth to speak of such a manifestation as shall be in this life, not in the day of judgment.

Because it shall be revealed by fire; the same thing is also to he understood.

The fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is: by the fire here mentioned, not the fire of God’s wrath, or the fire of affliction and adversity, nor the fire of the last judgment, but the truth of the gospel shining forth in the world, and burning up the dross and stubble of corrupt, false doctrine, that shall bring all the doctrines which men teach, to the trial.

Every man's work shall be made manifest,.... The doctrine he preaches shall be sooner or later made manifest to himself, and to his hearers; who shall see the inconsistency, irregularity, and deformity of such a building; at first so well laid, then piled up with such excellent materials, and at last covered in with such trifling or incoherent stuff:

for the day shall declare it; meaning not the day of judgment, though that is often called the day, or that day, and will be attended with fire, and in it all secrets shall be made manifest; but the apostle intends a discovery that will be made of doctrines in this world, before that time comes: wherefore this day rather designs a day of tribulation; as of persecution, which tries men's principles, whether they are solid or not; and of error and heresy, when men are put upon a re-examination of their doctrines, whereby persons and truths that are approved are made manifest; or of some great calamity, such as the destruction of Jerusalem, whereby many wrong notions the Jews yet retained were discovered: but it is best of all to understand this day of the Gospel day, and of the progress of Gospel light, especially in some particular periods of it; as in the primitive times, at the reformation from popery, and the more remarkable Gospel daylight, which will be in the latter times, when the impertinence and inconsistency of many things which now obtain in the ministry will be seen; see Ephesians 5:13.

Because it shall be revealed by fire: not that day, but the man's work, or doctrine:

and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is; by the fire is meant, not the general conflagration of the world, when that, and all that is therein, will be burnt up; much less the fire of purgatory, the "papists" dream of, for the punishment of evil actions; for the apostle is not speaking of the actions of men, good or bad, but of the doctrines of ministers; rather the fire of tribulation and affliction, which, as it is for the trial of the grace of faith, so of the doctrine of faith, whereby it becomes much more precious than of gold that perisheth; or of some fiery dispensation of God's vengeance, as on Jerusalem: though the word of God, which is as fire, seems to be intended; which in some certain times so blazes forth, and will more especially in the latter day, that by the light of it, both ministers and churches will be able to see clearly the bright shining lustre of the gold, silver, and precious stones; and with so much heat, as to burn up the wood, hay, and stubble; when the difference between these things will be most easily discerned.

{7} 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 every man's work of what sort it is.

(7) He testifies, as indeed it truly is, that all are not good builders, not even all of those who stand upon this one and only foundation. However, this work of evil builders, he says, stands for a season, yet it will not always deceive, because the light of the truth appearing at length, as day, will dissolve this darkness, and show what it is. And as that stuff is tried by the fire, whether it is good or not, so will God in his time, by the touch of his Spirit and word, try all buildings, and so will it come to pass, that those which are found pure and sound, will still continue so, to the praise of the workmen. But they that are otherwise will be consumed and vanish away, and so will the workman be frustrated of the hope of his labour, who pleased himself in a thing of nothing.

1 Corinthians 3:13. Apodosis: So will what each has done on the building (τὸ ἔργον) not remain hidden (φανερὸν γενήσ.). Then the ground of this assurance is assigned: ἡ γὰρ ἡμέρα δηλώσει, sc[521] ἑκάστου τὸ ἔργον. The day is κατʼ ἐξοχήν, the day of the Parousia (comp Hebrews 10:24), which is obvious from what follows on to 1 Corinthians 3:15. So, rightly, Tertullian, contra Marc. iv. 2; Origen, Cyprian, Ep. iv. 2; Lactantius, Inst. vii. 21; Hilarius, Ambrosiaster, Sedulius, Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theophylact, the Roman Catholics (some of whom, however, in the interests of purgatory, make it out to be the day of death), Bengel, and others, including Pott, Heydenreich, Billroth, Schott, Schrader, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald, Hofmann. It is un-Pauline, and also against the context (for wood, etc., does not apply to the doctrines of the Judaizers alone), to interpret the phrase, with Hammond, Lightfoot, Gusset, Schoettgen, of the destruction of Jerusalem, which should reveal the nullity of the Jewish doctrines. The following expositions are alien to the succeeding context: of time in general (comp dies docebit: χρόνος δίκαιον ἄνδρα δείκνυσιν μόνος, Sophocles, Oed. Rex, 608; Stob. Ecl. I. p. 234,—so Grotius, Wolf, Wetstein, Stolz, Rosenmüller, Flatt, and others); or of the time of clear knowledge of the gospel (Erasmus, Beza, Calvin, Vorstius[524]); or of the dies tribulationis (Augustine, Calovius, and others).

