Hebrews 9:24 tells us that the holy places of worship–the tabernacle and the Jerusalem temples with all their God-ordained furnishings–are “figures of the true” holy place in heaven. They are symbols or patterns of the spiritual truths of God’s kingdom. If you study what the Old Testament says about those holy places when they were being constructed, the majority of the items made were either covered in pure gold or were solid gold. Why is gold so important and what does it represent if everything was symbolic of spiritual truths?
With gold being so prominent in the holy places of worship, it’s obvious God set a “gold standard” for service to him. That gold standard appears throughout scripture but is plainly stated in the New Testament. In Revelation 3:18, Jesus counseled the lukewarm Laodiceans to buy from him “gold tried in the fire” if they really wanted to please him in their service. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:7 that this pertains to “the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire.” Therefore, the pure gold is symbolic of the pure faith we have in the Lord, tried by fire (hardships and persecutions in life) so that we “might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ,” (1 Peter 1:7).
How did Jesus expect this gold standard to be bought from him by the Laodiceans? The gold standard of faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17) with the understanding, according to Psalm 51:16-17, that God “desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: [he] delightest not in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” When we hear God’s word, we buy into it when we believe in it. To put it another way, when the Lord presents us the word through a preacher, he asks us, “Are you buying this?” A person of faith will respond, “Yes, Lord, I’m buying it. With a broken, contrite heart.” The faithful person knows that “he hath shewed [shown] thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).In the same way the gold items in the tabernacle had to be sprinkled with blood before they were used, our gold standard faith must be in the blood of Jesus for it to be of use to God.
When it comes to our future rewards we will receive from the Lord on Judgment Day, one sure way we can get the best rewards is to make sure our works are based on God’s gold standard (1 Corinthians 3:12-15) by being a vessel overlaid with the pure gold of faith (2 Timothy 2:20-21).