Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Let Us Go to Him Outside the Camp

"So Jesus also suffered outside the gate in order to sanctify the people through his own blood. Therefore let us go to him outside the camp and bear the reproach he endured.
For here we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come.
Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name."
Hebrews 13:12-15

The inspired writer of Hebrews beautifully explains how not only the Old Testament sacrifices, but the disposal of the animals sacrificed in that God-ordained system, typified the sacrifice and physical disposal of the Son of God, the Messiah, the King, the Christ, Jesus of Nazareth.

The carcasses of the animals used in the various Jewish sacrifices were disposed of beyond the gate, outside the city. The animals were regarded as nothing more than refuse. Jesus was regarded by both Jew and Gentile as of even less value than the animals sacrificed to God. Jesus, in the eyes of men, was not fit to die within the city gates. He was both butchered and disposed of, outside the camp, beyond the city gates.

Why did Jesus subject himself to so great a humiliation (Philippians 2:5-11)? He did it to sanctify His own people through the sacrifice of His own blood. And how are Christians to respond to so great a loving and saving sacrifice? We must be willing to join Christ outside the camp. Having been privileged to be redeemed through the shed blood of Christ, every Christian is obligated to share in His suffering (2 Corinthians 1:5; Philippians 3:7-11; 2 Timothy 1:8; 2:3; 1 Peter 4:13).

The author of Hebrews would later write: "Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood" (Hebrews 12:3-4). The Christian should never grow weary or faint-hearted since he has the ever-present reminder that while he will never resist sin to the point of shedding his own blood to cleanse himself of sin, Christ shed His innocent, life's blood for the remission of the sins of those He redeems. The unjust, blasphemous hostility Christ endured on the cross, outside the city gates, can never be matched by the sinner.

So, dear Christian, go. Go to Him outside the camp. Deny yourself, take up your cross, and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). Follow in His steps. Follow Him in His willingness to endure every deprivation, every hostility, every injustice. While Christ suffered to save sinners, as a redeemed sinner, as a Christian you must be willing to be walked, chased, or drug outside the camp--you must be willing to voluntarily go to Him, leave the camp behind, and suffer like Him outside the camp. Go to Him outside the American Evangelical camp--a man-made city that despises Christ and sees His gospel as woefully insufficient to meet the needs of sinners. Go to Him outside the camp of popularity. Stop striving for acceptance from the world--the Christ-hating world. Let every societal "norm," every worldly trend lock the gates of their sin-drenched camps behind you.

A young man named Calvin, a St. Louis campus leader of CRU, screamed in anger, "I don't want people to hate me!" Like  far too many American Evangelicals, Calvin will not go to Christ outside the camp. A young man named Tom, a Southern Illinois campus leader of CRU, affirmed a Christ-hating lesbian as she mocked the public proclamation of the gospel. Like Calvin, Tom will not go to Christ outside the camp. Like these two wayward young men, too many American Evangelicals refuse to count the cost of following Christ. And being unwilling to count the cost, they are unwilling to pay any price at all to walk as He walked, to suffer as He suffered, to die as He died.

While the Christian's justification, his salvation, is a free gift, sanctification is costly. Conformity to the image of Christ carries a very high price. Only those who are truly saved will desire to pay it--not to earn salvation, but with a heart compelled to pay any price out of gratitude for salvation received by grace, through faith.

Dear Christian, are you going to Him outside the camp? If not, why won't you go outside the camp? What is keeping you from following Christ to the uttermost? What is keeping you from being willing to suffer anything and everything to love and follow Christ? Did He not suffer far more to save you? Are you merely peering at Christ from the safe confines of the camp, hidden like "Kilroy" and just peeking over the walls of the City of American Evangelicalism?

Christian, do you point to Christ, off in the distance, disdained by the world He created, and say, "There He is. There's my Lord and Savior, way out there. But I dare not go outside the camp. I dare not go outside the American Evangelical bubble. It's dangerous out there. To pursue Christ-likeness, to be numbered among His followers, to be known by the world as 'one of them,' is just too high a price to pay." Is this you? Do you praise Him with your lips, but with a heart so far from Him you refuse to count the cost and pay the price to live as He lived and to die as He died (Isaiah 29:13; Mark 7:6; Mark 8:34)? Do you praise Him with your lips but keep him at a sinfully discreet distance?

Dear Christian, if this is you, then you must examine yourself to see if you are even in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). If this is you, repent, and go to Christ outside the camp!


  1. Excellent advice. It is shameful how often our own comforts are prioritized over Gospel ministry (myself included). We must be wise AND discerning AND ready to risk certain peace with the world when the confrontation comes.

    Lest anyone misread, I did not see anywhere in the article where you commanded people to go out and intentionally make enemies or act foolishly so that the world will hate them.

  2. Replies
    1. CRU is the new name of "Campus Crusade for Christ." The old name was too Christian for the current leadership.


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