Genesis 17:9-11 (NLT)
Then God said to Abraham, “Your responsibility is to obey the terms of the covenant. You and all your descendants have this continual responsibility. This is the covenant that you and your descendants must keep: Each male among you must be circumcised. You must cut off the flesh of your foreskin as a sign of the covenant between me and you.
Circumcision in the Old Testament is an act of spiritual cleansing. It was deemed an act of purification. The cutting away of the flesh marked the Jewish people’s covenant with God. In the New Testament, there was much debate as the Gentiles could now enter a covenant relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The question at that time became “to circumcise or not”. Many parents ask the same question today with the arrival of a son. Medically is now common knowledge that this procedure is elective and not medically necessary. Our culture based on tradition tends to follow the trend and continues to circumcise newborns within days of their birth. Jewish religion still calls for circumcision at eight days of age to signify a continuation of their people’s covenant with God first demonstrated by Abraham. Before the death of Jesus Christ, man was bound by the Law of God required to fulfill each one. Our inability to continually honor our promise to the Lord created a huge deficit and debt that could not be repaid. God provided the perfect sacrifice for the sin of all mankind – His Name is Jesus. So what now? To circumcise or not? I am not referring to a physical procedure but according to the New Covenant of Grace enacted by receiving the Holy Spirit. Now humanity is no longer required to continue to follow God’s Law to the letter, but given the profound privilege of living and loving God through a prosperous relationship. Why would anyone choose religion over a relationship? Circumcised flesh will heal and causes only momentary discomfort, but a circumcised heart will cause our flesh to die daily. We have a responsibility to obey God by faith. A life of faith is required to demonstrate that faith. It will require a circumcision of the heart!
Jeremiah 9:23-26 (NLT)
This is what the LORD says: “Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things.
I, the LORD, have spoken! “A time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit—the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”
Human reasoning and logic are a dangerous combination when it comes to faith. Religion will expand our knowledge of God but it is His Spirit that enables understanding that will become wisdom. Confident hope empowers us to receive the promises of faith. The greatest riches are found in humble obedience that surrenders our life to the Lord. Religion tells us that with grace we can be in this world and of this world at the same time. We can work on the flesh ignoring God’s Spirit. This is false. The reason we struggle with sin is because we attempt to circumcise our own flesh physically never really relying on His Spirit to turn our heart around first. An exposed heart reveals the source of our struggle. Inside there may be hidden sin, habitual sin, hindering sin, and harbored (protected) sin. These are the barriers of the flesh that demand swift attention. Barriers that God’s Spirit intends to destroy to facilitate a forever relationship between the Lord and His People. Therefore, we find necessity in a circumcised heart. The only thing worst boasting about is a relationship with Jesus Christ. Doing all the “right” things with the “wrong” intentions are not evidence of faith and a loving relationship but one’s ability to practice religion. God does not like religious people with hardened hearts but God loves the broken hearted. He draws close to them. (Psalm 34:18) God cannot heal what is not broken. (Psalm 147:3) God is closely inspecting the hearts of those who are called by His Name. He is looking for those who have a circumcised heart fully exposed to His Unfailing Love seeking justice and righteousness as a way of life. Is that you today?
Romans 10:9-10 (NLT)
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by confessing with your mouth that you are saved.
Religion is a source of comfort for those who found love and lost it. In a place of mistrust, they are given a strict list of expectations so know where to look when they fail. But for those who seek a relationship with Jesus Christ those rules and regulations are mere guidance to a deeper intimacy with the Lord rather than a source of failure. A circumcised body (religion) can never take the place of a circumcised heart (relationship). God desires a relationship with you and has removed every barrier between the two of you. Why do people insist on rebuilding those walls of sin, guilt and shame? If you confess with your mouth (flesh) that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart (faith) that God raised Him from the dead – you will be saved. But if one of these elements is missing you are bound for spiritual failure. A circumcised life is a man and God’s Spirit living life in agreement that produces more faith, hope and love. God’s Unfailing Love will always require justice and righteousness as it is the foundation of His Throne. Jesus provided a foundation of faith to abandon self-preservation and embark on fully surrendering our life to Jesus. By deciding to tithe our life to the Lord, we allow our flesh to be circumcised beginning with our heart!
Romans 4:11-12 (NLT)
Circumcision was a sign that Abraham already had faith and that God had already accepted him and declared him to be righteous—even before he was circumcised. So Abraham is the spiritual father of those who have faith but have not been circumcised. They are counted as righteous because of their faith. And Abraham is also the spiritual father of those who have been circumcised, but only if they have the same kind of faith Abraham had before he was circumcised.
Repentance is turning our heart back to the Lord and then moving in closer. However, many times people turn to God but never really leave the past behind. We want to experience authentic faith but not lose touch with reality. Until our faith becomes a reality, circumcision is just a cutting away of the flesh with no significance. Religion without a relationship is spiritual failure. (Galatians 5:2-4) Righteousness is only found in faith in Jesus Christ not the forms of religion that we practice. (Romans 2:28-29) We are counted righteous only when we live by faith. Faith requires an action. Dormant faith is not faith at all but fear which immobilizes faith never allowing it to grow and expand in our life. It is absolutely useless if it does not reach from here into Eternity. Abraham allowed his flesh to bear the mark of his covenant with God. A circumcised heart bears the mark of our covenant with the Lord as we allow His Spirit to mold and shape us into what is pleasing and acceptable to God! (Romans 12:1-2) Our faith should be so productive in our life that it is easily recognizable by others. (James 2:17-18) We must be of the mindset – “How can you show me your faith if you don’t have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
Colossians 2:11-12 (NLT)
When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
When you confessed your sin to Jesus Christ, He immediately cut it out of your life. However, sin somehow finds its way back in. If our heart is conducive to sin, it will readily accept its return. When we allow God’s Spirit to be fed with the Word of God, commit our strength to His Way, and determine to have nothing less than the Will of God – the intent and content of heart changes and no longer does it crave and desire sinful things as before suddenly it begins to thirst after righteousness and justice. The Spirit changes our appetite from sin to salvation. (Philippians 3:3) Now we desire more of the Lord and His Wisdom that leads to a closer relationship while showing our commitment to His Law by the way we live not out of hostility but confident hope! Discarding our flesh without faith is impossible for there is nothing to sustain us! But when by faith, we allow God to remove all sin and shame suddenly we find joy and strength in obedience and desire to please our Father above all other people in our life. We begin to live – really live. No longer afraid of a broken heart but demanding a circumcised heart as an act of love! No one can live without a heart so God takes it piece by piece as not to destroy us but change us into His People. The Lord will consume the circumcised heart with His Love. You will never desire another lover who will take from you giving nothing in return but you will seek the One who gave His All for you! Open the door to your heart and let His Spirit come in! Jesus did all the work and suffered all the pain on Calvary so you could have a circumcised heart full of His Grace, Mercy and Love!
Colossians 3:10-11 (NLT)
Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters and he lives in all of us.