"We have an altar of which those serving the tabernacle have no authority to eat. For of the animals [whose] blood is brought by the high priest into the [Holy of] Holies concerning sins, of these the bodies are burned outside the camp. Indeed, because of this, in order that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, Jesus suffered outside the gate. So let us go forth to Him outside the camp bearing His reproach." (Hebrews 13:10-13)
In Old Testament times, outside the camp was where everything unclean went. The Israelites were commanded to burn the remains of the sacrificial bulls, including their dung, outside the camp as sin offerings (Ex. 29:14; Lev. 4:12,21; 8:17; 9:11; 16:27). The red heifer was to be slaughtered and burned outside the camp, and the priest was unclean and could not come back into the camp until he had bathed; the ashes were to be laid outside the camp for a water of impurity (Num. 19:3-10). The priest was to take off his official fine linen clothes and put on the clothes that could and would get dirty to bring the ashes outside the camp (Lev. 6:11). The bodies of Nadab and Abihu were carried outside the camp after they were consumed by the Lord (Lev. 10:4-5). The leper was to be pronounced unclean by the priest, to tear his garments, to uncover his head, to cover his upper lip, to call out, "Unclean! Unclean!", and to live alone outside the camp (Lev. 13:46; 14:3). When Miriam was made leprous, she was shut outside the camp (Num. 12:10-15). In addition to the lepers, all who were defiled by issues of semen or menstruation and all who were defiled by dead bodies were to be put outside the camp (Num. 5:2-4; Deut. 23:10-12). The one who blasphemed and cursed the name of the Lord was brought outside the camp and stoned to death (Lev. 24:11,14,23). If the plague was found in a house, the defiled stones were to be thrown into an unclean place outside the camp; if the plague remained, then the whole house was to be dismantled and thrown outside the camp (Lev. 14:39-45). The one who was found defiling the Sabbath Day by gathering sticks was brought outside the camp and stoned to death (Num. 15:32-36). If a father spat in the face of the daughter, the daughter was to be put outside the camp (Num. 12:14). The warriors were met outside the camp to prevent defilement of the camp by those whose garments were stained with the blood of those they killed (Num. 31:13,19). Naboth was accused of cursing God and the king and was taken outside the camp and stoned to death (1 Kings 21:13). Manasseh removed the idols and altars of idols and threw them outside the camp (2 Chron. 33:15).
Outside the camp was a place of defilement, uncleanness, impurity, corruption, dirtiness, filthiness, pollution, contamination, condemnation, punishment, rejection, castigation, and reproach. It is where disease, dung, and death were. Anyone who was banished to the outside of the camp was excluded, isolated, and ostracized.
Is this anywhere for the King of Glory to be? Is this anywhere for the Sovereign of the Universe to be? Is this anywhere for the undefiled, sinless, pure Lamb of God to be? Would not such a holy man, the very God-Man, be squarely inside the camp, welcomed, praised, worshiped, lauded, and honored?
Yet the passage above in Hebrews 13 says that Jesus Christ was and is outside the camp. It says that Jesus Christ suffered shame and reproach. How can this be? Does not the Old Testament demand that only those who are unclean, leprous, defiled, blasphemers, worthy of death, be outside the camp? Was Jesus Christ, the holy, harmless, undefiled God-Man an unclean man, a leprous man, a defiled man, a blasphemer, a man who had committed a capital crime?But Hebrews 13:12 says that Jesus Christ suffered outside the gate. He was tortured and executed by crucifixion in the place where all the criminals who had committed capital offenses were tortured and executed - not inside the camp, but outside the camp. They wouldn't dare crucify someone inside the confines of the city. Jesus Christ was taken outside the camp, to a place called Golgotha, meaning "Of a Skull" - a place of death. Criminals were put to death here. These scum-of-the-earth low-lifes were mocked, tortured, and killed.
