(Vs. 8) In Verse Seven Paul exhorts us to respect, acknowledge, and follow the faithful pastors and spiritual guides whom the Lord has been pleased to give to us. Consider the SUBJECT and OBJECT of their ministryJesus Christ, Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever. A faithful pastor will preach Christ. The goal of his life and ministry will be to know Christ. The glory of Christ is the object of his conversation and conduct.
1. Christ is the same in His glory, His offices, His purpose, and His work YESTERDAY (not the day immediately past but ancient times). In the beginning of the world He was the everlasting I AM, the Lamb slain, the surety of His people. In Old Testament times He was the substance of the sacrifices, the types, and the promises.
2. TODAY (under the gospel dispensation) in His person He is the God-man; in His offices He is Prophet, Priest, and King.
3. FOREVER He is the same, for He never dies. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and His priesthood an unchanging one. His love and care for His people never change (Mal. 3:6; Rom. 11:29; Phil. 1:6).
(Vs. 9) Let our hearts "be established with grace." There are three key words here.
1. HEART conviction, repentance, faith, and a right knowledge of Christ are heart works, not just mental acceptance of facts and doctrines (Rom. 10:9-10).
2. ESTABLISHED convinced, persuaded, and settled in our hearts regarding the righteousness of God and the way to God.
3. GRACE we understand that salvation, justification, and eternal happiness are the results of God's grace to us in Christ Jesus, not by deeds of the law nor works of the flesh (Titus 3:5-7; II Tim. 1:8-11).
Be not unsettled, tossed about, and carried away from this grace by the variety and multitude of strange doctrines which come your way from the lips of men. They are called "strange doctrines" because they are not taught in the Word of God, because they are not in agreement with the person and work of Christ, and because they are contrary to the doctrine of salvation by grace.
Those who are occupied with the ceremonial law, eating certain meats, keeping certain days, or engaging in certain ceremonies have not profited in their souls by such conduct. These things cannot sanctify, justify, establish the heart, nor give peace to the soul (Col. 2:16-22; Rom. 14:17).
(Vs. 10) The reference is to the eating of the sacrifice by the priests (Lev. 6:14-16). The sacrifice was offered, burned upon the altar, and eaten by the priests. We have an altar not the cross, nor the Lord's Table, nor a bench at the front of the church, but CHRIST HIMSELF. He is altar, sacrifice, and priest. We have the right to come to Christ and, therefore, to eat of His flesh and drink of His blood (John 6:53-57). Those who persist in being saved by works and duties of the law have no right to come to Christ (Gal. 5:2-4).
(Vs. 11-12) On the day of atonement the bullock and goat were slain and the blood was brought into the holy of holies and sprinkled on the mercy-seat to make an atonement. The bullock and goat were then taken outside the camp and burned (Lev. 16:15-17, 27-28).
In order to sanctify us with His blood and to fulfill this type of Himself, Christ was crucified outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem, which answered to the camp of Israel in the wilderness. The flesh, skin, and dung of the sin-offering were unclean before God and had to be carried outside the camp to be disposed of. Even the men who handled it were unclean. We see in this not only the suffering of our Lord for sin but the shame and reproach He endured as our sin-offering. Bearing our sins, He was unclean and must die outside the camp.
(Vs. 13) "Let us go forth therefore UNTO HIM without the camp." The key words here are "UNTO HIM." He is our sin-offering, our hope of redemption, and our Redeemer. WHERE HE IS, there we must be; whether in the camp or outside the camp, THERE ARE WE (John 14:3). In His shame and reproach He suffered without the camp. So, being one with Him, we quit the camp of ceremony, legalism, human works, worldliness, or whatever to be identified with our Lord. Whatever reproach we incur from the natural or religious world is welcomed, because we find in Him all we need (I Cor. 1:30; Col. 2:9-10).
(Vs. 14) The world and everything in it are unstable and temporary. The riches, honors, pleasures, the persons in it, and the fashion of it pass away. And though we are in this world, we are not of it; and when the will of God is done, we will be taken out of it to heaven where all is peace, perfect love, and eternal (I John 2:15-17).