JohnSWilson3 Blog


“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp…”
November 21, 2012, 3:11 pm
Filed under: Q - Letter to Hebrews

The author to Hebrews now begins to contrast his thoughts regarding the many examples that he just related on living by the life of Christ, to “keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters.” These brothers and sisters have been facing persecution, being tempted to leave their gatherings to fall back to the Judaism, the religion of their day. The author has continuously pointed out how Jesus is greater than Judaism or any cultural tradition that forces His people to live apart from Christ. He begins to circle his thoughts with regard to grace and now reflects on those who focus on “foods” instead of grace. Paul has reflected on this issue before with the followers of Jesus in Rome. It is amazing how the flesh can find the smallest thing and make it a divisive issue between brothers and sisters. But what is interesting is that the author changes the thought about food as tradition but food as an analogy.

“”Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating of ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who observe such rituals. We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore.” Hebrews 13:9-13, TNIV

Grace is what strengthens His people, God’s grace given by the Spirit of His Son through one another. The ceremonial foods of the Old Testament were meant to show the importance God placed on following Him, but because of the curse we are totally inept to do so. The ceremonial foods of the Old Testament are an analogy of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus Himself stated that He was the bread from heaven, that His body was real meat and His blood real drink. A different kind of life, spiritual life. Because of His death and resurrection He has removed the curse! If we have believed in the Lord Jesus He has given us His new life and He is now our new altar and our new food and drink of whom we live by.

We now live in a new way, because Christ is our new way! But this new way is fraught with conflict, as Paul said between living by the Spirit and living by the flesh. The description the author chose to use as his analogy is that of the sin offering. Not only is Christ the true altar, our real food and drink, He is our way of life, a way of sacrifice. The sin offering shows us how to live by Him, who is our sin offering. It is only through a sin offering that the curse of sin is removed and only in Christ is that possible. The sin offering shows us what Jesus did in removing the curse but also shows us the kind of life we will also live together. As we live by Him we too will act out lives of offerings to God.

“Then the anointed priest shall take some of the bull’s blood and carry it into the tent of meeting. He is to dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the LORD, in front of the curtain of the sanctuary. The priest shall then put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense that is before the LORD in the tent of meeting. The rest of the bull’s blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tent of meeting. He shall remove all the fat from the bull of the sin offering…Then the priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering. But the hide of the bull and all its flesh, as well as the head and legs, the internal organs and the intestines – that is, all the rest of the bull – he must take outside the camp to a place ceremonially clean, where the ashes are thrown, and burn it there in a wood fire on the ash heap.” Leviticus 4:5-8a,10b-12, TNIV.

burnt offering

The priests when offering many of the offerings where allowed to eat of them but of the sin offering they were not allowed to eat of it, it had to be totally burned up. The fat, kidneys, and part of the liver were burned on the altar of burnt offering and the rest burned outside the camp. The priests had no right to eat of any of this offering. But in Christ, because of breaking the power of the curse, of sin and of death, we can eat of the real sacrifice together. He is now our real bread, our real drink. He is now our altar in whom we find rest, grace, mercy, and help.

Jesus is our sin offering. He was flogged and mocked inside the city of Jerusalem and later carrying His cross was crucified outside the city. The author has throughout the letter pointed out that Jesus is our sin offering, and in fact the better sacrifice because He “offered for all time one sacrifice for sins,” and now culminates his letter with the way of life of the sin offering.

Brothers and sisters because we live in a world that is still “groaning as in the pains of childbirth” due to the curse we must take heart that in Christ we have been made right with God through the one sacrifice of Christ once for all! To follow the way of Christ is to follow a way that is contemptible in the eyes of the religious, those who still follow the way of the flesh. No matter what others think we are to, by faith, follow Him. To follow Jesus is to follow Him outside the camp of the religious, the way of the flesh. It is to live by His life together, not by the traditions of man. As we do so we will bear “the disgrace he bore.” We “need to persevere…we are not of those who shrink back,” we are “of those who believe.” We are to “go to him,” “fix (our) thoughts” and “our eyes on Jesus” and by His life endure those time of disgrace by others, “scorning its shame,” making “every effort to live in peace with everyone.” Jesus said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

180px-Gustave_Doré_-_Crucifixion_of_Jesus

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4 Comments so far
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My brother, this posting resonates within me, thank you for bringing this together, thank you for the comfort, and encouragement that these words reflect. Most of I thank our Lord for His Life giving presence, and the bond of unity that is ours through the Spirit.

“Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”

“For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.” Paul

Comment by jimpuntney

amen brother, thanks for the kind words.

Comment by John Wilson

John,

Thank you so much for these uplifting words. I am edified through Christ in you, and am grateful.

Comment by Kat Huff

thanks sis for the comments, blessings!

Comment by John Wilson




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