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To answer this we will need to read Revelation 3:15-18, which says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou were cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich: and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” In Revelation, chapters 2 and 3 we have the Lord Jesus writing to seven churches, and in each letter He describes the conditions that exist there. The church at Laodicea was in the worst state of all, one of total indifference to the Lord, pictured by them being “lukewarm”. This condition was so nauseating to the Lord that He had to inform them that He would spew them out of His mouth, which is another way of saying that He would reject them.  This can be speaking prophetically of the rejection of unsaved “professing” believers when the Lord Jesus comes to take true believers home to glory.  Instead of their being raptured to heaven, they will be left behind to go through the tribulation period of which the majority of the book of Revelation describes.

This church was not only indifferent to the claims of Christ, but they actually thought they were doing well spiritually, as we see in verse 17.  They said, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing.” Perhaps they boasted of their large church membership, their material wealth, and their spiritual service for the Lord. They considered themselves self-sufficient, but in truth they were “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” words that graphically describe the state of an unbeliever who is self-righteous, proud, spiritually bankrupt, spiritually blind, and naked in their sins in the sight of a holy God who demands perfection.

In love, the Lord Jesus counsels them in verse 18 to “buy of me gold tried in fire, that thou mayest be rich.” His desire is to give them a true righteous standing before God (pictured by the “gold tried in fire”), which He offers to every sinner through His atoning work on the cross.  He went through the fire of God’s wrath at Calvary because of our sins and in doing so He satisfied God’s righteous claims against sin. If the sinner will confess his wretched, sinful condition before God and trust in the Savior of sinners, God will justify him by faith. Romans 3:24-26 declares, “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God: To declare, I say, at this time, His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”  We see in verse 24 that we are “justified FREELY by His grace.”  It is a gift and cannot be bought with money or anything else.  Isaiah spoke of this same truth in Isaiah 55:1, which reads, “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money: come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come buy wine and milk without money and without price.”  So, one does not actually “buy from the Lord” in terms of using money, but in putting one’s faith in Him, a spiritual transaction does take place and we then possess a righteous standing before God. Then we are truly RICH!

Along with “divine righteousness” being imputed, the believing sinner also acquires “practical righteousness,” which is pictured by the “white raiment.”  Men will then see us living godly lives as proof that we have truly been saved. And there will be “spiritual discernment” given as well, which is pictured by the “anointing eye salve.” Then we are no longer NAKED or BLIND!

The Lord also had a short word for true believers in the church at Laodicea. In verse 19 He tells them, As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.” The Lord knew that there were believers who had been influenced by the “lukewarm” state that permeated this church, so He was disciplining them with the hopes that they would repent. If we have fallen into such a state, let us also heed the Lord’s chastening in our lives and repent.  (131.1)  (DO)