Romans (L)

ROMANS 8:17b-18

(from a transcript of a sermon preached on 3/2/03 at Sovereign Redeemer Assembly)


Let's read Romans 8, verses 14 through 25:

Romans 8: (14) For as many as are led by [the] Spirit of God, these are sons of God. (15) For you did not receive a spirit of slavery again to fear, but you received a Spirit of adoption by which we cry, Abba! Father! (16) The Spirit Himself witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God. (17) And if children, also heirs; truly heirs of God, and joint-heirs of Christ, if indeed we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together. (18) For I calculate that the sufferings of the present time [are] not worthy [to compare to] the coming glory to be revealed in us. (19) For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. (20) For the creation was not willingly subjected to vanity, but through Him subjecting [it], on hope; (21) that also the creation will be freed from the slavery of corruption to the freedom of the glory of the children of God. (22) For we know that all the creation groans together and travails together until now. (23) And not only [so], but also we ourselves having the firstfruit of the Spirit, also we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly expecting adoption, the redemption of our body; (24) for we were saved by hope, but hope being seen is not hope; for what anyone sees, why does he also hope? (25) But if we hope for what we do not see, through patience we wait eagerly.

Two weeks ago, we saw the glorious and precious doctrines of adoption, sonship, and joint-heirship of believers in verses 14 through 17. We ended with the last part of verse 17, which says, "if indeed we suffer together, that we may also be glorified together." That's where I'd like to pick up today. The first part of the verse says that we are joint-heirs with Christ, meaning that we will be glorified together with Christ in heaven. We are ONE with Christ in our inheritance of glory. But our oneness with Christ does not only consist of our glorification in heaven. As we see in the last part of verse 17 and the first part of verse 18, our oneness with Christ ALSO consists of something that we experience BEFORE we get to heaven, BEFORE we are glorified together. And what is it that we experience as part of our oneness with Christ before we get to heaven? Before we are GLORIFIED together, we must SUFFER together. These are the "sufferings of the present time" as Paul says in verse 18.

The first thing that stands out is the NECESSITY of suffering. It's not an option. It's not something believers can skip over and go right to being glorified together with Christ in heaven. BEFORE there is glorification, there is SUFFERING. And if there is not SUFFERING, then this shows that there is no ONENESS with Christ. If CHRIST suffered, and we are ONE with Christ, then WE suffer TOGETHER with Christ. If there is no SUFFERING, then this shows that there is no joint-heirship. Look at how verse 17 is worded: "And if children, also heirs; truly heirs of God, and joint-heirs of Christ, IF INDEED we suffer together." If you are a joint-heir of Christ, you suffer together. If you suffer together, this shows you are a joint-heir of Christ. Our SUFFERING is evidence of our JOINT-HEIRSHIP. Do you see how essential suffering is? Let's look into what this suffering is.

One thing we know about this suffering is that Jesus suffered it, since we are said to be suffering TOGETHER with Christ. What did Jesus suffer? Jesus suffered PERSECUTION. Thus, our suffering together with Christ is our suffering of PERSECUTION together with Christ. Let's turn to John 15:18-21:

John 15: (18) If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before [it has hated] you. (19) If you were of the world, the world would love its own. But because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (20) Remember the Word which I said to you, A slave is not greater than his lord. If they persecuted Me, they also will persecute you. If they kept My Word, they also will keep yours. (21) But all these things they will do to you on account of My name, because they do not know the [One] who sent Me.

