One of the most vivid and thorough descriptions of eternal rewards in all of Scripture is found in one of Paul's letters to the Church in Corinth.
Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 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. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).Most times I have heard this taught, there's a dichotomy drawn between the “gold, silver, precious stones” and the “wood, hay, straw.” I've explained it that way myself. This is quite natural considering those words are immediately followed by “the fire will test each one's work” and if you were to literally put all six of those things in a fire, the “gold, silver, precious stones” will endure and the “wood, hay, straw” will burn.
The next question is, How do you distinguish between “gold, silver, precious stones” and not “wood, hay, straw” in a spiritual, non-material sense?
I went back to the text looking for the answer to the question. I looked. I didn't find anything. I don't see anything in this text that teaches us how to distinguish between “gold, silver, precious stones” and “wood, hay, straw” in a non-material sense.
However, there must still be a basis for differentiating between the work that “endures” and the work that “is burned.” What is it?