Within the Holiest and Without the Camp

Hebrews 13:11‑13  •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 9
The accomplished work of Christ brings the believer as near as Himself to God; but it also entails our sharing His place without the camp. As a Christian I am now in Him before God, as He is in me before men; and the Holy Spirit is now given as power to enjoy the new privilege and to make good the new responsibility. He bears witness that Christ, having borne my sins in His own body on the tree, is now glorified and thus secures the same glory to the faithful as Forerunner for us who share meanwhile His reproach here below.
In neither way would God have it be a form of words but a living reality. We can hardly avoid apprehending, if we read scripture with the eye of the heart, how carefully our bright heavenly portion by and in Christ is assured before we are exhorted to take the fellowship of His sufferings as far as these can be shared. So we find in the Epistles to the Romans, and to the Corinthians; so to the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Colossians, the Philippians, as well as in the earlier letters to the Thessalonians. The Pastorals only confirm the same order; nor is it otherwise with the Epistle to the Hebrews or any other word of truth. For it flows necessarily from the glad tidings of salvation; and the grace of God in Christ forbids any different order. Redemption implies and enforces it. By grace were and are we saved through faith; but we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which were before-prepared that we should walk in them. And next to worship, the best service of Christ is to follow Him humbly and loyally in His rejection here below. “If any one serve Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there also shall be My servant: if any one serve Me, him shall the Father honor” (John 12:2626If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor. (John 12:26)). “Verily, verily I say to you, The bondman is not greater than his lord, nor the sent greater than he who sent him. If ye know these things, blessed are ye if ye do them” (John 13:16, 1716Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. 17If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. (John 13:16‑17)).
What can do greater spiritual mischief to the Christian than to regard these things as counsels of perfection, instead of the common portion of faith and life to God's glory, our own joy, and the help of others, especially in this day of levity and ease, of free intellectualism, or of sanctimonious form, only another form of unbelief?
Read how it is in the Epistle before us, though from the aim in hand not so elevated as those to the Ephesians and to the Colossians, etc. The Holy Spirit takes the utmost pains to mark our blessedness as Christians. God spoke to us in the Son, in all the fullness and finality of that divine Person, as compared with His many piecemeal communications to the fathers in the prophets. For the Son is Heir of all things, as He made the worlds and upholds all things by the word of His [the Son's] power (Heb. 1). Now the Son only set Himself down on the right hand of the Majesty on high after making the purification of the sins, otherwise irreparable, now cleansed by His blood. His personal glory is the strongest assurance of His perfect work, backed up by His present position at God's right hand, after He undertook their expiation. What a permanent and glorious proof to the believer of his purification!
So in chap. 2, as by the grace of God He tasted death for everything and will restore the universe by-and-by, in bringing many sons to glory it became God to perfect the leader of their salvation through sufferings, to annul the enemy that had the power of death, and thus set free from that fear; to make propitiation; and to help the tempted as One who Himself suffered being tempted. What care to show the fullness of blessing in our present weakness and exposure! And so it might be shown throughout.
But let us turn to chaps. 9, & 10. In chap. 9:12 it is declared that by His own blood He entered once for all the Holies, having found an everlasting redemption; and in chap. 10:10-14 this is applied in all its value to the Christian. “By which will (God's) we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” Compare vers. 11-14. Hence all brethren in the Lord are invited, as having boldness to enter in spirit where He is, both by His work and His priesthood to approach through the rent veil with a true heart and in full assurance of faith. But we are also exhorted in chap 13 to go forth to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.
Christianity denies the “via media,” which Israel took, inside the camp and outside the sanctuary. We are called like Christ to the extremes of blessing in heaven and of contempt on earth, to approach within the sanctuary and to go forth without the camp. Is this our faith, and our enjoyed privilege, and our happy experience? If not, what and where are we? With the Lord before us faith cannot think to make the best of both worlds, as some say. If we have Him for association with Himself even now on high, we are now also called to go forth to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach. Christians judaize sadly.