ὅτι ἐν πυρὶ ἀποκαλ.] We are neither to read here ὅτε[525] instead of ὅτι (Bos, Alberti), nor does the latter stand for the former (Pott), but it has a causative force: because it is revealed in fire,—the day, namely (Estius, Pott, Billroth, Rückert, Olshausen, de Wette, Ewald, Hofmann), not τὸ ἔργον, as Luther and the majority of interpreters (among them Heydenreich, Flatt, Schott, Neander) hold, following Ambrosiaster and Oecumenius; for this would yield a tautology with what comes next. Bengel, joined by Osiander, imagines as the subject of the verb Ὁ ΚΎΡΙΟς, which can be evolved from Ἡ ἩΜΈΡΑ only by a very arbitrary process, since the whole context never speaks of Christ Himself.

ἘΝ ΠΥΡΊ] i.e. encompassed with fire (see Bernhardy, p. 209; Matthiae, p. 1340), so that fire is the element in which the revelation of that day takes place. For Christ, when His Parousia draws nigh, is to appear coming from heaven ἐν πυρὶ φλογός (2 Thessalonians 1:8; comp Daniel 7:9-10; Malachi 4:1), i.e. surrounded by flaming fire (which is not to be explained away, as is often done: amid lightnings; rather comp Exodus 3:2 ff; Exodus 19:18). This fire, however, is not, as Chrysostom would have it, that of Gehenna (Matthew 6:22; Matthew 6:29, al[528]); for it is in it that Christ appears, and it seizes upon every ἔργον, even the golden, etc., and proves each, leaving the one unharmed, but consuming the other. The correct supplying of Ἡ ἩΜΈΡΑ with ἈΠΟΚΑΛ. supersedes at once the older Roman Catholic interpretation about purgatory (against which see, besides, Scaliger and Calovius), as the correct view of ἡ ἡμέρα sets aside the explanations of the wrath of God against the Jews (Lightfoot), of the Holy Spirit, who tries “quae doctrina sit instar auri et quae instar stipulae” (Calvin), of the fire of trial and persecution (Rosenmüller, Flatt, following Augustine, de civ. Dei, xxi. 26, Erasmus, and many old commentators; comp Isaiah 48:10; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Peter 4:12; Sir 2:5), and of a progressive process of purifying the mind of the church (Neander). The idea rather is: “The decision on the day of the Parousia will show how each has worked as a teacher; if any one has taught what is excellent and imperishable, that, as belonging to the divine ἀλήθεια, will stand this decision and survive; if any one has taught what is worthless and perishable, that will by the decision of that day cease to have any standing, fall away, and come to nought” (comp on 1 Corinthians 3:12). This idea Paul, in accordance with his figure of a building, clothes in this form: “At the Parousia the fire, in which it reveals itself, will seize upon the building; and then through this fiery ordeal those parts of the fabric which are of gold, silver, and precious stones will pass unharmed; but those consisting of wood, hay, and stubble will be burnt up.”

ἀποκαλύπτεται] The result of this act of revelation is the ΔΗΛΏΣΕΙ already spoken of. The present marks the event as beyond doubt; the sentence is an axiom.

