In today’s verse we see several terms. “Wretched” means to be callused or hardened to truth. “Miserable” means to be the object of pity, like a homeless person. “Poor” here means “beggarly,” one who begs for crumbs. “Blind” refers to being spiritually blind to the glory of God, His vision and His compassion for unbelievers. “Naked” comes from the Greek word from which we get our word “gymnasium,” in rags.
125 years ago, Charles Spurgeon wrote of this church:
“This church which was so rich in its own esteem, was utterly bankrupt in the sight of the Lord. It had not real joy in the Lord; it had mistaken its joy in itself for that. It had no real beauty of holiness upon it; it had mistaken its formal worship and fine buildings and harmonious singing for that. It had not deep understanding of the truth and not wealth of vital godliness, it had mistaken carnal wisdom and outward profession for those precious things. It was poor in secret prayer, which is the strength of any church; it was destitute of communion with Christ, which is the very life blood of religion; but it had the outward semblance of these blessings and walked in a vain show.”
What is the difference between “thou sayest” and “thou art?” Why did they see themselves so differently than the way Christ saw them? They were judging by different standards. I am so concerned that the description of this church is valid for so many churches in America. May God help us to stay pure in our doctrine and practice.