For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfils the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law?
Romans 2, 25 – 27
Paul had proved that the mere external possession of the law and other privileges were insufficient if the Jews did not properly carry out God’s will. Now he meets another of their objections.
Circumcision, the sign of the covenant that God had made with Abraham, was “the seal of the righteousness of the faith.” Abraham already had this faith before being circumcised (Genesis 17, 10 – 14; Romans 4, 8 – 12). Through circumcision Israel was distinguished outwardly from the nations as God’s people.
Now if the circumcision of male Jews was merely an external rite without the inward reality of a life of faith, it was worthless before God. By contrast, the faith and life of the uncircumcised Roman centurion Cornelius was recognized by God when He poured out the Holy Spirit on Cornelius and his family (Acts 10).
Even today it is not sufficient to possess a Bible or to have been christened. However indispensable the Bible might be for a Christian and however important baptism might be, what is decisive for eternity is reality in the heart and life. This stresses the importance of the question: “Do I possess life from God? Do Ilive by faith in Jesus Christ and His work of redemption?”
(to be continued next Sunday)