καὶ ἑκάστου Κ.Τ.Λ[531]] not to be connected with ὅτι (Rückert), but with the clause in the future, ἡ γὰρ ἡμ. δγλώσει. Is ἔργον in the nominative (Theophylact, Oecumenius, and many others) or accusative (Billroth, Schott, de Wette, Osiander, Ewald)? The former is more in harmony with the sense of the passage, for so ὁπ. ἐστι is made to appear not as merely inserted, but in its befitting emphasis. For the form of the statement advances from the general to the particular: the day will show it, namely, what each has wrought; and (now follows the definite specification of the quality) what is the character of the work of each,—the fire itself will test.

τὸ πῦρ αὐτό] ignis ipse (see the critical remarks), i.e. the fire (in which the ἀποκάλυψις of the day takes place) by its own proper working, without intervention from any other quarter. Respecting the position of αὐτό after πῦρ, see Bornemann, a[532] Xen. Mem. ii. 5. 1. Were we to take it as the object of δοκιμάσει, pointing back to the preceding statement (Hofmann), it would be superfluous in itself, and less in keeping with the terse, succinct mode of expression of this whole passage.

δοκιμάσει] “probabit, non: purgabit. Hic locus ignem purgatorium non modo non fovet, sed plane extinguit,” Bengel.

[521] c. scilicet.

[524] Were this so, the text would need to contain an antithetic designation of the present time as night. And in that case, too, it would surely be the clear day of the Parousia which would be meant, as in Romans 13:12.

[525] As regards the fact of the two words being often put the one for the other by transcribers, see Schaefer, ad Greg. Cor. p. 491; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 4. 2.

[528] l. and others; and other passages; and other editions.

[531] .τ.λ. καὶ τὰ λοιπά.

[532] d refers to the note of the commentator or editor named on the particular passage.

1 Corinthians 3:13. “The work of each (ἑκάστου resuming the ἕκαστος of 10) will become manifest:” while the Wheat and Tares are in early growth (Matthew 13:24 ff.), they are indistinguishable; one man’s work is mixed up with another’s—“for the Day will disclose (it)”.—Ἡ ἡμέρα can only mean Christ’s Judgment Day: see parls., esp. 1 Corinthians 1:8, 1 Corinthians 4:3 ff., and notes; also Romans 2:16, Acts 17:31, Matthew 25:19. “The day” suggests (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 ff., Romans 13:11 ff.) the hope of daylight upon dark problems of human responsibility. But this searching is figured as the scrutiny of fire, which at once detects and destroys useless matter: ὅτι ἐν πυρὶ ἀποκαλύπτεται, “because it (the Day) is revealed in fire”. For ἀποκαλύπτεται (pr[564], implying certainty, perhaps nearness), see notes on 1 Corinthians 1:7, 1 Corinthians 2:10—a supernatural, unprecedented “day,” dawning not like our mild familiar sunrise, but “in” splendour of judgment “fire”: cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:8. This image comes from the O.T. pictures of a Theophany: Daniel 7:9 f., Malachi 4:1, Isaiah 30:27; Isaiah 64:1 ff., etc.—καὶ ἑκάστου τὸ ἔργον ὁποῖόν ἐστι κ.τ.λ.: “and each man’s work, of what kind it is,—the fire will prove it”. The pleonastic αὐτὸ is due to a slight anacoluthon: the sentence begins as though it were to end, “the fire will show”; φανερώσει is, however, replaced by the stronger δοκιμάσει suitable to πῦρ, and this altered vb[565] requires with it αὐτό, to recall the object τὸ ἔργον. Mr[566] and El[567] attach the pronoun to το πῦρ, “the fire itself,” but with pointless emphasis. Others avoid the pleonasm by construing ἑκάστου τὸ ἔργον at the beginning as a nominativus pendens (“as to each man’s work”), resembling that of John 15:2; but the qualification that follows, ὁποῖόν ἐστιν, makes this unlikely: cf. Galatians 2:6, for the interpolated interr[568] clause.—δοκιμάζω is to assay (see LXX parls.),—suggested by the “gold, silver” above: “probabit, non purgabit. Hic locus ignem purgatorium non modo non fovet, sed plane extinguit” (Bg[569]).—Ἕκαστος, thrice repeated in 1 Corinthians 3:10-13, with solemn individualising emphasis.

