Bearing His Reproach

Hebrews 13:7-17 NKJV

This portion of the letter starts and ends the same- Remember them who have the rule over you — rather the guides who have spoken unto you the word of God — Remember who they were, and your obligations to them; and do not forget their instructions and their examples. This may refer to James the brother of John, commonly called the first bishop of Jerusalem, both of whom had been put to death before this epistle was written; whose faith follow — Embrace by faith the same doctrines, precepts, and promises of the gospel which these men of faith embraced; and let your faith be assured, alive, and operative as theirs was, purifying your hearts, and rendering your lives fruitful to the glory of God; considering the end of their conversation consider the manner in which they left this life;  and let the remembrance of these things engage you to retain their faith, and courageously to follow their steps in bearing the reproach of Christ. You see, James was the first apostle to be martyred for Christ.

Acts 12:1-2 NKJV
It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. (cut off his head)

The letter goes on: Jesus Christ the same yesterday. He is unchangeable. The design of this acknowledgement is to encourage these Hebrew believers to persevere by showing that their Savior was always the same. He who had sustained His people in former times, was the same still, and would be the same forever. Perseverance is founded on the “immutability” of our Redeemer. If He were fickle, vacillating, changing in his character and plans; if today He aids his people, and tomorrow will forsake them; if at one time He loves the virtuous, and at another equally loves the vicious; if He formed a plan yesterday which he has abandoned today; or if He is ever to be a different being from what He is now, there would be no encouragement to our effort. Who would know what to depend on? Who would know what to expect tomorrow? For who could have any certainty that he could ever please a capricious or a vacillating being? Who could even know how to shape his conduct if the principles of God were not always the same?

Vs 9. Be not carried away rather than carried about by divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats. From the exhortation to imitate the faith of the departed leaders, the transition is natural to warnings against being carried away from it by new teachings. The faith remains unchanged, as Jesus Christ remains unchanged.

Galatians 1:6-9NKJV I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert[a] the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be [b]accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

1 Timothy 4:1-3 NKJV Now the Spirit [a]expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

These passages refer to Jewish distinctions, still held to by Jewish Christians, between dean and unclean or polluted meats; and further to a new kind of religious self-discipline, not found in the Old Testament, but based on a “new revelation”, which led to abstaining from eating meat and as the above mentions, marriage. The warning is that the true gospel does not consist in any of these notions or observances:

“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Romans 14:17). NKJV


You have to remember this letter was written to Jewish Christians who understood Judaism and the laws of atonement. The writer goes on to say, “We have an altar”. By which is meant of Christ himself, who is the altar, sacrifice, and priest; He was typified in the OT by the altar of the burnt offering, and the sacrifice that was offered upon it. The altar was made of Shittim wood, and covered with brass, denoting the incorruptibleness, duration, and strength of Christ: the horns of it, at the four corners, were for refuge; whoever fled to it, and laid hold on them, were safe. Christ is a refuge to His people, that come from the four corners of the earth; and who believe in Him, and lay hold on Him, are preserved and protected by His power and grace. Whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle; of this altar privilege all Jews or Judaizing Christians, who adhered to the Mosaical administration of the covenant in meats and ceremonies, have no lawful right to partake; they cannot have this honor while they cleave to the religious rites and sacrificial ceremonies, because they deny the altar, who is Christ, reject the Son of God, and are in it rejected by Him.

Verses 11, 12. – For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the High Priest for sin are burned without the camp. Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate. The allusion is to the sin offerings on the Day of Atonement – the bullock for the high priest, and the goat for the people.

Leviticus 16:27 NKJV The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place, shall be carried outside the camp. And they shall burn in the fire their skins, their flesh, and their offal.

This part of the ceremony completed the Day of Atonement. It not only typified  the entire removal of sin from the congregation; it also signified that the Law itself made none, not even the priests, partakers in such complete atonement. Christ fulfilled the first significance of this type by suffering “without the gate;” the Jews, in casting him out from their midst, were the unconscious instruments of his so fulfilling the law. He thus bear and took away the sins of all outside the holy city which represented the Israel of God. The goats offered on the Day of Atonement neither people nor priest were allowed to eat. The victims for the Day of Atonement were a bullock and two young goats for sin-offerings, and two rams for burnt-offerings. Only one goat, chosen by lot, was slain; the other served as the scape-goat. The blood of the bullock and of one of the goats was carried into the sanctuary and sprinkled upon the mercy-seat, and afterward on the horns of the great altar outside; and the bodies of the slain animals were burned in a clean place outside of the camp. (Go read Lev 16)

