“According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 3:10–11, AV)
Before we moved to Portsmouth New Hampshire, my view of the seacoast was one of sandy beaches. I had never seen a beach that was basically a granite outcropping. From the Portsmouth area north through Maine the seacoast is primarily granite. It is very scenic and very much different from the ocean scene to which I was accustomed.
While we lived in Portsmouth, there was a house being built on a vacant lot. They laid a foundation, but it was no easy task. When they began digging for the foundation, they hit solid granite about three or four feet down. For weeks they took a large machine with a huge jackhammer attached and pounded small chips off the granite in order to dig a hole deep enough for the foundation. There was no other way to build the house but to do the painstaking work of laying a proper foundation. Yet, when that foundation was laid, it was sure to be solid and never move.
Paul had just presented two metaphors for the church (v9b). One was the church as God’s field and the other was the church as God’s building. Moreover, he stated, “For we are labourers together with God” (1 Corinthians 3:9, AV). Paul understood that he and others were laborers together with God in the work of building the church.
Digging deeper into the metaphor as the church as a building, Paul indicated that he laid the foundation. He wrote of this indicating that the message he preached, Jesus Christ and His atoning work on the cross, presented to the Corinthians the one true foundation. In fact, Paul stated that no one can lay any other foundation upon which the church is to be built.
We must remember that our foundation is perfectly solid, unshakeable, immoveable, and it will stand forever. Thus, since the church’s foundation is so secure, so is the church. Yes, congregations will often get off track and some will go contrary to the full truth in some areas. Yet, the universal church that is made up of all true regenerated believers will never be shaken.
The local church must be careful to build on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. The church must not err in trying to lay another foundation. There are many false foundations being laid today. Some will try to lay a foundation on good works. Other will lay a foundation on liberalism. However, we must remember that there is only one foundation, Jesus Christ the Lord.
We should remember the word of the hymn, “The Church’s One foundation.”
The church’s one foundation
Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is his new creation
By water and the Word.
From heaven he came and sought her
To be his holy bride;
With his own blood he bought her,
And for her life he died.