A Strange External Sign of a Glorious Internal Reality

June 3, 2022
Have you ever owned something that was not operating like it should? It was not fulfilling its intended purpose and function. That is the story of mankind. Since sin entered the world with Adam and Eve, we have failed at God’s intended purpose for us – Glorifying God through delightful obedience. In response to mankind’s brokenness, our redeeming God decided to choose one man, Abraham, and make a promise with him and his descendants. God promised to bless the entire world through Abraham’s offspring (Jesus) and at the same time redeem a people so that they can fulfill their God-given purpose.

But wait, then God did what? He told Abraham that as a physical sign of this great covenant promise, he had to circumcise the foreskin of every male’s sexual organ (Genesis 17:1-14). Dramatic pause for weirdness! Yes, that is strange. Why did God choose circumcision of the male sex organ? Why did He not choose anything else… anything, maybe a tattoo, anything? Well, that will be answered on Sunday – it will be a great discussion : ). Back to the story.
Physical circumcision was a declaration that God made a promise to His chosen people to bring forth a Savior that will redeem them for their intended God-given purpose and vitality. But, don’t forget their problem was not a physical one. Their problem and all of mankind’s problem is a spiritual one. So, we can conclude that circumcision was never intended to be just an external sign. It was to be an external sign of an inward devotion to God. It was intended to be an external sign of an inward circumcision that their heart had also experienced. Wait, wait… what? Your heart has a foreskin that needs to be circumcised? Yes, we have a spiritual foreskin of sinfulness that covers our heart that God sent Jesus to circumcise.
God knew that our problem was spiritual not physical. So, He gave us a physical sign of what needed to happen to us spiritually. We have a spiritual foreskin on our heart that prevents us from doing what we were intended to do – Glorify God through delightful obedience. So, God gave His people a physical sign of what He expects to happen within their heart spiritually. God will circumcise the heart spiritually of all His chosen people, male and female.
An uncircumcised heart keeps us dead in our trespasses (Col. 2:11-13). So, how does God circumcise our heart? Heart circumcision is the work of the Holy Spirit, “made without hands by putting off the body of flesh.” When the Holy Spirit brings us from spiritual death to life (regeneration), He unites us with Christ into His physical death. Christ circumcises our heart (Col. 2:11) through His death. Our old foreskin of sin is "circumcised" from us in His death (Romans 6:3-7). We can no longer live in that sin, it has been circumcised from us.

This is the true inward circumcision that God was pointing to when He gave Abraham and his descendants the external sign of the covenant promise. As Paul says, in Romans 2:28-29, circumcision is not one that is "outward and physical" but one that is "a matter of the heart, by the Spirit”.

As God's people we have had the foreskin of sin circumcised from our heart by the work of Jesus Christ so that we walk in newness of life. A glorious internal reality!

See you Sunday gathered as God's redeemed, Steve

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