Why was Jesus Christ among those who suffered and died outside the camp? He had done nothing wrong. Wouldn't He be the last person one would expect to see being crucified among the executed criminals? Yet there He was, outside the camp, ridiculed, reproached, and scorned, treated as dung, His entire body bloodied by torture, His hands and feet nailed all the way through to the wood of the cross, pulling Himself up by those nails in His hands just to be able to breathe. This was the King of Glory? The rulers and soldiers came by scoffing, saying, "He saved others, let him save himself, if this one is the Christ, the elect of God. ... If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself" (Luke 23:35-37). If He really was the Christ, why didn't He come down from the cross? Why didn't He set up a kingdom on the earth, with Jerusalem as the capitol? Why did He remain outside the camp, being reproached by those who hated Him, hanging on the cross and eventually dying?
Praise God, we know the answer, because it is clearly in His Word. Jesus Christ did not die as a private person. He died as a Substitute and Representative of certain people. All the sins of all those people were imputed to Jesus Christ - Jesus Christ was legally charged with their sins. And, just as the sacrificial bull was burned outside the camp for a sin offering in the Old Testament, Jesus Christ suffered and died outside the camp as a sin offering for His people. He became unclean, defiled, worthy of death - not in his own perfectly holy character and conduct, but by imputation. And as such, it was needful for Him to be punished outside the camp, where the unclean and defiled go. By nature, "all our righteousnesses [are] as a menstruation cloth" (Isa. 64:6), and all the menstruation cloths were to go outside the camp. Jesus Christ took upon Him the defiled, unclean menstruation cloths of our self-righteousness and took them outside the camp, where "the blood of His Son Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin" (1 John 1:7), making our scarlet crimson unclean cloths as white as snow (Isa. 1:18). God poured out His wrath upon His only begotten Son, and those sins that were imputed to Jesus Christ were fully punished. Jesus Christ drank damnation dry for everyone whom He represented, so that no one whom He represented would be punished in hell. He took their sins onto Himself by imputation and was fully punished for them outside the camp, "in order to sanctify the people by His own blood" (Heb. 13:12). There is not a single person for whom Christ died who will end up in hell.
"For He made the [One] who knew no sin [to be] sin for us, that we might become [the] righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). "[He is] despised and abandoned of men, a Man of pains, and acquainted with sickness. And as it were hiding [our] faces from Him, He being despised, and we did not value Him. Surely He has borne our sicknesses, and He carried our pain; yet we esteemed Him plagued, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions; [He was] bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His wounds we ourselves are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have each one turned to his own way; and Jehovah made meet in Him the iniquity of all of us. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, but He did not open His mouth. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter; and as a ewe before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from justice; and who shall consider His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living; from the transgression of My people, the stroke [was] to Him. And He appointed [Him] His grave with the wicked, but [He was] with a rich [man] in His death; though He had done no violence, and deceit [was] not in His mouth. But Jehovah pleased to crush Him, to make Him sick, [so that] if He should put His soul as a guilt offering, He shall see [His] seed; He shall prolong [His] days; and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand. He shall see [the fruit] of the travail of His soul; He shall be fully satisfied. By His knowledge the righteous One, My Servant, shall justify for many, and He shall bear their iniquities. Because of this I will divide to Him with the great, and with the strong He shall divide the spoil; because He poured out His soul to death; and [He] was numbered with those transgressing; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for those transgressing" (Isa. 53:3-12). "But I [am] a worm, and no man; a reproach of mankind, and despised by the people. All who see Me scornfully laugh at me; they open the lip; they shake the head, [saying], He rolled on Jehovah, let Him deliver Him; let Him rescue Him, since He delights in Him ... Many [bulls] have circled around Me, strong [bulls] of Bashan have surrounded Me. They opened their mouth on Me, [like] a lion ripping and roaring. I am poured out like waters, and all My bones are spread apart; My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and My tongue clings to My jaws; and You appoint Me to the dust of death; for dogs have encircled Me; [a] band of spoilers have hemmed Me in, piercing My hands and My feet. I count all My bones; they look, they stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and they made fall a lot for My clothing" (Psa. 22:6-18). "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us; for it has been written, Cursed [is] everyone having been hung on a tree" (Gal. 3:13). "so Christ having been once offered to bear [the] sins of many ..." (Heb. 9:28) "For you were called to this, for even Christ suffered on our behalf, leaving behind an example for us, that you should follow His steps; who did not sin, nor was guile found in His mouth; who, having been reviled, did not revile in return; suffering, He did not threaten, but gave [Himself] up to Him who [was] judging righteously; who Himself carried up in His body our sins onto the tree, that dying to sins, we might live to righteousness, of whom by His wound you were healed" (1 Pet. 2:21-24).
