It’s a touchy subject, but the idea of “circumcision” is mentioned 73 times in the Bible, and 45 of them in the New Testament!
In our last talk, we said that the stage was almost set for Isaac’s birth. But not quite! What more had to be done? Ah, this is a very delicate—but very important—topic: circumcision. I’ll simply read what the Lord said: “Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you” (Gen 17:10-11). God concludes, “My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant” (v 13), and warns that any Jewish male unwilling to do this was himself to be “cut off from his people.” Obviously the Lord considered this a very serious matter. We won’t go into details, but clearly they were to always remember that God, not man, has the power to create life. Therefore that life belongs to Him. But more, God would teach them that this was a sign of their being cut off from sinful practices and separated to Him in their hearts (see Deut 10:16), the way this sign is used in the New Testament. The apostle Paul (himself a circumcised Jew) states, “He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit…” (Rom 2:28-29). And to all followers of Christ, whether Jews or Gentiles, he explains in Colossians 2:11, “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ.” God help us to live purely in an increasingly filthy world. How crucial that we separate ourselves from all that dishonors Christ; our fellowship with God depends on it. In the words of 2 Corinthians 6:17, “Be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”