The first thing we see here is that the world, which means the ungodly, wicked world of unbelievers, HATES believers. That's where the persecution comes from; it comes from the unbelievers' HATRED of believers. The second thing we see here is that the world hates believers because the world hates Jesus Christ. Here is our oneness with Christ. When we encounter hatred from unbelievers, it is because these unbelievers hate Christ. The third thing we see is that if we were of the world, the world would love us. If we were unbelievers, we would be loved by the world. So here we see one of the marks of an unbeliever, and that is that the world loves them and does not hate them. If the world does not hate you, then you are not a believer. You are not one with Christ. The world HATES Christ and all who are in Christ. All who are one with Christ will suffer the outworkings of hatred from the world that Jesus Christ suffered. The fourth thing we see is that the world hates believers BECAUSE we are not of the world and have been chosen to come out from the world. Then in verse 20, we see that we, the slaves, are not above the suffering of our Master, Jesus Christ. If our Master, Jesus Christ, was persecuted, then we will be persecuted as well. Here we go from HATRED to PERSECUTION. HATRED is the THOUGHT of the wicked. PERSECUTION is the ACTION of the wicked, which includes both the words and physical movement of the wicked. In verse 21, we see that the wicked unbelievers will DO THINGS TO US, and these things that are DONE TO US will be on account of the name of Jesus Christ, because they do not know the One who sent Jesus Christ, namely, God the Father. Since the wicked do not KNOW God - since they are IGNORANT of the only true and living God - they HATE the one God sent, and they HATE all who believe in the one God sent. Okay. Do we have this clear? All who are NOT OF the wicked world WILL BE HATED and WILL BE PERSECUTED by the wicked world, and this persecution will be ON ACCOUNT OF THEIR HATRED OF JESUS CHRIST.

Now that we have this established, we need to go into WHY Jesus Christ was hated. Let's turn over to John 7:3-7:

John 7: (3) Then His brothers said to Him, Move away from here and go to Judea, that Your disciples will also see Your works which You do, (4) for no one does anything in secret and himself seeks to be in public. If You do these things, reveal Yourself to the world. (5) For His brothers did not believe into Him. (6) Then Jesus said to them, My time is not yet here, but your time is always ready. (7) The world cannot hate you; but it hates Me because I witness about it, that its works are evil.

Here we see clearly why the world hated, and continues to hate, Jesus. Jesus said to his unbelieving brothers, "The world CANNOT hate you." Why is that? Well, as we saw from John 15, it is because they were of the world, and the world loves its own. Then Jesus gives the reason why the world hates Him: "it hates Me because I witness about it, that its works are evil." There you go. There's the reason why the world hated Jesus Christ. He charged, testified, bore record, that the WORLD'S DEEDS WERE EVIL. He exposed the deeds of wicked men as being evil. He told the self-righteous religionists in John 8:44 that they were of the devil as father. He told them in Matthew 23 that they were sons of Hell, that they were fools and blind, that they were hypocrites, that they were serpents and offspring of vipers. This showed that He was not of the world, and the world hated Him for it. Now what does this have to do with us who are believers? Well, since we are ONE with Christ, not only does the world hate us like they hated Christ, but they hate us FOR THE SAME REASON they hated Christ. We suffer with Christ because we are ONE with Christ in telling the world that they are lost and their deeds are evil! THIS is why we are hated on account of the name of Christ. This wicked world HATES being told that its deeds are evil. And they hate it so much that they will PERSECUTE the ones who tell them this.

Related to this is 1 John 3:11-13. Let's go over there:

1 John 3: (11) Because this is the message which you heard from [the] beginning, that we should love one another, (12) not as Cain was of the evil one, and killed his brother. And for what did he kill him? Because his works were evil, but the things of his brother [were] righteous. (13) Do not marvel, my brothers, if the world hates you.

Here, John relates the world's hatred of believers to Cain's hatred of Abel. Why did Cain hate Abel and eventually kill Abel? Well, guess what - it's the SAME REASON why the world hated Jesus Christ! Verse 12 says that Cain killed Abel because Cain's works were evil and Abel's works were righteous. Abel's blood sacrifice, which was a mark of his belief in salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone, EXPOSED Cain's sacrifice as wicked. Cain brought the best he could offer, which was a non-bloody sacrifice of fruit, which was a mark of Cain's belief in salvation conditioned on his best efforts. Abel told Cain that Cain was lost and his deeds were evil. And Cain hated him for it. Abel was one with Christ and suffered persecution on account of Christ. We who are believers are like Abel, who tell unbelievers, even those bringing the best they have to offer, that they are wicked. In light of this, John says in verse 13 that we shouldn't marvel if the world hates us. It is only NORMAL for the world to hate those who expose its deeds as evil. If we DIDN'T expose the world's deeds, especially the self-righteous deeds of lost religionists, as evil, then the world would love us as its own, and we wouldn't be persecuted.