With these precious truths in mind, we who are God's people must "go forth to Him outside the camp bearing His reproach" (Heb. 13:13). What does this mean? Does this mean that we, too, are to have sins imputed to us and to bear these sins on the cross outside the camp? Of course not. It would be blasphemous to say that God commands us to do this. What, then, does going forth to Christ outside the camp bearing Christ's reproach mean? Here we get into another reason why Christ was despised, rejected, and reproached - specifically, how it relates to our being despised, rejected, and reproached as followers of Christ.
Why was Jesus Christ persecuted? John 7:3-7 gives the reason: "Then His brothers said to Him, Move away from here and go to Judea, that Your disciples will also see Your works which You do, for no one does anything in secret and himself seeks to be in public. If You do these things, reveal Yourself to the world. For His brothers did not believe into Him. Then Jesus said to them, My time is not yet here, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you; but it hates Me because I witness about it, that its works are evil." Why did the Jews, if they were following the Law regarding what to throw and burn and kill outside the camp (mentioned at the beginning of this article), consider Jesus Christ to be one who deserved to be outside the camp? Why did they consider Him to be unclean, defiled, worthy of death? Why did they revile and reproach Him? We must first realize that these were Jews who were self-righteous religionists. They had perverted the Law of God into a way of gaining or maintaining favor with God. Instead of looking to Christ and His righteousness as the only ground of acceptance before God, as making the only difference between salvation and damnation, they believed and taught that their own efforts were the ground of acceptance before God and were what made the difference between salvation and damnation. As Romans 9:31-32 says, "but Israel following after a Law of righteousness did not arrive at a law of righteousness? Why? Because [it was] not of faith, but as of works of Law. For they stumbled at the Stone-of-stumbling." That Stone-of-stumbling was Jesus Christ, who declared that He was the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). These self-righteous religionists stumbled at the doctrine that the work of Jesus Christ alone is what forms the ground of salvation -- His work alone is what makes the difference between salvation and damnation. The imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ is the only righteousness that God accepts for salvation. "For Christ [is] the end of Law for righteousness to everyone that believes" (Rom. 10:4). This caused the self-righteous Jews to stumble at Christ, the Stone-of-stumbling and the Rock-of-offense. They were offended that Jesus Christ counted their works as nothing, as dung. They were offended that He called them unbelievers based on the false doctrine of salvation conditioned on the sinner that they believed. They were offended that He would dare say that those who were trying their best to live righteous lives, those who were looked up to by the community as being the most devout and holy men, were lost, and their deeds were evil. They were offended that He would not speak peace to them and did not fellowship with them. They were so offended that they counted Him as the scum of the earth, defiled material to be thrown outside the camp.
Here we see clearly why the world hated, and continues to hate, Jesus Christ: He charged, testified, bore record, that the world's deeds, no matter how outwardly righteous they seemed, were evil. He did not speak peace to them. He showed that every person who believes in salvation conditioned on the sinner is wicked. He told the self-righteous religionists in John 8:44 that they were of the devil as father. He told them in Matthew 23 that they were sons of Hell, that they were fools and blind, that they were hypocrites, that they were serpents and offspring of vipers. This showed that He was not of the world, and the world hated Him for it. Notice that Jesus Christ told His unbelieving brothers in John 7:7 that the world cannot hate them. Why? John 15:18-21 answers this question and tells why the followers of Christ are persecuted: "If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before [it has hated] you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. Remember the Word which I said to you, A slave is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted Me, they also will persecute you. If they kept My Word, they also will keep yours. But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know the [One] who sent Me." The world cannot hate unbelievers because unbelievers are of the world, and the world loves its own. The world hates and persecutes believers because the world hates Jesus Christ, and believers are one with Jesus Christ. When we encounter hatred from unbelievers, it is because these unbelievers hate Christ. If we were of the world, if we were unbelievers, if we spoke peace to the world, the world would love us. If we were unbelievers, we would be loved by the world. And since we are one with Christ, not only does the world hate us like they hated Christ, but they hate us for the same reason they hated Christ. We suffer with Christ because we are one with Christ in telling the world that they are lost and their deeds are evil! This is why we are hated on account of the name of Christ. This wicked world hates being told that its deeds are evil. And they hate it so much that they will persecute the ones who tell them this.Notice that the camp that is being spoken of in Hebrews 13 is not the camp of the irreligious world. It is the camp of zealous, moral, religious people. These are the people who hated and persecuted Jesus Christ. And these are the people who hate and persecute the followers of Jesus Christ. How do we as followers of Jesus Christ bear Christ's reproach? We bear the same reproach Christ bore, because we tell the self-righteous religionists the same thing Christ told them. For example, we tell those who believe in universal atonement that they do not believe that it is the work of Jesus Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation, and we tell them that they are lost and their deeds are evil. We tell those who speak peace to these God-haters that they are lost and their deeds are evil. And because of this, we are persecuted.
