Q. Help me understand what is being said in Matthew 7:19 vs 1 Cor 3:11-15. In Matthew, I know the Lord is speaking of false prophets, but in doing so, He seems to be giving us the definition of a “good tree”. It brings forth good fruit. And if it does not do that, it will be cut down and cast into the fire. I take this to mean if a believer (a “good tree”) doesn’t do any good works (“good fruit”), he will end up in Hell. But in 1Cor 3:15, Paul is saying that if a believer doesn’t have any good works (they were burned up), he will suffer the loss of rewards (at the Bema seat?) but will still be saved. Thank you in advance for the help.
A. It’s important to stay in the context of each teaching. In Matt. 7: 13-23 Jesus was talking about false prophets who by definition are not believers. The teaching of a false prophet will not have the 100% accuracy required of those who presume to speak for God. It’s an expansion of Deut. 18:20-22 where the Lord said anything less than 100% accuracy will mean the prophet is not speaking for Him. This is what Jesus meant when He said we will recognize them by their fruit (Matt. 7:20). Even the performance of miracles will not compensate for inaccurate prophecies and false teaching (Matt. 7:22-23).
1 Cor. 3:10-15 is a description of the Bema Seat judgment. Most scholars believe it takes place in Heaven shortly after the rapture. That means everyone present will be a believer. At this judgment things done by believers while they were still on Earth will be judged to see it they’re worthy of reward. If nothing can be found they’ll still be saved but without additional rewards.