To Circumcise or Not to Circumcise, That is the Question!
August 5, 2018
1. After the Israelites crossed the Jordan, God REINSTATED the act of circumcision.
Joshua 5:2-3 - "At that time the Lord said to Joshua, 'Make flint knives and circumcise the Israelites again. So Joshua made flint knives and circumcised the Israelites at Gibeath Haaraloth."
Joshua 5:4-5 - "All those who came out of Egypt - all the men of military age - died in the wilderness on the way after leaving Egypt. All of the people that came out (of Egypt) had been circumcised, but all the people born in the wildernessduring the journey from Egypt had not."
The Israelites now ready to enter the promised land were to identify themselves again with the sign of God's covenant. The Lord wanted them to remain separate and not to be influenced by those who followed other Gods.
2. Circumcision is the sign of the ABRAHAMIC covenant between God and His people.
Genesis 17:10 - "This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep; Every male among you shall be circumcised."
Genesis 17:12 - "For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised..."
Romans 4:11 - "And (Abraham) received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised."
Circumcision was an important outward sign that identified the Israelites with Jehovah. It signified that they were consecrated, i.e., set apart for God's purposes in a special relationship with him.
3. When Christ came, He ushered in a NEW COVENANT, which required a circumcision of the heart.
Romans 2:28-29 - "A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew because he is one inwardly, and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, bu the Spirit, not by the written code."
Even in the Old Testament, we gain an understanding that circumcision should be much more than than an outward sign.
Deuteronomy 10:15-16 - "Yet, the Lord set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer."
Deuteronomy 30:6 - "The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live."
Hebrews 8:10 - "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts."
Often God would initiate things in the Old Testament that would be a foreshadowing of things that would not be completely fulfilled until after Christ came to establish the New Covenant. Circumcision is one such example. Sacrifice for the covering of sins was another.
4. To circumcise or not to CIRCUMCISE - that is the question.
Acts 15:1 - "Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers, 'Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.'"
Acts 15:6-21 - Thanks to the Godly wisdom shared by Paul and Barnabas as well as Peter and James, the Council at Jerusalem resolved this issue by declaring that circumcision was not required for salvation.
Galatians 5:6 - "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love."