Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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“He brought forth His people [from Egypt] with joy, and His chosen with gladness.
And he gave them the lands of the heathen, and they inherited the labor of the people
so that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws.”
We all know that God brought the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage and that He gave them the “promised land”, the land of Canaan. But what is often overlooked is that He did those things so that the Israelites could fully keep the law that He had given them. Without possessing the promised land, some of God’s statutes could not be kept. It was only when the people of God reached the place which God had appointed for them that they would finally be able to obey all of His commandments. For example, as long as they remained outside the promised land, the Israelites could not provide the three “Cities of Refuge” in Canaan for people who accidentally killed someone. Nor could they observe the Feast of Tabernacles, one of the law’s three holiest times of the year. Outside of Canaan’s land, Israel’s judges could not carry out many commandments dealing with certain civil issues. And even some moral commandments could not be fully obeyed without possessing the land because those commandments concerned property issues. How can you covet or steal land if no one owned any land?
So, it is clear that God gave commandments to His Old Testament people that they could not obey until they lived in the place God wanted them to live in. The same is true now, in the Spirit.
God did not call the Israelites out of Egypt just so they could be out of Egypt. He called them to a place, a holy land where they could fully obey and serve Him, and where He could bless them as He wanted to do. Likewise, God did not call us out of sin just so we could be out of sin. He called us to a place in the Spirit, and until we get there – together – we have no hope of fully obeying the commandments of God.
Understanding this, John wrote, “If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1Jn. 1:7). Please notice that John said if “we” walk in the light, Jesus will cleanse “us” from all sin. He said nothing about an individual. The place to which God has called us is fellowship in the light. That is the earthly purpose for the calling of God on our lives, for people will know that Jesus is the Son of God only if they see us walking together in the fellowship of Christ. Jesus said it this way (Jn. 17:20—23): “I’m not asking for these alone, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they all might be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be one in us so that the world might believe that you sent me. And the glory that you’ve given me, I’ve given to them, that they might be one, just as we are one; I in them, and you in me, so that they might be perfected in unity, and so that the world might know that you sent me, and that you loved them just as you loved me.”
Our goal and our prayer is that the body of Christ (those whom Paul called “the Israel of God”) will come to the spiritual place to which God has called us! For when the saints attain to fellowship with one another in Christ, no evil will have a place among us. In that happy, holy place called “fellowship”, we as a body of believers will finally be purged from all unrighteousness and be able, at last, to keep all of the commandments of God.