Circumcise the fleshy person
Galatians 6:12 -
As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.
Today the Lord gave us this message and many will think how it is relevant to us? We do not promote physical circumcising.
In the Bible it was the Lord who asked Abraham to form the first Church (congregation) by circumcision of the (male) people. God had not commanded this of Abraham so as to repent later. But In the New Testament we see Paul rebuked Peter before the people with regards to this matter, and here we see Paul who wrote Galatians shows here a pro circumcision stand, then why was he against it before Peter.
We need to distinguish between physical circumcision, spiritual circumcision and religious circumcision.
Physical circumcision is done for medical reasons and is not forbidden biblically. It is like we cut our hair or shave to keep ourselves tidy. Doctors have found that circumcision of males is recommended since it is hygienically and medically good.
Spiritual circumcision is what the Lord asks of us in the Bible. We are Born-again when we are circumcised in our hearts (inner man/nature). Inner circumcision simply means cutting off the carnal nature in us and we no longer live for our desires but for the purpose (Cross) of the Lord in our lives.
Something very beautiful I learned of late is that we cannot repent for our sins. It does not make any sense to us to repent for our sins and it is here where most people fail to become true Christians due to their lack of understanding repentance.
We need to realize we are not forgiven because we repent. All sins need to be paid for. We are forgiven only when we come to God and offer the sacrifice of Jesus as our payment for our sins. We cannot offer the sacrifice of Jesus as a payment for our sins unless we come to God, because it was a sacrifice make available by God.
What is most important that we need to know is without repentance none can come to God, thus without repentance none can offer the sacrifice and be forgiven. If we are not repenting for our sins then what are we repenting for?
When we repent we need to repent for our sinful nature and not for our sins. It is the moment when we realize that God is Holy and we have been living a life full of sins and thus cannot come to God. To come to God we want to do something about the burden of sins we carry and this He alone can help if we change our ways so starts our repentance. But if we do not make a decision that we will not live the same life we lived before we will not be able to come to God and thus we will not receive forgiveness. It is only when we make the decision to change we will be able to come to God and receive forgiveness. Repentance is another word for Inner circumcision and another word for being Born-again. John the Baptist started his preaching with repentance and so also did Jesus. It is the key to being a Christian.
The circumcision Paul was against is religious circumcision. Religious circumcision is circumcision done to fulfil tradition and this is what the Jews followed and took pride in. The Jews desired people to follow their traditions and become another Jews. In reality it had nothing to do with God even though on the face they took the name of the Lord.
A person may be physically circumcised or not be circumcised but unless one is not spiritually circumcised one cannot become a Christian. A religious circumcision on the other hand undoes spiritual circumcision and destroys a Christian.
We may say as Christians we do not promote the Jewish tradition of physical circumcision for religious purposes so this message is not for us. In fact as I got this message it opened my eyes, many Christians do promote religious circumcision without promoting physical circumcision.
Things imposed on people mindlessly / without true understanding by telling them this is Christian living are the religious circumcisions the Lord wants to open our eyes to. Let me take 2 examples to explain these.
Prayer is our communication to God. Pray builds us and helps us to have a better relationship with God. Prayer is a Christian thing. But when people make you recite a set of lines mindlessly like on beads just to fulfil a religious duty it become religious circumcision, a Christian killer. It kills faith, the very seed that makes us children of God.
We as Believers may not be reciting prayer on beads like pagans but when Believers impose rules on people as to how a person should pray, how long they should pray and how loud they should pray, has the same effect as praying on beads. Giving guidelines to those who do not know how to pray (like Jesus did) is different from setting rules of how a person should pray. As a child it may be justified but when people follow it for years it shows the Christian in them is dying.
Bible says it is the Holy Spirit who is the ultimate one who teaches us how to pray. We need to grow spiritually to communicate with the Holy Spirit to grow in our prayer life. If we do not grow in spirit we will never learn to pray and thus lack as Christians.
Another example is fasting. Fasting can make an ordinary person into a strong Christian soldier but only when a person knows what fasting is and why one needs to fast. There are people who set a fasting timetable like pagans do, they fast on a particular day of the week, mostly that day is chosen due to some ungodly reason. Then there are those who think they please God by their fasting and those who think their fasting cries out to the Lord in their prayers. These may look good on the face but internally they land up killing the Christian in us.
Paul says in today's message there are things that people do that may look good on the surface but internally they deprive or undo spiritual circumcision and the main reason Paul says is that they fear the persecution of the Cross of Christ. This persecution does not necessary mean the things that unbelievers do to stop Christianity but this more has to do with those who live a name sake Christian life and hates it when someone truly preaches Christ.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You are a Holy God and You command of us to lead a holy like to be your children. You also know God that by ourselves we cannot be holy. You just demand a desire and will from us to be like You and it is You Lord who helps us to be holy. Lord, we pray your people understand repentance and truly repent and become true Christians, that they do not free the persecution from those name sake Christians...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
10 This is my covenant, which you shall keep, between me and you and your seed after you; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between me and you.
12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of your seed.
13 He that is born in your house, and he that is bought with your money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.
Deuteronomy 10:16 - Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff necked.
Deuteronomy 30:6 - And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart, and the heart of your seed, to love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, that you may live.
Jeremiah 4:4 - Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
25 For circumcision truly profits, if you keep the law: but if you be a breaker of the law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision.
26 Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision?
27 And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge you, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law?
28 For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh:
29 But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.
Matthew 4:17 - From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Acts 3:19 - Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.
15 And I said, Who are you, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom you persecute.
16 But rise, and stand on your feet: for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of these things which you have seen, and of those things in the which I will appear to you;
17 Delivering you from the people, and from the Gentiles, to whom now I send you,
18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
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