No charge is laid against the Laodiceans of evils such as find mention in the other letters. This presumably relates to the nature of their faith. The Laodiceans do not reject the gospel of Christ, nor do they affirm it with joy. They maintain it without conviction, without enthusiasm, without reflection on its implications for life. Paul’s language about the world being crucified to him and he to the world (Gal. 6:14), or of his being dominated by the one aim of pressing forward to win God’s prize of life in his kingdom (Phil. 3:12f.) would have sounded to the Laodiceans like another religion, which indeed it was. So aliean to the spirit of Christ is the religious profession of the Laodiceans, John declares that the Lord would prefer them to be outright pagans. Would that you were cold or hot! To have enough religion to disguise one’s need of a living faith is to be in a worse condition than having no faith at all. An honest atheist is more acceptable to the Lord than a self-satisfied religious man, for such a man’s religion has blunted his conscience and blinded him to his need for repentance. The road to the cross has always been easier for the publican than for the Pharisee.
George R. Beasley-Murray, Revelation, The New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids MI: Eerdmans, 1974) 104–105.