I know your [record of] works and what you are doing; you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth! Revelation 3:15-16 (AMPC)
Hot is the life giving ministry of the Spirit of Grace. Cold is the death dealing ministry of the letter of the law.
2 Corinthians 3:6 (GNT) it is he who made us capable of serving the new covenant, which consists not of a written law but of the Spirit. The written law brings death, but the Spirit gives life.
Lukewarm is a mixture of hot and cold. It’s mixing Grace and law. Now this is deceptive, disastrous, and deadly.
The ministry of the Spirit of Grace is the life where God Himself lives and works in and through us by His Holy Spirit. The result of this is righteous, holy, and living fruit.
The ministry of the letter of the law is the hard and harsh laborious struggle of living and working in our own human efforts to do what’s right independent of God’s power. It results into frustration, failure and dead works.
The law written on stone tablets is called the ministry of death.
2 Corinthians 3:7 (NKJV) But if the ministry of death, written [and] engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which [glory] was passing away.
Why would Jesus rather have us hot or cold – under Grace or law but not lukewarm – not mix Grace and law?
Hot or Grace is understandable because it’s what Jesus brought (John1:17) and so prefers for everyone. He prefers all of us embrace the life giving ministry of the Spirit of Grace. But the cold death dealing ministry of the law, why would that be another option?
This is for everyone one of us who thinks he can live right and do right in his own ability independent of God.
The law’s purpose is to prove to and make us realize our total inability and utter failure to live and do right in our own will power and strength. When we are absolutely convinced of this then we can surrender to Grace who alone can live and do right in and through us.
The law reveals our sin – that in and of ourselves we miserably fall short of God’s righteous standard.
Romans 7:7 (NLT) Well then, am I suggesting that the law of God is sinful? Of course not! In fact, it was the law that showed me my sin. I would never have known that coveting is wrong if the law had not said, “You must not covet.”
The law also awakens and revives sin which brings us death.
Romans 7:8-9 (NKJV) But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all [manner of] [evil] desire. For apart from the law sin [was] dead. I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died.
The law drives us to the realization that even when we are willing to do what’s right no matter how hard we try in our best efforts we can’t do what’s right in our own efforts.
Romans 7:15-16 (NKJV) For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do. If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that [it is] good.
The purpose of all these operations of the law is to bring us to this – I’ve tried everything and nothing helps. I’m at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn’t that the real question? The answer, thank God, is that Jesus Christ can and does. He acted to set things right in this life of contradictions where I want to serve God with all my heart and mind, but am pulled by the influence of sin to do something totally different. Romans 7:24-25 (MSG)
So now we are ready for the hot or Grace. But when we mix Grace and law – lukewarm, we get deceived thinking that we can live and do right in our own efforts plus God’s help or Grace. No it’s not like that, it’s all God’s doing (Grace) apart from our working (keeping the law). We are saved by God’s Grace minus our efforts. Ephesians 2:8-9. We live and serve God by His Grace minus our efforts.