Robert D. Pace
The boast of the Laodicean Church was, “I am rich!” (Revelation 3:17) Gloating over their affluence these lukewarm Christians assumed their wealth had signified God’s blessing. But whatever measure of substance the Laodiceans possessed Jesus appraised it as leaving them “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.” [ESV] But Christ, who always seeks an opportunity to improve one’s worth, challenged the Laodiceans to invest their capital.
Revelation 3:18 records Christ’s words when He says: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich” [ESV] That’s strange! Jesus had evaluated the Laodiceans as penurious but now He tells them to withdraw from their account and make a purchase. What type of capital did the Laodiceans possess for making this acquisition? It certainly was not mammon for the Apostle Peter had rebuked the Sorcerer’s attempt to purchase a heavenly gift with materialism (Acts 8:20).
When Jesus says “buy from Me gold” it is evident that this transaction occurs only with Kingdom currency. Nothing but the legal tender from the Heaven can purchase Kingdom treasures. What is this Kingdom currency? It is faith! That is why Isaiah 55:1 says: “You who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.” Faith bids nothing more of men than to come with empty pockets and a full heart. Faith strips the affluent of their boast and leaves the poor without excuse! The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17).
But while this resolves the character of the currency what is this gold that Jesus orders the Laodiceans to buy? Whatever it is, Jesus said it would make them rich beyond anything they could imagine (18). As this passage is studied it becomes evident that Scripture paints a beautiful word-picture to illustrate its point. We see Christ, resplendent and incalculable, urging the Laodiceans, wealthy yet poor, to buy something mysterious and costly. And we know it is invaluable because it is called “gold refined by fire” (3:18)
I submit to you that this Gold represented nothing other than Jesus Christ. He had withstood the “refining fire” of insults, abuse, desertion, and crucifixion. And amazingly enough, the Bible mentions nothing of Heaven being “purified by fire” except Jesus Christ! This is why nothing but faith can make this acquisition. Christ, the Gold from another world, demands the currency of faith from another world, to make the purchase of eternal Life from another world! Thus, the reckless boast of the Laodiceans is reckoned as nothing and they remain “wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked” without the Gold of Heaven! Now do you see what Christ was offering the Laodiceans? He was offering Himself! The inexhaustible, ever-enriching Gold that will never fade. The Gold that purchases everlasting life.