The sin-offering was burned without the camp. Jesus who in all other points fulfilled the law of atonement fulfilled it in this point also, in that He suffered outside the city

John 19:20 NKJV Then many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

Jesus suffered without the gates of Jerusalem, upon Mount Calvary, where skulls and bones of cursed creatures were scattered; as the expiatory sacrifices (the sacrifice which had power to atone) were burnt without the camp. As the high priest carried the expiatory blood into the holiest of all, on the day of atonement; so Christ with his own blood entered the holiest in heaven, and by it obtained pardon of sin, peace with God, and renewing by the Holy Ghost, for all people who repent, believe, and will come unto God by Him. Therefore, those who will still Judaize, have no right to eat of his sacrifice, no more than of the expiatory one, which was wholly burnt: so that they were not to be justified by meats and ceremonies, but by the blood of Christ alone.

John 1:29 NKJV The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!

Romans 3:24-25 NKJV being justified [a]freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God set forth as a [b]propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood The thought is the same as that of 

Titus 2:14, NKJV Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people.

Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp – As if we were going forth with Him when he was led away to be crucified. He was put to death as a malefactor. He was the object of contempt and scorn. He was held up to derision, and was taunted and reviled on his way to the place of death, and even on the cross. To be identified with Him there; to follow Him; to sympathize with him; to be regarded as His friend, would have subjected one to similar shame and reproach. The meaning here is, that we should be willing to regard ourselves as identified with the Lord Jesus, and to bear the same shame and reproaches which he did. When he was led away amidst scoffing and reviling to be put to death, would we, if we had been there, been willing to be regarded as his followers, and to have gone out with him as his avowed disciples and friends? How many are there who profess to love Him when their life subjects them to no reproach?

There is a reference to Ex 33:7 “Moses took his tent and pitched it outside the camp, far from the camp, and called it the tabernacle of meeting. And it came to pass that everyone who sought the Lord went out to the tabernacle of meeting which was outside the camp”.

when the tabernacle was moved without the camp, which had become polluted by the people’s idolatry of the golden calves; so that “everyone who sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp”; a type of what these Hebrew Christians should do: come out of the carnal worship of Judaism (remember: at this time of the writing, many were seeking to return to Judaism because of the intense persecution they were receiving for following Christ) to worship God in spirit and in truth, and come out from all fleshly desires and carnality, worldly formalism, and mere sensuous worship, and know Jesus in His spiritual power apart from worldliness. Therefore, come out of the world and bear His reproach!

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 NKJV Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what [a]fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what [b]communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you[c] are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.17 Therefore “Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.” 18 “I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the Lord Almighty.”

Being set apart from the world doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, but we are not to indulge in the sinful activities of the world.  We are not to indulge in things that are contrary to the Word of God, like the fake Christians of this world who live like unbelievers. The world likes to get drunk and party, we shouldn’t. Intoxication and God do not mix.  The world is infatuated with materialism while others are in need. We don’t live like this. Christians don’t live in sin and things the Bible doesn’t condone.

God has chosen you out of the world to show His glory in you. Come out and bear His reproach. You’re in the world, but don’t be part of the world. Don’t follow the world’s desires and live like unbelievers, but walk like Jesus our Lord and Savior. Our holiness comes from Christ, in Him we are holy. We must allow our lives to reflect our appreciation and love for the great price that was paid for us on the cross of Jesus Christ.

Bearing his reproach– Bearing His cross as Simon of Cyrene

1 Peter 4:14 AMPC If you are censured and suffer abuse [because you bear] the name of Christ, blessed [are you—happy, fortunate, [a]to be envied, [b]with life-joy, and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of your outward condition], because the Spirit of glory, the Spirit of God, is resting upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.

 As He was excommunicated and insulted and made to bear His Cross of shame, so will you be, and you must follow Him out of the doomed world. It must be remembered that the Cross, an object of execration and disgust even to Gentiles, was viewed by the Jews with religious horror, since they regarded every crucified person as “accursed of God”

Deuteronomy 21:22-23 NKJV If a man has committed a sin deserving of death, and he is put to death, and you hang him on a tree, 23 his body shall not remain overnight on the tree, but you shall surely bury him that day, so that you do not defile the land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance; for he who is hanged is accursed of God.