Let's now turn over to 2 Timothy 3:10-12:

2 Timothy 3: (10) But you have closely followed my doctrine, the conduct, the purpose, the faith, the long-suffering, the love, the patient endurance, (11) the persecutions, the sufferings, such as happened to me in Antioch, in Iconium, in Lystra, what persecutions I bore. And the Lord delivered me out of all. (12) And, indeed, all desiring to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Did you see that last verse? Let me read it again:

2 Timothy 3: (12) And, indeed, all desiring to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Really? Every believer? That's right. This confirms what Paul said in Romans 8 and what Jesus said in John 15. Those who are not persecuted are not Christians. If the world loves you, if the world doesn't hate you, if the world doesn't persecute you, then you have shown yourself to be of the world.

Now I can think of some things that might be going through some of our listeners' minds. In many cases, it doesn't LOOK like all unbelievers hate us. In fact, most of them are friendly. Almost all of them will tell us that they do NOT hate us. And where is this persecution? The unbelievers aren't doing to us like they did to Jesus. They're not plotting to kill us like they did with Jesus. Also, aren't believers to be friendly and kind to unbelievers? And when we are friendly and kind, the unbelievers don't look like they hate us; they look like they LIKE us. So what's all this hatred and persecution stuff about?

Well, what we need to realize is that persecution admits of DEGREES. There are many different degrees of persecution. Persecution does not only mean doing someone bodily, physical harm. And in many instances, especially in cases where the unbeliever knows he could get into big trouble if he threatened or carried out harm toward a believer, the persecution comes in other forms. Other forms include words and more subtle actions. Words can be ones of ridicule, where they are laughing at us, or they can be hostile, where they are angry at us, or they can be ones of defamation and slander, where they are lying about us. Actions can be as subtle as discrimination or as blatant as property damage. And even though some unbelievers won't do any of these things and might be smiling at us and doing nice things, he actually hates the Christ that we believe in and thus actually hates us. And this doesn't mean that we are to be mean or nasty to unbelievers; we are to be kind and considerate. But this does not change the fact that we are enemies and that we will be persecuted by unbelievers. In fact, as we are being persecuted, we do good in return. Let's turn over to 1 Corinthians 4:11-13:

1 Corinthians 4: (11) Until the present hour we also hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and wander homeless, (12) and labor, working with our own hands. Being cursed, we bless; persecuted, we bear; (13) being defamed, we entreat. We have become as filth of the world, dirt wiped off by all until now.

We are considered as the scum of the earth, but we still entreat and bless and bear.

Now since all believers will be persecuted, and persecution comes from telling unbelievers that they are lost and their deeds are evil, then let's go into what it means to tell unbelievers that they are lost and their deeds are evil. Now I'm not even going to come close to covering all the ways in which this is done, but I want to touch on some of the main ways. First and foremost, it is to proclaim the gospel of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone, saying that all who believe this gospel are saved, and all who do not believe this gospel are lost. It means going into detail about the difference between the true gospel and all false gospels. It means exposing unbelievers, both irreligious and religious, as wicked. It means being like Christ in reserving our harshest words for the self-righteous religionists. Let us take universal atonement advocates as an example, because these are the most common self-righteous religionists who come in the name of Christ. We tell them that the gospel is God's promise of salvation conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone. We tell them that all who believe the gospel believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. We tell them that all who believe the gospel believe that it is the work of Christ alone that ensures the salvation of all whom Christ represented on the cross. We expose their religion as a religion of salvation conditioned on the sinner by telling them that they do not believe that it is the work of Christ alone that makes the difference between salvation and damnation and that they do not believe that it is the work of Christ alone that ensures the salvation of all whom He represented on the cross. We tell them that the blood of their christ has no effect, that they trample underfoot the precious blood of the true Christ, and that they hate the true God and the true gospel. And when we have done this, we have experienced the hatred and persecution from these God-haters, haven't we? Then we go to the so-called "tolerant Calvinists." We show them that when they speak peace to the universal atonement advocates, they are participants in the evil deeds of these God-haters and are thus God-haters themselves. We show them that they really believe that efficacious atonement has no part in the gospel, thus exposing them as not believing the true gospel. We tell them that they hate the true God and the true gospel. We tell them that they are unregenerate agents of Satan. And when we have done this, we have experienced the hatred and persecution from these God-haters, haven't we?

So what is to be our attitude toward this persecution? Are we to be resentful that we are being persecuted? Are we to try not to be persecuted any more? Let's turn to Matthew 5:10-12:

Matthew 5: (10) Blessed [are] they who have been persecuted for righteousness' sake! For theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. (11) Blessed are you when they shall reproach you, and persecute [you], and shall say every evil word against you, lying, on account of Me. (12) Rejoice and leap for joy, for your reward [is] great in Heaven; for in this way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

What do we see about the nature of the persecution? We see that it consists of REPROACH and SAYING EVERY EVIL WORD against believers, LYING about them. And what do we see about those who are persecuted on account of Christ, whom the world hates because they tell the world that their deeds are evil? We first see that they are BLESSED OF GOD. Secondly, we see that the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is theirs. Thirdly, we see that they are to REJOICE and LEAP FOR JOY. Fourthly, we see that their reward is great in Heaven. And at the end, we see that in like manner, the wicked world persecuted the prophets before us. We who are persecuted have unity with the prophets of old who were persecuted. By the way, who were the ones who persecuted the prophets before us? Was it the heathen? No. Jesus said in Matthew 23:31 that the PHARISEES - the moral, religious, zealous RELIGIONISTS, were the sons of those who murdered the prophets. He said in Matthew 23:37 that JERUSALEM -- the very seat of religion, the religious leaders of the Jews -- were the ones who killed the prophets and stoned the ones sent to her. The prophets were persecuted by the SELF-RIGHTEOUS RELIGIONISTS! Jesus is talking here in Matthew 5 about persecution from RELIGIOUS PEOPLE! In fact, MOST persecution comes from self-righteous religionists who come in the name of true religion. We can testify to this, can't we? They will persecute us thinking they are doing God a service. And what we need to do is to REJOICE and LEAP FOR JOY! For this suffering is proof of our joint-heirship with Christ! Look over at Acts 5:41:

Acts 5: (41) Then they indeed departed from [the] presence of the sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were deemed worthy to be dishonored on behalf of His name.

The apostles REJOICED at being DISHONORED for the name of Jesus Christ. Is that our attitude?

Let's look at 1 Peter 3:14-17:

1 Peter 3: (14) But if you truly suffer because of righteousness, blessed [are you]. "But do not fear their fear, nor be disturbed. (15) But sanctify" the Lord God in your hearts, and always [be] ready to [give] an answer to everyone asking you a reason concerning the hope in you, with meekness and fear, (16) having a good conscience, that while they speak against you as evildoers, they may be shamed, those falsely accusing your good behavior in Christ. (17) For [it is] better, if the will of God wills [it], to suffer [for] doing good than [for] doing evil.

When we suffer for doing good, when we are slandered as evildoers, we are BLESSED. When people call our righteousness evil, we are shaming them for their slander. We are exposing their wickedness. And here's something to think about: Who would call believers evildoers? Would the secular humanists say that? For the most part, no. They're pretty averse to calling ANYTHING evil. Those who would be more likely to call us evil are RELIGIOUS people! Something to think about when we see passages that talk of the wicked calling us evil.

Let's turn to three passages in 2 Corinthians that talk about the Christian's attitude toward and during suffering.

2 Corinthians 4:7-12:

2 Corinthians 4: (7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the excellence of the power may be of God, and not from us; (8) in every [way] being troubled, not being hemmed in; being perplexed, but not utterly at a loss; (9) being persecuted, but not being forsaken; being thrown down, but not having been destroyed; (10) always bearing about the dying of the Lord Jesus in the body, that also the life of Jesus may be revealed in our body. (11) For we who live are always being delivered up to death on account of Jesus, that also the life of Jesus may be revealed in our mortal flesh; (12) so that death indeed works in us, and life in you.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10:

2 Corinthians 6: (3) [We are] not giving a cause of stumbling, in nothing, that the ministry may not be blamed, (4) but in everything commending ourselves as God's servants, in much patience, in afflictions, in emergencies, in difficulties, (5) in stripes, in imprisonments, in riots, in labors, in watchings, in fastings, (6) in pureness, in knowledge, in long-suffering, in kindness, in the Holy Spirit, in unfeigned love, (7) in [the] Word of truth, in [the] power of God, through the weapons of righteousness on the right [hand] and on the left, (8) through glory and dishonor, through evil report and good report; as deceivers, and [yet] true; (9) as unknown, and [yet] well known, as dying, and [yet], look, we live; as flogged, and [yet] not put to death; (10) as grieved, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet enriching many; as having nothing, yet possessing all things.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

2 Corinthians 12: (9) And He said to me, My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness. Therefore, I will rather gladly boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may overshadow me. (10) Because of this, I am pleased in weaknesses, in insults, in dire needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for the sake of Christ. For when I may be weak, then I am powerful.

These passages are very rich, and we don't have time to go into detail now, but I want you to notice several things about these passages. First, we see that these sufferings are not easy. We are troubled, perplexed, persecuted, thrown down, afflicted, dishonored, grieved, insulted, and distressed. Second, we see that these sufferings do not break us. We are not being hemmed in, not utterly at a loss, not having been destroyed; we live and rejoice and possess all things and are pleased. Third, the reason we are not broken by these sufferings is that God uses these things to strengthen us and to reveal Christ in us. We are delivered up to death so the life of Jesus may be revealed in us. The power of God is perfected in our weakness. And fourth, we identify with - we are one with - Christ when we suffer. We bear the dying of the Lord Jesus in our body.

Let's look more passages that deal with God's people suffering persecution.

Galatians 4:29:

Galatians 4: (29) But then, even as he born according to flesh persecuted the [one] according to Spirit, so [it is] also now.

As it was before, so it is now. Those who are in the flesh persecute those who are in the Spirit.

Philippians 1:27:

Philippians 1: (27) Only behave yourself worthily of the gospel of Christ, so that whether coming and seeing you or being absent, I hear the things concerning you, that you stand fast in one spirit and one soul, striving together in the faith of the gospel, (28) and not being terrified in anything by those who oppose, which to them truly is a proof of destruction, but to you of salvation, and this from God; (29) because it was granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer on His behalf, (30) having the same struggle which you saw in me and now hear [to be] in me.

What Paul says about the Philippian believers in verse 29 is true for all believers. It is granted to us not only to BELIEVE in Christ, but also to SUFFER for Christ. SUFFERING is just as much an inevitable fruit of regeneration as BELIEF is.

1 Thessalonians 1:6:

1 Thessalonians 1: (6) And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, welcoming the Word in much affliction with joy of [the] Holy Spirit.

Here we see three things that describe believers: They welcome the Word, which means that they believe God's Testimony; they are in much affliction, which means they are persecuted; and they have the joy of the Holy Spirit, which means that they are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, who causes them to rejoice at God's promise of salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone and to rejoice in their persecution.

2 Timothy 1:8:

2 Timothy 1: (8) Then do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor [of] me, His prisoner. But suffer hardship with the gospel, according to [the] power of God,

The hardship that is being suffered is over the GOSPEL. Those who do not suffer for the gospel are ashamed of God's Testimony. They are not so bold as to say that all who believe the gospel are saved and that all who do not believe the gospel are lost. They do not testify to the world that its deeds are evil.

Finally, let's look at two passages that profoundly show us our unity with Christ in suffering. The first one is the passage we read two weeks ago, which is 1 Peter 4:12-13:

1 Peter 4: (12) Beloved, do not be astonished at the fiery trial happening among you for your testing, as [if] a surprise [were] occurring to you; (13) but according as you share the sufferings of Christ, rejoice; so that you may rejoice exultingly at the revelation of His glory.

