Saturday, March 26, 2011

Outside the Camp

"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."  Hebrews 13:13-14

We are to go to Jesus outside the camp.  Why?  

To be with Jesus.   

We don't seek to avoid reproach by staying inside the camp.  But we also don't seek out reproach for its own sake.  We bear the reproach for the sake of being with Christ.  

"Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.  For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ" Philippians 3:8

The first sign of the new birth, and the first step of discipleship is the recognition of the infinite value of gaining Christ.  When we see that Jesus is the pearl of great price and the treasure hidden in the field (Matt 13:44,46), we will willingly surrender everything we have for the sake of the surpassing value of knowing Him and being His.

"So therefore any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple."  Luke 14:33

Yes we renounce all that we have -- but we renounce it for the sake of Christ!  

The desire to be with Christ is very direct.  We don't pursue Jesus in order to gain salvation as something separate.  We pursue Jesus because knowing Him is salvation.  We don't pursue Jesus in order to gain eternal life.  We pursue Him because He is eternal Life.

Jesus is not a means to attain other goals.  He is the goal.  When we are asked to bear reproach for the sake of Jesus it strips away our self-deception and allows us to see any ways in which we are still seeking to use Jesus to attain other goals.

We also don't bear reproach as a means of paying for the privilege of knowing Christ.  The value of Christ is so high that no sacrifice or reproach can even weigh in the balances.  Rather, it's the height of foolishness to seek to avoid reproach if doing so will keep us from Christ.
What is this, Lord Jesus, that Thou shouldst make an endOf all that I possess, and give Thyself to me?So that there is nothing now to call my ownSave Thee; Thyself alone my Treasure.Taking all, Thou givest full measure of ThyselfWith all things else eternal --Things unlike the mouldy pelf by earth possessed.But as to Life and godliness, all things are mine,And in God's garments dressed I am;With Thee an heir to riches in the spheres divine.Strange, I say, that suffering loss,I have so gained everything in gettingMe a friend who bore a Cross."-- Jim Elliott's Diaries, Oct 9, 1948 
Lord, give us this day eyes to see your surpassing greatness and goodness.