[564] present tense.

[565] verb

[566] Meyer’s Critical and Exegetical Commentary (Eng. Trans.).

[567] C. J. Ellicott’s St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians.

[568]nterr. interrogative.

[569] Bengel’s Gnomon Novi Testamenti.

13. it shall be revealed by fire] Rather, it is revealed in fire, being that in which the judgment day shall consist, i.e. in the fire of God’s judgment, fire being one of His many attributes (Hebrews 12:29; Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; Psalm 50:3; Psalm 97:3; Isaiah 66:15-16; Malachi 3:2-3; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). As fire does, so does God in the end thoroughly search out and destroy all that is vile or refuse, all that is not thoroughly genuine and durable.

1 Corinthians 3:13. Ἔργον) the work, which any one has erected.—ἡ ἡμέρα, the day) of the Lord. So Hebrews 10:25, comp. presently ch. 1 Corinthians 4:3; 1 Corinthians 4:5, where, after an interval, as usual, he speaks more clearly. Previous days, which vividly realize to us the fire, for instance, in adversity and at death, are not altogether excluded.—δηλώσει, shall declare) to all.—[Many things are also revealed sooner, at least to some, but Paul lays down the last and most certain day of fiery trial.—V. g.]—ἐν πυρὶ ἀποκαλύπτεται) is revealed in fire, viz., the Lord, whose day that is; or, the work [so Engl. Vers.]; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-8, is revealed, as present, because it is certain and near, Revelation 22:20.—τὸ πὺρ, the fire) a metaphor, as throughout this whole discourse. The fire of the last day and of the Divine judgment is intended, as is evident from the subsequent language, which peculiarly applies to the last judgment, 1 Corinthians 4:5; 2 Corinthians 5:10 [2 Thessalonians 1:8]; to which the visible fire on that day will correspond.—δοκιμάσει) shall try, not shall purge. This passage not only does not support [add fuel to] the fire of purgatory, but entirely extinguishes it; for it is at the last day, and not till then, that the fire shall finally try every man’s work; therefore the fire of purgatory does not precede it. Nor on that very day, shall the work be purged; but it shall be tried, of what sort it previously was on either side [good or bad], when it shall either remain or be burnt up.

Verse 13. - Each man's work shall be made manifest. The real nature - the worth or worthlessness - of each man's work, will be made clear sooner or later. The day shall declare it. "The day" can only mean "the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8), which would specially "make manifest the counsels of the hearts" (1 Corinthians 4:5), and "judge the secrets of men" (Romans 2:16), and make all men manifest "before the judgment seat of Christ" (2 Corinthians 4:10). It shall be revealed by fire; rather, because it is being revealed in fire. The phrase "is being" is called bad English, but some such phrase is positively needed to render the continuous present tense, which here expresses certainty, natural sequence, perpetual imminence. This tense is constantly used to express the continuity and the present working of Divine laws (comp. Matthew 3:10). As the nominative is not expressed, it is uncertain whether "it" refers to "each man's work" or to" the day." Either gives an apposite sense (Malachi 4:1; 2 Thessalonians 1:8). Some would make "he" (namely, Christ) the nominative, because "the day" means "the day of Christ;" and in favour of this view they quote 2 Thessalonians 1:7, "The revelation of the Lord Jesus from heaven in flaming fire." But the ellipse of an unexpressed nominative is harsh. The fire itself shall prove each man's work. This is the "probatory" or testing fire of the day of the Lord, of which we read very frequently in the Fathers. The doctrine of purgatory has been in some measure founded on this verse (Council of Florence, A.D. 1439); but such a view of it cannot be maintained. The reader will find the subject examined and the quotations from the Fathers given in the writer's 'Mercy and Judgment,' p. 69. All that is said here is that the fire of Christ's presence - the consuming fire of God's love - shall test the work, not purge it. The fire is probatory, not purgatorial, and it is not in itself a fife of wrath, for it tests the gold and silver as well as the inferior elements of the structure. It is the fire of the refiner, not of the avenger. 1 Corinthians 3:13
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