Thursday, January 13, 2005

Wasn't circumcision a command from God?

Wasn't circumcision a command from God? Then why Christians don't follow this command? Jews, Muslims even people of other faith practising it.

Regardless of whatever reasons you may get, lets us see how the Scripture reasons about circumcision:

The circumcision is viewed as a social or covenantal boundary marker— belongs to the old covenant. Meaning being God's people, they circumcise as a reminder that they are separated from others and dedicated to God. By removing the foreskin, a symbol that they putting away their fleshly desire and set apart, holy before God.

However, it is useless if God's people is charged of having "uncircumcised hearts" (Leviticus 26:41; Jeremiah 9:26; cf. Acts 7:51). Indeed, the old covenant demand was not merely circumcision of the flesh, but circumcision of the heart.

Therefore, circumcise the foreskin of your heart and stop being so stubborn!. (Deuteronomy 10:16)

Circumcise yourselves to the Lord and circumcise your heart, people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. If you do not, my anger will leap out like a flaming fire against you that no one will be able to put out. That will happen because of the evil you have done.(Jeremiah 4:4)

The new covenant, promised in the Old Testament, carries with it a promise of circumcision of the heart, rather than of the flesh.

The Lord your God will also circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants so that you may love him with all your heart and soul and so that you may live. (Deuteronomy 30:6)

With this command, by God's grace He promises to give his people with new hearts, putting a new spirit within them (Ezekiel 11:19; 18:31; 36:26), as well writing His law upon their hearts (Jeremiah 31:33; cf. Isaiah 51:7).

Thus Paul writes in echo of the promises in Deuteronomy and Jeremiah that God would circumcise our hearts.

"but someone is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart by the Spirit and not by the written code. This person’s praise is not from people but from God." (Romans 2:29)

"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight—the only thing that matters is faith working through love." (Galatians 5:6)

"For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything; the only thing that matters is a new creation!" (Galatians 6:15; cf. Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11)

Even so, as Paul writes, God's commands still takes effect, including against idolatory and immorality of all kinds. This is true as what Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:19

Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Instead, keeping God’s commandments is what counts. (1 Corinthians 7:19)

Indeed Christ has liberated us from all these ceremonial law (e.g., circumcision, food restrictions, Jewish calendar, bloody sacrifices, etc.). Thus this laws are now inoperative for those who are in Christ but God's morality and commands still stands (Romans 8; 1 Corinthians 5, 10; Galatians 5).

Christians have a high view of God’s law (or at least they should), though some laws were temporary illustrations of the heart of the matter — the human heart.


jacksons said...

So why did God command circumcision ah?

Gary said...

Were Hebrew children in the Old Testament required to make a one time "Decision for God" once they reached an Age of Accountability in order to be saved? No. There is no evidence of this requirement in the Bible. They were born into God's covenant, both male and female. Circumcision was the sign of this covenant for boys, but the sign was not what saved them. Faith saved them!

Rejecting the sign of circumcision, either by the parents of a Hebrew child or by an adult, male, Gentile convert, was a sign of a lack of true faith, and therefore the child or convert was "cut off" from God's promises, as clearly stated in Genesis chapter 17: