“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. (Rev. 3:15, 16)
In a Bible study I attended, a person passionately implied that Jesus would send you to hell for being a lukewarm Christian. Well that would have scared me out of my ‘lukewarm-ness’ for the wrong reason years ago, but no longer. I mean, now I know what Jesus meant not what some interpret from this verse. It’s not written to unbelievers. It’s written to believers about to be disciplined for their wayward attitude; “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten” (Rev. 3:19). God only chastens believers (Heb. 12:5-11).
Do Lukewarm Christians end up in Hell?
In human terms, most if not all Christians are lukewarm at various times in life. We fail miserably at doing the things that God instructs us to do. But the truth is that no one is sent to hell for being lukewarm. People go there because they reject Jesus as their Savior.
The Image of Lukewarm
These verses are written to the church at Laodicea. The cities of Hierapolis and Colossae were nearby.
- Laodicea piped water in an aqueduct from the mountains. It was lukewarm when it arrived. The water was noted for being bad.
- Hierapolis had hot springs that served as a therapeutic agent.
- Colossae had a fresh supply of cold mountain water that was good for drinking.
The image demonstrated that both the cold and hot served a valued purpose. The lukewarm water of Laodicea was useless. It pictured the useless condition of the church there. If you drank the water, it would have caused you to spit it out. It portrayed Jesus’ attitude about the church at Laodicea. They disgusted Him because of their attitude toward Him and others. They thought that they were rich and had need of nothing, but Jesus told them that they were “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev. 3:17).
They Needed a Significant Change of Mind
Because of their attitude, they were out of fellowship with Him. They needed to repent. As believers they needed to change their minds about how they thought about themselves. They weren’t rich. They were wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked in His eyes. That was God’s view of them. It needed to be their view so that they could be restored to fellowship with the Lord and avoid His discipline.
Restored to Fellowship
If anyone who would hear His voice and open the door, He would come in and eat with them (Rev. 3:20). This is a picture of close intimacy in the culture of His day. They already had a relationship with Him by faith, but they weren’t walking with Him by faith. As believers they were walking according to the dictates of their old nature.
These verses aren’t about Jesus sending someone to hell. It’s about Him wanting to have close intimacy (fellowship) with His children so that they could mature (spiritually) and He would be glorified.
“Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Rom. 15:5-7