Persecution takes many forms. This persecution may take the form of physical acts or of words. Jesus Christ summed it up in Matthew 5:10-12: "Blessed [are] they who have been persecuted for righteousness' sake! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are you when they shall reproach you, and persecute [you], and shall say every evil word against you, lying, on account of Me. Rejoice and leap for joy, for your reward is great in Heaven; for in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." The Greek word for "to reproach" means "to defame," "to rail at," "to chide," "to taunt," "to upbraid," "to berate." The Greek word for "to persecute" means "to pursue," "to press toward." The phrase "every word against you, lying," speaks of slander, of false accusation. This is what the self-righteous religionists did to the prophets, this is what they did to Jesus Christ, and this is what they do to the followers of Jesus Christ.
Consider how the followers of Christ are persecuted (and what is to be our attitude) in the following verses: "Until the present hour we also hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and wander homeless, and labor, working with our own hands. Being cursed, we bless; persecuted, we bear; being defamed, we entreat. We have become as filth of the world, dirt wiped off by all until now" (1 Cor. 4:11-13). "But if you truly suffer because of righteousness, blessed [are you]. But do not fear their fear, nor be disturbed. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always [be] ready to [give] an answer to everyone asking you a reason concerning the hope in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that while they speak against you as evildoers, they may be shamed, those falsely accusing your good behavior in Christ. For [it is] better, if the will of God wills [it], to suffer [for] doing good than [for] doing evil" (1 Pet. 3:14-17). "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not from us; in every [way] being troubled, not being hemmed in; being perplexed, but not utterly at a loss; being persecuted, but not being forsaken; being thrown down, but not having been destroyed; always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body, that also the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body. For we who live are always being delivered up to death on account of Jesus, that also the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh; so that death indeed works in us, and life in you" (2 Cor. 4:7-12). "[We are] not giving a cause of stumbling, in nothing, that the ministry may not be blamed, but in everything commending ourselves as God's servants, in much patience, in afflictions, in emergencies, in difficulties, in stripes, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, in [the] Word of truth, in [the] power of God, through the weapons of righteousness on the right [hand] and on the left, through glory and dishonor, through evil report and good report; as deceivers, and [yet] true; as unknown, and [yet] well known, as dying, and [yet], look, we live; as flogged, and [yet] not put to death; as grieved, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet enriching many; as having nothing, yet possessing all things" (2 Cor. 6:3-10). "And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will rather gladly boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me. Because of this, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in dire needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for the sake of Christ. For when I may be weak, then I am powerful" (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
Because we tell the God-hating religionists the truth that they are lost and their deeds are evil, because we will not speak peace when there is no peace, we are slandered, reproached, berated, reviled, condemned, defamed, attacked, mocked, denigrated, derided, scorned, ridiculed, disparaged, insulted, mistreated, abused, taunted, and scoffed at; we are treated as unclean, corrupt, defiled, filthy, polluted, foul, dirty, disgusting, loathsome, and vile. The self-righteous religionists warn others about us, call us cultic, schismatic, mean, and unloving, and make all kinds of blatantly false accusations against us. We bear the reproach of Christ.
