Breaking camp


We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. Hebrews 13:10

An altar is a place of slaughter. The lamb or bull that was brought in as a sacrifice for sin would be slain on the altar and the blood was spread around in various places as the priests were directed in the Law of Moses. The remainder of the blood was poured out at the base of the altar. Certain parts of the animal were designated as food for the priests, the rest was taken out and burned outside the camp. Only the priests were allowed to handle this activity.

Throughout this book, the writer of Hebrews has been comparing the work of the priests with that of Jesus, and showing how they are no longer necessary because of all that has been fulfilled in Christ coming, dying and rising again. He is the final High Priest. He is the reason for all this blood. His blood saves us all. Finally, and for all time.

So we have an altar that even the priests can’t access. They can’t access it because they do not recognize Jesus as their Messiah. So our altar is the cross (“place of slaughter”) and where is it? Outside the camp. That’s the whole point. Our High Priest is outside the camp. Our holy of holies is outside the camp, where the unwashed and unclean gather, because we are all dirty and we know it. We have come to get clean on a moment-by-moment basis. Like Marti likes to say, we sin/confess/get forgiven, sin/confess/get forgiven, sin/confess/get forgiven, sin/confess/get forgiven … and that takes about as much time to experience as it took to say it. 

Jesus had to go outside the camp to die. We go out there to live, and to bring the gospel of welcome to those don’t know that God isn’t mad anymore. We really will be more comfortable out there with sinners than inside with saints. Whatever made us think we were better than anybody?

One of the tragedies of the Christian subculture that flourished in the ‘80s and ‘90s and then became overly political in the new century, is that it pulled away from the world out of fear and tried to create an alternative world that was safe for the whole family. At that point we lost sight of what God left us here to do — to go outside the camp, bearing the disgrace Christ bore and inviting other sinners to come share in the banquet of forgiveness that has been spread before us.  

We’re not supposed to be setting up camp here anyway. We’ve gotten too comfortable. We are called outside the camp, “For here we do not have an enduring city” (Hebrews 13:14). Time to break camp and head outside.

This entry was posted in Christianity and politics, Dealing with sin, forgiveness, the gospel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Breaking camp

  1. John A Fagliano says:

    Today, I went out to breakfast. When I arrived there was a crowd of people gathered around something just outside the door. An elderly woman in a wheel chair had fallen down. Her chair had fallen off the curb. She was lying on top of an other elderly woman who was bleeding from the back of her head. Her blood was on her clothes, on her purse and on the ground. There were several restaurant employees outside. One was on the phone, another was holding a towel on the woman’s head to stop the bleeding. There was a bus which I guess had brought them to the restaurant. All around were other senior citizens, some in chairs watching. Just then, two police officers came on to the scene. Shortly after, the paramedics and a fire truck arrived. Watching from a distance, I could see both women were able to sit up, speak, and the woman with the head injury was able to explain how the accident happened. When it was clear everyone would be OK I went on into the restaurant for breakfast.

    When I went back outside nothing was still there. The chair, the women, the bus, the fire truck, the EMS vehicle and all the people were now gone. There was only one piece of evidence that something had happened there. The woman’s now dried up blood was still on the pavement.

    So today, and after reading today’s catch, I was thinking “What evidence is there that Jesus was here on earth?” It’s His blood on the ground. It’s the gift He left behind. He said He would shed it for the life of the world and the literal world, the earth, received it.

    Thank God he didn’t leave his blood inside a church building where only special saints could have access to it. Thank God it’s not something that can only be found in a church or on some special holy city or land. Instead it’s there on the ground for the whole earth to share. “Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World” So there is no longer any reason to fear the world.

  2. Toni Petrella says:

    I believe their was too much pressure trying to live by the law. We all hopefully are thankful for the Grace of God thru his Son Jesus for each of us to have salvation and eternal life. Trying to be inside frankly sounds a bit complicated and well we have enough of that already.

  3. Toni Petrella says:

    I already posted a statement so I will try again and most likely this one and the first will both be there.

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