19 Aug August 19, 2015
So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach. Hebrews 13:13 (NASB)
The Christian life is one of continually going to Jesus. We first come to Jesus to have spiritual life. We learn to walk, and then we fall, and we are taught to come to Jesus. We begin to grow and become strong in the Lord, experience many victories in battle, and we learn to come to Jesus and give him our trophies and crowns. As we grow old we learn to come to Jesus, for he alone “sustains me in my old age.”
There is another time we learn to come to Jesus, and that is when we see all the damage that the Law can do, and we want freedom from it’s curses and condemnation. The author of Hebrews 13 is quoting an Old Testament passage where the sacrifice was burned up outside the camp:
13 “You shall take all the fat that covers the entrails and the lobe of the liver, and the two kidneys and the fat that is on them, and offer them up in smoke on the altar. 14 “But the flesh of the bull and its hide and its refuse, you shall burn with fire outside the camp; it is a sin offering. Exodus 29:13-14 (NASB)
Likewise Jesus, as our substitutional sacrifice, was crucified “outside the camp”. The question may legitimately come, “outside what camp?” The answer is, outside the camp of the Jews with their focus on the Law. Outside the camp of legalists. Outside the camp of moralists. Outside the camp of the principalists (those who guide their lives on Bible principles, apart from the gospel). This is where Jesus died, and this is where Jesus is to be found. Outside the camp.
Are you willing to go outside the camp to find Jesus? Are you willing to leave behind pride, position, popularity, or prestige to gain enjoyment and fellowship with Christ? Are you willing to suffer the loss of things that matter in this world in order to enjoy Him? It’s lonely, its cold, and you may be shunned or looked down upon for your desire to go outside the camp of the Law, but that’s where Jesus is and it’s where He’s called us to join him.
Jesus asked, “are you able to drink the cup I drink of?” This is the cup of suffering, and it is found outside the camp. It is where we…9 may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;” Philippians 3:9-10 (NASB)
There are all kinds of wonderful cups to drink at the feast of Jesus. We drink of the cup of forgiveness and peace with God, we drink of the wonderful cup of being righteous in Christ, and there is the especially delicious cup of eternal life. We enjoy those.
And yet there is one bitter cup at the table, the cup of “fellowshipping in His sufferings” that we can only get outside the camp. It is the cup we drink when we wish to preach the gospel, preach a Person, rather than preach principles for living that are devoid of the gospel.
If this is you, then expect to suffer. You will suffer for not conforming. You will suffer when people call you prideful (which every Christian will wrestle with until death, and which no Christian has any answer for, lest we prove their point), you will suffer when they malign you and falsely accuse you, and you will suffer when they want to crucify you publicly.
But this is how we know Jesus best; outside the camp, and fellowshipping with Him in His sufferings. It is a bitter cup, but to fellowship with Jesus in His suffering turns it all sweet, even as the tree thrown into the bitter waters of Marah made them sweet. The death of the Lion of the tribe of Judah produces the sweetest honey ever to be found, but we must go outside the camp of legalism and principalism to enjoy it.