Part of our oneness with Christ is suffering with Christ. "And if children, also heirs; truly heirs of God, and joint-heirs of Christ, if indeed we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together" (Rom. 8:17). Before we are glorified together, we must suffer together. It is not an option. It is not something believers can skip over and go right to being glorified together with Christ in heaven. If there is not suffering, then this shows that there is no oneness with Christ. If Christ suffered, and we are one with Christ, then we suffer together with Christ. If there is no suffering, then this shows that there is no joint-heirship. Our suffering is evidence of our joint-heirship with Christ. And we rejoice that we are sharers in the sufferings of Christ. "Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial happening among you for your testing, as [if] a surprise [were] occurring to you; but according as you share the sufferings of Christ, rejoice; so that you may rejoice exultingly at the revelation of His glory" (1 Pet. 4:12-13).
Notice what Paul says is an inevitable proof of salvation: "Only behave yourself worthily of the gospel of Christ, so that whether coming and seeing you or being absent, I hear the things concerning you, that you stand fast in one spirit and one soul, striving together in the faith of the gospel, and not being terrified in anything by those who oppose, which to them truly is a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and this from God; because it was granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on His behalf, having the same struggle which you saw in me and now hear [to be] in me" (Phil. 1:27-30). What Paul says about the Philippian believers in verse 29 is true for all believers. It is granted to us not only to believe in Christ, but also to suffer for Christ. Suffering is just as much an inevitable fruit of regeneration as belief is.
Let us now dwell on coming out of the camp and going forth to where Christ is, outside the camp. When God saves a sinner who has been a part of a self-righteous religion, whether it be Arminian or Calvinist or Roman Catholic or Jewish or Muslim or Buddhist or Hindu or any other false religion, that person will leave the camp of false, self-righteous religion, go outside the camp to Jesus Christ, and remain there, bearing the reproach of Christ. He will not stay in the camp of self-righteous religion.
"Do not be unequally yoked [with] unbelievers. For what partnership does righteousness [have] with lawlessness? And what fellowship does light [have] with darkness? And what agreement does Christ [have] with Belial? Or what part does a believer [have] with an unbeliever? And what agreement does a temple of God [have] with idols? For you are a temple of [the] living God, even as God said, I will dwell in them and walk among [them], and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Because of this, come out from among them and be separated, says [the] Lord, and do not touch [the] unclean thing, and I will receive you. And I will be a Father to you, and you will be sons and daughters to Me, says [the] Lord Almighty" (2 Cor. 6:14-18).
Believers come out and are separated from lawlessness, darkness, Belial, unbelievers, and idols. This is a mark of the sons and daughters of the Lord. They will not have any partnership, any fellowship, any agreement, any part with their former religion or with any religion of salvation conditioned on the sinner.
"And after these things I saw another angel coming down out of Heaven having great authority, and the earth was lighted up from his glory. And he cried in a strong, great voice, saying, Babylon the great has fallen! It has fallen, and it has become a dwelling-place of demons, and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean bird, even having been hated, because of the wine of the anger of her fornication which all the nations have drunk, even the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her; and the merchants of the earth became rich from the power of her luxury. And I heard another voice out of Heaven saying, My people, come out of her, that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues; because her sins joined together, even up to Heaven, and God remembered her unjust deeds" (Rev. 18:1-5).
Believers come out of the Great Harlot that whores with the world. They have no fellowship with the hated unclean spirits and unclean birds. When God saves them, they separate themselves from the Whore Church of which they used to be a part. For if they stayed in the Whore Church, they would share in her sins, the sins of spiritual whoredom, and would suffer the judgment that is reserved for those who stay in the Great Harlot. And this is something that is impossible for believers to do.
Notice that believers COME OUT from the camp of false religion - they COME OUT from lawlessness, from darkness, from Belial, from unbelievers, from idols, from the Great Harlot. They DO NOT do either of the following two things:
(1) Believers DO NOT remain in the camp to reform the camp. Hebrews 13:13 does not say, "So let us reform the camp, bearing His reproach." 2 Corinthians 6:17 does not say, "Because of this, reform and clean up the unclean thing, says the Lord, and I will receive you." Revelation 18:4 does not say, "And I heard another voice out of Heaven, saying, My people, reform her, that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues." The churches of self-righteous religion, the synagogues of Satan, the assemblies of the Great Whore, are not to be reformed. They are to be separated from. When God saves a believer who was part of a self-righteous church, that believer is to run away from that church as fast as he can. He is not to say, "Well, I stayed around in the church to see if I could change it." Belial, the Great Whore, cannot be changed, cannot be reformed. It is a den of vipers.
