In Colossians 2:11-12 Paul makes a comparison between the circumcision done physically to the body and the one done spiritually by Christ’s indwelling Holy Spirit. “When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature. 12 For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. In the Old Testament physical circumcision was performed on the 8th day of life to all boys and was a sign of the covenant, promise, agreement made between Abraham (man) and God. It was a sign of separation of being set apart by God as his own. Genesis 17:11-13 “You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised. Every male throughout your generations, whether born in your house or bought with your money from any foreigner who is not of your offspring, 13 both he who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money, shall surely be circumcised. So shall my covenant be in your flesh an everlasting covenant. ” This was to be the sign of an everlasting covenant between the people of God and God. Paul makes the comparison that we as believers in Christ are also circumcisized spiritually by the cutting away of our old nature. We are set apart by God to be His people by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Galatians 5:5-6 “For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.” After the death and resurrection of Christ, the circumcision that sets believers apart is the circumcision of the heart that comes when one accepts the truth of Jesus and is indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
The problem in the days of the Colossian church was that many Jews were saying that new believers had to be circumsized physically to be accepted into the body of Christ. Paul refutes that over and over in the New Testament that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit set believers apart for God and circumsizes their hearts and minds. Paul wanted to stop this quarreling and have them move forward to embraces the gospel and spread the good news of Jesus to all who would believe, Jew or Gentile.
What about you? Are their ideas or requirements that you want to add to faith that are not based in scripture? The Jews wanted to require an old way when Jesus had given a new way. When in doubt, look to God’s Word and see if what you are thinking and believing lines up with scripture. Then pray about it and ask God for discernment. James 4:1-3 gives us good practical advice and advises us to check our motives. “What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2 You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.“
Because Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I was circumcised spiritually when I accepted Jesus as my Savior and He cut away my old nature and gave me a new heart. Praise God!