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Spiritual Circumcision

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When the Lord Jesus “annulled” the Law” (of Moses) for His blessed Jewish nation (Heb 7:18, 19; 8:7; 10:9), He at the same time annulled all believers from “the law” (of sin), which originally manifested itself during the braking of the first command (Gen 2:16, 17; 3:6). In essence, the law, or principle (rule) of sin states that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die (Eze 18:4, 20; Rom 6:23). This is an affirmation of God’s original proclamation when establishing the law of sin in saying, “for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”


Remember, born once—die twice (natural then “second death” - Rev 20:14); born twice die once (natural death). Jesus said, “Whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never die (e.g. the second death). Jhn 11:26




Spiritual Circumcision


God made an everlasting covenant with Abraham and his earthly seed, and instituted “circumcision” as the token, the outward sign of that covenant.


“I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. . . And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant between Me and you” (Gen 17:7, 8, 11).


Throughout the centuries Israel proudly relied upon her outward, fleshly circumcision as her godly badge. But there was little or no spiritual circumcision—her heart was far from God (except a few—NC). The epitome of this problem was pointed out by the Lord Jesus: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, justice, mercy and faith; these ought ye to have done” (Mat 23:23).


Paul wrote to the Jews, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter” (Rom 2:28, 29).


Before he became a Christian, Saul’s pride and reliance centered in his fleshly circumcision and his self- righteous law-keeping. “If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more; Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the Law, blameless” (Phil 3:4-6).


Early in his Christian life Paul began to see beyond the fleshly externals, to the heart and spiritual reality of circumcision and the Law. He found nothing but death. “I had not known sin, but by the Law: for I had not known lust, except the Law had said, Thou shalt not covet. But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of coveting . . . For I was alive without the Law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died” (Rom 7:7-9).


As a consequence, Paul found all of the Law to be death-dealing. “Oh, wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death” (Rom 7:24). Not until then could he say from his heart, “I thank God through Jesus Christ, our Lord” (Rom 7:25).


The external law and circumcision applied strictly to fleshly (carnal – Heb 9:10—NC) Israel—all was type and shadow of the coming reality in the Lord Jesus. “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His Cross . . . Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ” (Col 2:14, 17).


Paul wrote to all who are new creations in the Lord Jesus, “ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power . . . In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col 2:10, 11).


The believer’s circumcision was not a fleshly ritual, but rather a spiritual reality. Not a part of the flesh was cut away, but all—and that not by hands, but by the Spirit through the Cross. “Ye are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you” (Rom 8:9).


Our crucifixion with the Lord Jesus on the Cross was our circumcision from fleshly Adam. “Putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (Col 2:11). His death unto sin cut the Lord Jesus free from the sin He assumed on our behalf, and in Him we are freed. “For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God; Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6:10, 11).


On the basis of His Calvary-circumcision, the believer is to exercise his faith in the fact, and thereby “put off (indefinitely stall—NC) concerning the former manner of the life of the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts” (Eph 4:22). Positionally cut off from the old man, he no longer has to depend upon or walk in the flesh. He is free to abide in the Lord Jesus; to walk in dependence upon Him, in the Spirit.


That abiding by faith consists of putting on “the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph 4:24). Putting off, turning from the carnal first Adam, and thereby putting on, turning to the spiritual Last Adam, the believer learns to abide in and fellowship with the Lord Jesus for his growth and service.


Believers can now way from the heart, “We are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3).


“Any aspect of life or conduct which is undertaken in dependence on the energy and ability of the flesh (sinful nature—NC) is to that extent, purely legal in character, whether it be the whole revealed will of God, the actual written commandments contained in the Law, the exhortation of grace, or any activity whatsoever in which the believer may engage.” – L S Chafer


“In man the law and the flesh always go together. The Cross was the end of both in the sight of God. The flesh was judged and condemned there; it was treated as a dead thing before God—dead and buried. And the law which deals with the flesh we are dead to. We have passed out of both: we are not in the flesh, and are no longer under the law (i.e. “law of sin” for the believer—NC).


“The flesh being that in us with which the law grapples, and the flesh (the old man) being now by faith accounted a dead thing, there is no more for the law to lay hold of. We pass out of its province into another country and atmosphere—‘hid with Christ in God’ (Col 3:3).” – Wm Kelly



Excerpt from MJS devotional for May 4:

“True spiritual experience will result from our standing immovable in our position “in Christ.” All too often believers allow certain “experiences” to move them from the faith-ground of their objective position, and they are soon adrift on the sea of subjective feelings and unscriptural influences.” – MJS



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