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1Corinthians  ◦   Chapter 3

1My dear brothers and sisters, I was not able to address you as grown-ups who have been enlightened by the truth about God's character of love, whose minds have actually been regenerated to be like Christ's. No! I had to speak to you as those still infected with the principles of the world–the survival-of-the-fittest methods; people who are just starting God's treatment plan, newborn babes in Christ.2Therefore, I gave you baby food, the ABCs of God's treatment plan. And instead of growing beyond the basics, many of you have preferred the elementary teachings and are still not ready to grow in Christ Jesus.3In fact, the infection of selfishness, which the world loves, still dominates your lives. Is this not demonstrated by your persistent jealousy, arguing, bickering and infighting? Are you not acting just like the rest of the world, looking out for yourselves and promoting your own agenda rather than surrendering all you have for the cause of Christ?4You even promote the spirit of division and competition, just like the world does, and turn the mind away from Christ when you say, "I'm a follower of Paul," and another says, "But I follow Apollos."

5Who, after all, is Paul? Or who is Apollos? We are merely aides of God; conduits of his, who have brought you the same healing Remedy–each doing their part in the healing process, as the Lord has assigned.6I planted the truth about God, and Apollos watered this truth with the wisdom God has given him, but it is God who causes the truth to grow and bring forth fruit of a Christlike character. It is God who heals; it is God who restores.7So neither he who plants the truth about God nor he who waters this truth is of any significance: God is the only important one — the only source of life, the only source of healing.8So you see, the one who plants the truth and the one who waters it, both have the very same purpose–to see God's image fully restored in people–and such labor brings its own reward.9For we are co-workers with God, and you are the field in which we labor; you are God's building upon which we work.

10By using the wisdom, insight and understanding that God has given me regarding his plan for rebuilding the human heart and mind, I laid a foundation in harmony with his original design, and others are now building on it.11For Jesus Christ is the only true foundation–the real source of God's character, methods and principles–and no one can replace him.12One can build on this foundation using pure, holy and costly materials, or using ordinary, common and cheap materials,13but ultimately, the work will reveal itself for what it is, because the day on which Christ returns will bring everything into the light of truth. On that day, the quality of a person’s character-building will be revealed by the fiery glory of God’s presence–for only those whose characters are in harmony with God’s character will be able to stand in the fiery presence of his life-giving glory.14And if those whom the builders have worked to build up in Christ survive, the builders will be rewarded with happiness and joy.15If, however, the builder’s work is burned up, the builder will suffer great sorrow and loss: the builder will be saved, but only as one whose misunderstandings, errors, misconceptions and mistakes are consumed in the fire of God’s truth and love.

16Don't you realize that you yourselves are the very temple of God–the place he dwells on earth–and that God's Spirit actually lives in you (in your heart and mind)?17If anyone fills the heart and mind with the destructive principles of this world, then when God returns, his presence will be a consuming fire to such people and will destroy them; for you are created to be God's temple–to have your hearts and minds filled with his character, methods and principles–and God's temple is to be kept pure.

18Don't deceive yourselves! If you think you are wise because you practice the principles and standards of the world, then you must completely reverse your thinking and become a "fool" to the world, and practice God's methods in order to be truly wise.19For the survival-of-the-fittest method that the world considers as wise–always looking out for self–is insanity in God's sight. As it is written, "He exposes the worldly wise by their own evil schemes;"20and, "The Lord knows that the reasoning of the worldly wise is misleading and destructive."21So stop all efforts to promote or follow a person–man or woman! Everything is yours and provided for your good,22whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or the present, or the future–everything is yours23because you are Christ's, and Christ is God's.