Jesus, bearing His cross, went to suffer outside the gate. The Christian's reason for leaving the camp of the world's sin and religion is not because he loves to be isolated, but because Jesus did so; and the disciple must follow his Master. Christ was "not of the world." His life and His testimony were a constant protest against conformity with the world. Although He displayed overflowing affection for men, He was still separate from sinners.
In the same way Christ's people must "go to him." They must take their position "outside the camp," as witness-bearers for the truth. They must be prepared to walk the straight and narrow path. They must have bold, unflinching, lion-like hearts, loving Christ first, and His truth next, and Christ and His truth more than all the world. Jesus desires His people to "go . . . outside the camp" for their own sanctification.
You cannot grow in grace to any high degree while you are conformed to the world. The life of separation may be a path of sorrow, but it is the highway of safety; and though the separated life may be painful and make every day a battle, yet it is a happy life after all. No joy can excel that of the soldier of Christ: Jesus reveals Himself so graciously and gives such sweet refreshment that the warrior feels more calm and peace in his daily strife than others in their hours of rest.
The highway of holiness is the highway of communion. It is in this way we shall hope to win the crown if we are enabled by divine grace faithfully to follow Christ "outside the camp." The crown of glory will follow the cross of separation. A moment's shame will be well rewarded by eternal honor; a little while of witness-bearing will seem nothing when we are forever with the Lord.