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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Years ago, I visited a hospital room where two elderly people were dying, one a dear old saint of God and the other a hardened sinner. There were similarities, to be sure. They were both suffering from the same disease, were about the same age, and had come from approximately the same social background, but there was such an enormous difference in spirit that it made me take notice. They were both dying, but oh, how dissimilar they were! I remember thinking about it at the time and being struck with the very great difference between the two that I felt in my spirit.
No one on the hospital staff seemed to notice what I did. They treated both patients alike and no doubt saw them as equals. When the two died, the local newspaper published the same sort of obituary about them both. The series of earthly events related to their dying and the world's lack of discernment by the world caused me to ponder over the blindness of ordinary people in the world. How could they fail to pick up on the enormous chasm that divided the dying saint from the dying sinner and treat a child of God the same way that they treated a sinner? By their actions, everyone in the world involved in that situation proved again the veracity of the apostle John's words, "The world knoweth us not because it knew him not" (1Jn. 3:1).
But God is faithful, and I know that the comforting sweetness and love that the dying saint felt from her heavenly Father in the midst of her final trial was nothing like the bitterness and loneliness felt by the dying sinner.
How differently God's discerning people view the same situation that people with a worldly mind see! As Preacher Clark said that day in 1972, "The giants [in Canaan's land] were as large to Joshua and Caleb's eyes as they were to the other Israelites." Why, then, did Joshua and Caleb think they could take the land, while others trembled and wept and wanted to return to the land of Egypt? It is all in the way they looked at it. If God is bigger in your eyes than the giants of this life, then when you see those giants, you feel different from the way others feel when they see them. They are discouraged and dejected; you are encouraged and excited about life. They are bitter and complaining; you are happy and talking about the wondrous works of God. They will die, but you will live.
That was the difference between the old, dying saint and the old, dying sinner. One was fearful and tormented, looking at death and seeing an insurmountable foe; the other was resting in hope, seeing a gate leading into eternal life.