Circumcision was introduced for the very first time in Genesis 17. It will be mentioned several times after and was very important to God’s people. God made a covenant with Abram and promised him that he would give him a great legacy of children in God’s family. He then said that circumcision will be the sign of this covenant and will set them apart from the rest of the world as God’s special, sacred and holy people for His own use and purpose.
It was important for others to see that God’s people were different then the rest of the world, just like it’s important for others to see how Christians are different than the rest of the world today. We should speak different, act different, live different and look different than the rest of the world. However, that starts in the heart. Otherwise it’s simply behavior modification and won’t last. That actual heart change is what God wanted to get to when introducing circumcision in Genesis 17. Just like Israel had a sign to show that the were sanctified by God, we have a spiritual circumcision of the heart to show that we are saved and sanctified through Jesus Christ’s work on the cross and resurrection from death.
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ
But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
Questions for Reflection:
- If circumcision of the heart is a sign of the different, changed life we receive in Christ, have others around you noticed the differences in your life?
- Does obedience to God come from your changed heart or legalism?
By: Erik Koliser