In the consideration of divine grace as exercised in behalf of the lost, it is essential, as in other matters of
similar importance, to distinguish between the foundation and the superstructure. In the parable of the two houses -one built upon the rock and one built upon the sand – Christ made no reference to the superstructure, but rather emphasized the importance of the foundation.
Matthew 7:24-27 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him toa wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds
blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “Now everyone who
hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” (NKJ)
The smallest edifice (1. a building, esp. a large, imposing one 2. any elaborately constructed institution,
organization, etc.) built on the rock will endure the tests which try foundations, and only because the rock endures.
The Apostle Paul writes of the superstructure which is built upon the rock, which superstructure is to be tested by fire.
1 Corinthians 3:9-15 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. 10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 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. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (NKJ)
Reference is thus made, not to salvation, but to the works in which the Christian engages. It is not characterbuilding, but Christian service. There are, again, two general classes of superstructure being built upon Christ the Rock, and these are likened to gold, silver, and precious stones, on the one hand, and to wood, hay, and stubble, on the other hand. As gold and silver are refined by fire, and wood, hay, and stubble are consumed by fire, so the judgment of Christian service is likened to fire in which the gold and silver will stand the test and receive a reward, while that which corresponds to wood, hay, and stubble will suffer loss. It is declared, however, that the believer who suffers loss in respect to his reward for service will himself be saved, though passing through that fire which destroys his unworthy service.
The important truth to be recognized at this point is that, while the unsaved build upon the sand, all Christians are standing and building on the Rock, Jesus Christ. They are thus secure with respect to salvation through the merit of Christ, apart from their own worthiness or faithfulness. While this figure used by Christ does not lend itself to a literal development in every particular, it is clearly stated by this object lesson that Christ is the Foundation on which the Christian stands and on which he builds. To be taken off the sand foundation and to be placed on the enduring Rock which is Christ, constitutes one of the richest treasures of divine grace.