(2) Believers DO NOT remain in the camp to bring Christ into the camp. Hebrews 13:13 does not say, "So let us bring Christ from outside the camp into the camp, bearing His reproach, so He can come forth to us inside the camp." 2 Corinthians 6:17 does not say, "Because of this, bring Christ in to the temple of idols, says the Lord, and I will receive you." Revelation 18:4 does not say, "And I heard another voice out of Heaven, saying, My people, bring Me into her, that you may not share in her sins, and that you may not receive of her plagues." Christ is outside the churches of self-righteous religion, the synagogues of Satan, the assemblies of the Great Whore. When God saves someone from a self-righteous church, the believer does not bring Christ into that church; instead, the believer goes out of that church to where Christ is. The believer is not to say, "Well, I stayed around in the church so I could bring Christ to the lost people there." The only way for any of those lost people to see Christ is for the believer to leave that church and to witness to the lost people from outside the self-righteous church.
Does this mean that a believer is never to preach the gospel in the place where self-righteous religionists assemble? By no means. Paul went into the synagogues on the Sabbaths to reason with the self-righteous religionists, preaching Christ to them (Acts 17:2-3; 18:4,19; 19:8). In this manner, he brought the gospel of Christ into the camp, and this is certainly something that a believing man may do. But notice that Paul came in as an outsider. Paul had already come out of the camp of self-righteous religion when God saved him, and when he went into the synagogues, it was not to fellowship with or to be a part of the self-righteous assemblies; it was to proclaim the gospel to them. He did not worship with them. He did not speak peace to them. He did not call them brothers in Christ. He was not a member of their assemblies. He was there as an evangelist going into a place of darkness, just as he went to the Areopagus to preach the gospel to the idolaters in Acts 17. When someone who is part of a self-righteous assembly is converted, he does not remain a part of that assembly; he comes out of that assembly and has no part with that assembly, although he may later on go into the places where the self-righteous worship their false god in order to proclaim the gospel to them.
Consider the following scenario: A man is in a Calvinist church that considers at least some universal atonement advocates to be saved. This church is obviously part of the Great Whore, committing spiritual harlotry with God-haters. If God saves this man, what is this man going to do? Since this man now believes the gospel, he knows that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Thus, he knows that universal atonement is a false gospel, and he will not speak peace to universal atonement advocates. And he will realize that this church that speaks peace to universal atonement advocates does not believe the same gospel he does. He will realize that Christ is not in that church. He will leave that church, telling that church that it is a false church. He will go outside the camp where Christ is.
What will happen then? He will bear the reproach of Christ. He will be persecuted, as we have seen earlier. He will be called schismatic, cultic, unloving, narrow-minded, intolerant, fanatical, dogmatic, pharisaical, self-righteous, perfectionistic, ad nauseam. He will be hated like Christ was hated, because he, like Christ, tells the self-righteous religious world that they are lost and their deeds are evil. He will be slandered and maybe even threatened. His reputation will be impugned, and people will attempt to defame and destroy him. This is the cost of coming outside the camp where Christ is. In fact, Paul says in 2 Timothy 3:12, "And, indeed, all desiring to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted." Is Paul talking about the irreligious world persecuting the Christians in this passage? Look at the context: "... having a form of godliness, but denying the power of it; even turn away from these." (2 Tim. 3:5). These are people with a form of godliness! "They will put you out of [the] synagogue, but an hour is coming that everyone killing you will think to bear a service before God. And they will do these things to you because they do not know the Father nor Me" (John 16:2-3). These religious people will think, by persecuting the ones they thought were heretics, that they are doing God a service! This is exactly what they thought when they crucified Jesus outside the camp. They were following God's Law by putting the unclean thing to die outside the camp. They thought they were doing God a service by killing this One whom they called a blasphemer. And we who are believers are to follow Christ outside the camp and thus bear the reproach that He bore. When they persecute us, they believe that they are doing it in the name of the true God and even defending the true religion.
