In the past few studies, I have been demonstrating that the church of Laodicea is not at all as we have been taught. Rather, it sought to preach Jesus through its own resources. Jesus counseled the church at Laodicea to buy from him “gold tried in the fire” and “white raiment” and eyesalve to “anoint (their) eyes” (Revelation 3:18) He counseled the church to buy from him, but how would that be done? What do we have that could be used for currency in heaven? After all, Jesus hasn’t set up a marketplace or a business just down the street in our neighborhood. Therefore, these things point to something spiritual, so what does he mean? Notice how the prophet, Isaiah, put it:
Isaiah 55:1-3 Ho, every one that thirsts, come to the waters, and he that hath no money; come, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. (2) Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfies not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. (3) Incline your ear, and come unto me: listen, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.
Paul said that whatever he could have profited by in the world he counted loss in order to gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8). We are told that God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3), where the wealth of God is simply unfathomable. In other words, what we have in Christ simply cannot be measured (Ephesians 3:8). Therefore, if all our needs are found in Christ (Colossians 2:3), and we are told to go to him for our supply of that which satisfies our soul (Proverbs 23:23), then all that is needed is that we understand what currency we could use to buy what we need from Jesus.
The gold is representative of the need of the Laodicean church. It was never intended to be understood literally. Rather, it represents the faith they needed to mature in their relationship with Christ. Peter wrote to this same area in the Roman Empire (1Peter 1:1). He said: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ” (1Peter 1:7). In other words, the gold tried in fire that Jesus mentioned is actually faith tried in fire. It doesn’t seem the Laodicean church was stepping out in faith. Everything they did for Christ was, no doubt, done in their own strength, via their vast wealth. In reality, everything they did for Jesus could be successfully mimicked by a wealthy unbeliever.
Up to this point, the Laodicean believers probably were not persecuted for doing anything they did in Jesus’ name, because what they did offended no one. They gave Christ their wealth, but not themselves. If I am the servant of Christ, I must give myself to him. What I possess is insufficient. God cannot be bribed with my wealth. The only currency that he’ll accept from me is my life. In reality my life, my time, is all I have.
Jesus told the believers there that they needed to buy gold (i.e. faith) tried in the fire “from me”, so that they “may be rich.” The emphasis is placed upon the words: from me as opposed to trusting in their own power. Evidently, the Judaizers had made very deep inroads into the church at Laodicea. Paul tells us that justification in the sight of God is gained only through faith in Christ not through the works of the law (Galatians 2:15-16). Moreover, Christ profits us nothing at all, if we serve the Law (Galatians 5:2-5), because embracing the Law, as one’s way to God, involves 24/7 service, but one infraction calls for death. Nevertheless, as one serves Christ, although it, too, involves 24/7 service, infractions are covered by the blood of Jesus, and we are forgiven. Through the grace of God, we are given life, even though we cannot buy such a thing with anything we own (Romans 6:23).
The Laodicean church was told they needed to buy white robes in order that they might “be clothed, and that the shame of (their) nakedness didn’t appear” (Revelation 3:18). The Scriptures teach us that being stripped of our clothing brought shame (Exodus 32:25; 2Samuel 10:4; Isaiah 20:4). Nature itself tells us to cover our nakedness, and when one sins to his shame, he blushes, and blood covers one’s skin. On the other hand when clothing is supplied, especially additional quantities of clothing, it is intended to express honor (cf. Genesis 41:42; 45:22; Esther 6:9; Daniel 5:29; Luke 15:22).
The white robes represent the righteousness of the saints (Revelation 19:8), and Paul tells us that Jesus has been made to be our righteousness (1Corinthians 1:30). Therefore, if we are to put on Christ (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27), then Jesus, by telling the Laodicean church to buy white robes from him, was telling believers to put on the new man (Christ) who is created in righteousness… in the image of him who created him (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10-12).
Finally, Jesus commanded them to buy from him the eyesalve they needed to anoint their eyes so they “may see” (Revelation 3:18), but what does that mean? The eyesalve represents that which allows them to see. The natural salve produced in Laodicea was used to medicate diseased eyes, so they might see (cf. John 9:6-11). What Jesus meant was that they needed the Holy Spirit to open up their minds to spiritual things (1John 2:20-27; Ephesians 1:17-18), which includes understanding his word (Psalm 19:8). So, Jesus told the Laodicean church to buy from him faith, in order to trust him rather than their own power. In so doing, they would be persecuted by those around them, because they would have put on the new man (i.e. Christ, the righteousness of the saints), who would also enlighten their minds, so they could understand the wealth they have inherited in their Redeemer.
 See John Trapp’s Commentary at Revelation 3:18.