Christians shared this reproach to the fullest extent. In fact, to be called a Christian in the first and second century was a despicable slant.  The most polished heathen writers, men like Tacitus, Pliny, Suetonius, spoke of the Christian faith as an “execrable,” “deadly,” and “malefic” superstition; Lucian alluded to Christ as “the impaled sophist;” and to many Greeks and Romans no language of scorn seemed too intense to describe Christ’s followers and their mode of worship. The Jews spoke of them as “Nazarenes,” “Epicureans,” “heretics,” “followers of the thing,” and most especially these Christians were known as “apostates,” “traitors,” and “renegades.” 

We are and will be known as the scum of the earth.

 1 Corinthians 4:12-13NKJV And we labor, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure; 13 being defamed, we [a]entreat. We have been made as the filth of the world, the offscouring of all things until now.

Matthew 10:25 NKJV It is enough for a disciple that he be like his teacher, and a servant like his master. If they have called the master of the house [a]Beelzebub, how much more will they call those of his household!

Ex: Billboard “Text to this number one word that you think about Christians”. DO you idolize the opinions of men? The world does not like us. The world will speak bad about us. The world does not understand us. Now, if you have a bad name among your brethren, there’s a problem.

Jude 3-4NKJV Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord [a]God and our Lord Jesus Christ.

I am out here contending! A few years ago, a relative asked me why I believed a certain way and why another believed a certain way about homosexuality and “love is love” and why do I even care. Because we are not the same. We both claim to follow Jesus, represent Him and His gospel. We cannot both be right. It is in these things my fellow saints that we will be a reproach to men

For we do not regard this as our final home, or our fixed abode, and we should be willing to bear reproaches during the short time that we are to remain here. The object of the writer is to comfort the Hebrew Christians on the supposition that they would be driven by persecution from the city of Jerusalem, and doomed to wander as exiles. He tells them that their Lord was led from that city to be put to death, and they should be willing to go forth also; that their permanent home was not Jerusalem, it is not in the world, but heaven, and they should be willing in this view to be exiles.

Going without the camp as believers in the virtue of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, and bearing His shame as those who seek to be identified with Him, we are brought near to God and are disposed to offer Him a sacrifice of praise and to share your goods with others. The verse is meant to remind them that sacrifices of well-doing and the free sharing of their goods are even more necessary than verbal gratitude unaccompanied by sincerity of action.

James 1:26-27 NKJV If anyone [a]among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion (religious service) before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. THUS- religious service includes coming out of the world and bearing His reproach.

James 2:14-17 NKJV What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

At the last supper, just before Jesus was crucified, He left instructions for the apostles:

John 13:34-35 NKJV A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

People will know His disciples by how we love and take care of each other. If HE meant the world would know us by how we love them, then this is His words here are in disagreement with His remarks that the world would hate us,

 John 15:18-19NKJV If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.

The section of the chapter begins and ends with a reference to the rulers of the Church: Remember your former leaders, and imitate their faith in how they bore the reproach of Christ; obey them that lead you now.

Submit yourselves.—The writer declares, “yield (to them)”! Be ready to comply with their requests. submit yourselves — To them with respect, even though their office should render it sometimes necessary for them to reprove you for your instances of misconduct, or to urge you to duties which you are averse to perform. Yield and give up to them your own will. As you see them being reproached for the name of Christ, submit yourself to them. As you see them going outside the camp, identifying with Him in His sufferings and pain, as you watch their conduct in the forgiveness of those who have wronged them and you regard the bad treatment of those who crucify them for preaching and holding firm to God’s Word—SUBMIT to their authority.

For they watch.—The Greek is emphatic: “For it is they that watch on behalf of your souls as having to give account.” for they watch for your souls with all zeal and diligence they guard and caution you against all danger; as they that must give an account.

Ezekiel 3:18 NKJV When I say to the wicked, ‘You shall surely die,’ and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.

Ezekiel 34:10 NKJV Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

That they may do it with joy. Be obedient and yielding to them, that they may do this (may watch for your souls) with joy and not sighing (or, groaning), for this would be unprofitable for you; if ye so live that they must watch over you with grief, this will both weaken their hands and bring on you God’s displeasure. No words could more powerfully present to members of the Church the motives for obedience to their spiritual leaders; and to these leaders themselves the ideal of their work and life, as men who are keeping watch for souls, either with rejoicing or with mourning, ever mindful of the account they must give to God for the flock which He entrusted to their care.

“He is not a good shepherd, who does not either rejoice over his flock or groan for them. The groans of other creatures are heard: how much more shall these come up into the ears of God! Whoever answers this character of a Christian pastor, may undoubtedly demand this obedience.” — John Wesley.

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