Each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. – 1 Corinthians 3:13
The Greek word for “integrity” has a picture meaning behind it. It means “without cracks.” Why would the Bible use the word picture that means “without cracks”? In those days, if a deceptive merchant had a vase that had some cracks in it, he would fill those cracks with wax and then paint over the outside like it was a perfect vase. Therefore, it had no integrity; it was damaged. So God is saying that real integrity is when you peel away the paint it’s still solid. There are no cracks.
The Lord is going to do the same thing. He’s going to reveal the reality of all our works. Some of you have done about everything that you’ve done in the church for yourself. These deeds will be revealed one day. The motives and intentions of our hearts will be exposed and there will be no argument. He will manifest the integrity of our works.
Paul is talking about ministers here primarily and has explained how the foundation he’s laid in the church is of sound doctrine. He didn’t peddle in philosophies and worldly wisdom. He didn’t follow the trends or the fads of the day to build a congregation. He gave them the truth of God. He and Apollos laid a foundation of “gold, silver, and precious stones.” Now he tells them that other ministers that come behind them need to make sure they build properly with quality materials and not with that which is “wood, hay, and stubble.”
This truth applies to all believers. God will test our works with fire. Do you know what happens when wood, hay, and stubble are exposed to fire? It goes up in flames! All our works that are done in worldly wisdom and with selfish motives will be exposed as such and burned up! However, materials like gold and silver are purified by the fire. They endure. That’s what God is going to do. He will expose. He will manifest that which has integrity as well as those works which were not genuine.