Romans 2:25-27 – Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker. A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
In the Old Testament, the law required all Jewish men to have a circumcision. It was to show that they were set apart unto the Lord and that they were His chosen people. Circumcision was an outward expression of the transformation that was supposed to take place in their hearts. It can be related to baptism in the New Testament. Baptism is an outward expression of the transformation that takes place in our hearts. Many religious people in that day believed that they were saved because they were circumcised but Paul refuted them by saying that their outward actions could not save them. Circumcision cannot save a person because it cannot cleanse you on the inside. Circumcision is the cutting away of the flesh and it is a picture of how we are to deal with our flesh. God tells us in Deuteronomy 10:16 to “Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer.” God’s desire is that His people would have transformed hearts that love Him and desire to serve Him. It’s dangerous to think that because we are circumcised or baptized that we are saved. These are outward professions that identify us with Jesus and that we have chosen to accept Him and let Him lead our lives. Jon Courson gives us 3 ways of how God defines how circumcision should be played out in our lives:
- Exodus 6:12: Circumcision of the lips
- Jeremiah 6:10: Circumcision of the ears
- Ezekiel 44: Circumcision of the heart
The Lord desires for His people to speak with tenderness, hear with sensitivity, and feel with compassion. The outward expression of circumcision means nothing if there isn’t an inward change of our hearts.
May God help us to speak tenderly, listen sensitively, and feel compassionately for those around us and may they see the work that God is doing in our hearts. Amen.