Does going outside the camp mean that believers are to totally withdraw themselves from the world and never interact with anyone but believers? By no means. "I wrote to you in the letter not to associate with fornicators; and not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or with plunderers, or with idolaters, since then you must go out of the world. But now I wrote to you not to associate intimately; if anyone is called a brother [and is] either a fornicator, or a covetous one, an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or a plunderer, with such a one not to eat" (1 Cor. 5:9-11). Does going outside the camp mean that believers are not to be a part of any assembly whatsoever and are to just worship alone? By no means. It is the duty of believers to assemble together for worship and fellowship: "And let us consider one another, to incitement of love and good works, not forsaking the assembling together of ourselves, as [is the] custom of some, but exhorting, and by so much more as you see the Day drawing near" (Heb. 10:24-25). When God saves a believer, that believer will have a desire to find other believers with whom to worship. He will realize that corporate worship is a command, not an option. But he will not compromise in order to find a place of corporate worship. He will not just find "the best place available," even if the "best place" is an assembly of self-righteous religionists who are "closer to the truth" than the rest of the assemblies in the area. He will seek out true believers, and the true believers are outside the camp of false religion. If you, the reader, are such a person, then you will diligently look for other true believers with whom to worship, since you take the command for corporate worship seriously. If your first choice is to live where you are, then you need to do an extensive search within a reasonable driving radius to see if there is a true church in your area. If you cannot find an established church, then you need to search for other believers in your area (including advertising like classified ads, posting posters, etc.) to see if you can form a fellowship. If none of these works out, then you need to find a place or places where at least one other known believer is and move to one of those places. In the electronic age, the internet is the most efficient way. Since we are in times in which there are relatively few believers that are scattered around the world, it is not always possible to move to a place where there is an established church with all its components (e.g., elders, deacons, etc.). You should be in a place where you can assemble with at least one other believer on a regular basis, since "where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in their midst" (Mat. 18:20).
Let us sum up Hebrews 13:10-13: "We have an altar of which those serving the tabernacle have no authority to eat. For of the animals [whose] blood is brought by the high priest into the [Holy of] Holies concerning sins, of these the bodies are burned outside the camp. Indeed, because of this, in order that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, Jesus suffered outside the gate. So let us go forth to Him outside the camp bearing His reproach."
Those serving the tabernacle, those self-righteous religionists who believe that their works form some part of the ground of their salvation, have no authority or right to eat at the altar at which we eat. Those who condition salvation on themselves have no place eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ. Those who boast in themselves have no place with those who boast in the cross of Christ. We have nothing to do with those who believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. We do not fellowship with them. We tell them that they are lost and their deeds are evil. And when we tell them that salvation is conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone and that those who condition salvation on themselves have no place with us, when we expose their best efforts as evil and wicked, what do they do? They do to us just as they did to Christ. They counted Christ as unclean, as refuse, and as a reproach. They crucified Him outside the city, outside of their self-righteous rituals and religion. And since we are one with Christ, we, too, go outside the camp of self-righteous religion and bear the reproach that Christ bore. There is no salvation inside the camp of self-righteous religion. Inside the camp of self-righteous religion, you will find those who condition salvation on themselves and those who commit spiritual whoredom with them. You also will not find persecution for Christ's sake. The blood of Christ is not there. The suffering of Christ is not there. It is all the empty religion of God-haters. But those of us who are one with Christ, who are joint-heirs with Christ, are the ones who go outside the camp where Christ is, because outside the camp is where the blood of Christ is, where salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone is, where boasting in self is excluded. Only those outside the camp are one with Christ. Only those outside the camp are sanctified by the blood of Christ. If you are not outside the camp, you are lost. You are still in your filthy rags of self-righteousness.
As an integral part of being one with Christ outside the camp, we bear the reproach of Christ. Outside the camp is where suffering is, where persecution is, bearing the persecution that Christ bore. And, as we bear the reproach of Christ outside the camp, we rejoice that we are one with Christ in His suffering and that we will be one with Christ in glory. Let us bear Christ's reproach joyfully as we abide with Him outside the camp, looking forward to that blessed hope in which we will be free to sinlessly praise our God and Savior who went outside the camp on our behalf.