"Let The Word...
Dwell In You"
Memory Verse Archives
Bryan Matthew Dockens
God introduced the covenant of circumcision to Abraham. "And God said to Abraham: 'As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant'" (Genesis 17:9-14).
Nothing could be more physical than to be circumcised in the flesh of the foreskin. The pain of it lasted for days (Genesis 34:13-25) and the procedure itself could be rather crude (Exodus 4:25; Joshua 5:2-3). Yet, while the covenant of circumcision was in force, the primary concern was still spiritual. Moses proclaimed, "And now Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good? ... Therefore circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and be stiff-necked no longer" (Deuteronomy 10:12-13, 16). Jeremiah said, "Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart" (Jeremiah 4:4).
Since the inauguration of the New Covenant in Christ's blood, circumcision in the flesh has become irrelevant. Paul wrote, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation" (Galatians 6:15). Although one may undergo circumcision if he so chooses (Acts 16:1-3), the practice cannot be bound as a religious necessity without invalidating the sacrifice of Christ (Galatians 5:2-6).
Those in Jesus are "circumcised with the circumcision made without hands" (Colossians 2:11). Like Moses and Jeremiah explained under the Old Testament, this is a circumcision of the heart, not the flesh. How is it accomplished? Paul answers, "by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead" (Colossians 2:11-12). Just as fleshly circumcision required cutting off the flesh of the foreskin, so spiritual circumcision, that which is done "without hands", requires putting off the sins of the flesh. This is done in baptism, a "burial" in which the sinful man dies and a new creation emerges. "Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3-4).
Things we think we need today:
What the early church had:
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