The Journal of Biblical Accuracy

“Because you are lukewarm...” (Revelation 3:16) (PDF) PDF version

“Because you are lukewarm...” (Revelation 3:16)

The mixture of cold and hot makes a mix lukewarm, i.e. neither hot nor cold. The Lord addressed lukewarmness in Revelation 3, speaking to the angel of the church of Laodicea. There we read:

Revelation 3:15-19
"I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Because you say, "I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing" and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent."

As the above passage makes clear, lukewarmness is unacceptable from the Lord. The lukewarm is not zealous for the Lord. His heart is not burned by love for Him. The view he holds for himself is entirely different from the view the Lord has for him. So, while the Lord sees him as "wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked", he sees himself as rich that has need of nothing. The focus of his interest is not the Lord and His opinion, but rather his own self. "I am rich, and [I] have become wealthy" he says. For the lukewarm, Jesus Christ was probably his Lord and he was confessed as such, sometime in the past. However, He is not his Lord, his boss, TODAY. His boss today is rather his own self. Nonetheless, as Matthew 16:24-25 says:

Matthew 16:24-25
"Then Jesus said to His disciples, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."

The act of following is not static. To follow Jesus Christ one has to deny his self, and this is not something static. Something that because we did it yesterday, it is sure that we will also do it today. Though we may have confessed Jesus as Lord, whether He is TRULY our Lord, our boss, it is something that we have to decide every day, even every moment. Jesus Christ does not want us people who just confessed him as Lord sometime in the past, but people who LIVE their confession continuously. As Paul said in II Corinthians 13:5

II Corinthians 13:5
"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?"

The fact that we once believed, does not mean that we are also in the faith today. Therefore, let's not be lax but let's examine ourselves. Are we in the faith today? Is Jesus Christ our Lord today or we just assume that "all is OK" with him as long as we do our........duties? Christianity is not a religion. It is a fellowship. A fellowship with a living God and a living Lord. Is He the Lord of our life TODAY or not?

The purpose of the above questions is not to generate condemnation or fear (except godly fear), but to make us examine our selves, as the Scripture says we should do. Though the Lord despises lukewarmness, even more than coldness, he loves the lukewarm and he wants to change him. He wants to see him repenting and becoming ZEALOUS. That's why in the same passage of Revelation 3 he says: "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten". The reaction of the Lord against the lukewarm is not rejection but chastening, that, as Hebrews 12:11 says, does not "seem to be joyful for the present but sorrowful". However, it is this "godly sorrow" that "produces [the] repentance" (II Corinthians 7:10), the lukewarm so much needs.

Anastasios Kioulachoglou