The first thing we see is that we are not to be astonished or surprised that we are suffering. This parallels the passage in 1 John that we read that says we are not to marvel if the world hates us. This shouldn't be a surprise to us. It shouldn't be something that comes to us unexpectedly. We should be expecting to be hated and persecuted. The second thing we see is that we are to rejoice, like we saw in Matthew 5 and Acts 5 and 2 Corinthians 6. And why is it that we are to rejoice? We see in verse 13 that we rejoice in suffering because it shows our ONENESS with Christ in HIS suffering! When we suffer persecution, we are SHARING in the sufferings of Christ! This is something to REJOICE over! Because we are sharing in the SUFFERINGS of Christ, we will also be sharing in our GLORIFICATION with Christ! As we rejoice in suffering, so we will rejoice exultingly when we are GLORIFIED with Christ! Verse 14 says that if we are reviled in the name of Christ, we are blessed, like we saw in Matthew 5 and 1 Peter 3. And we are BLESSED because this shows we are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. Again, we see that our persecution is a confirmation that we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit, that we are the sons of God, that we are one with Christ. And remember - it's not just ANY persecution. It's persecution over the GOSPEL, over not speaking peace when there is no peace, over telling the unregenerate, especially the unregenerate moral self-righteous religionists that they are lost and their deeds are evil. Look at the end of this verse. According to THEM - according to our enemies who persecute us - Christ is blasphemed. We see here again that this is specifically true about RELIGIONISTS who persecute us. Who other than religionists - specifically those who come in the name of Christ - would say that we are blaspheming Christ? And then look what it says about us: According to US - according to those of us who truly believe the gospel - Jesus Christ is glorified. What our enemies call evil, God calls good. When our enemies persecute us for being too judgmental, for calling them lost because they speak peace to God-haters, THEY believe that we are dishonoring Christ. But WE know the TRUTH, don't we. WE know that we are GLORIFYING Christ. We know that we have a holy ZEAL for the glory of God.

Now to the second passage, which is Hebrews 13:10-13:

Hebrews 13: (10) We have an altar of which those serving the tabernacle have no authority to eat. (11) For of the animals [whose] "blood is brought" by the high priest "into the [Holy of] Holies" concerning sins, of these the bodies "are burned outside the camp." (12) Indeed, because of this, in order that He might sanctify the people by His own blood, Jesus suffered outside the gate. (13) So let us go forth to Him outside the camp bearing His reproach.

Those serving the tabernacle, those self-righteous religionists who believe that their works form some part of the ground of their salvation, have no authority or right to eat at the altar at which we eat. Those who condition salvation on themselves have no place eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ. Those who boast in themselves have no place with those who boast in the cross of Christ. We have NOTHING TO DO with those who believe a false gospel of salvation conditioned on the sinner. They do not fellowship with us. We tell them that they are lost and their deeds of evil. And when we tell them that salvation is conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone and that those who condition salvation on themselves have no place with us, when we expose their best efforts as evil and wicked, what do they do? They do to us just as they did to Christ. They counted Christ as unclean, as refuse, as a reproach. They crucified Him outside the city, outside of their self-righteous rituals and religion. And since we are one with Christ, we, too, go outside the camp of self-righteous religion and bear the reproach that Christ bore. There is no salvation inside the camp of self-righteous religion. Inside the camp of self-righteous religion, you will find those who condition salvation on themselves and those who commit spiritual whoredom with them. You also won't find persecution for Christ's sake. The blood of Christ is not there. The suffering of Christ is not there. It is all the empty religion of God-haters. But those of us who are one with Christ, who are joint-heirs with Christ, are the ones who go OUTSIDE the camp where Christ is, because OUTSIDE the camp is where the blood of Christ is, where salvation conditioned on the work of Christ alone is, where boasting in self is excluded. Only those OUTSIDE the camp are one with Christ. Only those OUTSIDE the camp are sanctified by the blood of Christ. If you're not outside the camp, you're lost. You're still in your filthy rags of self-righteousness.

As an integral part of being one with Christ outside the camp, we bear the reproach of Christ. Outside the camp is where suffering is, where persecution is, bearing the persecution that Christ bore. And, as we bear the reproach of Christ outside the camp, we REJOICE that we are one with Christ in His suffering and that we will be one with Christ in glory. Let us bear Christ's reproach joyfully as we abide with him outside the camp, looking forward to that blessed hope in which we will be free to sinlessly praise our God and Savior who went outside the camp on our behalf. Amen.


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