Thursday, October 18, 2012

We are the Circumcision, Pt. 3


So notice the circumcision in the flesh made by hands for Israel that is the one that Paul talks about.  Remember that when defining circumcision, the context will define it for us.  Sometimes our Apostle Paul mentions physical circumcision in reference to Israel; but there are other times when Paul mentions circumcision in reference to the church the body of Christ.  One is physical; the other is spiritual.

Romans 15:8-9
Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:  And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

In this context, the circumcision who Jesus Christ ministered to was the nation of Israel. Notice that in the next verse Paul mentions the gentiles; he separates Jews and gentiles in that passage.

Matthew 15:24
But he [Jesus] answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

The Lord Jesus didn’t come for the gentiles during his earthly ministry; at that time he was a minister of the circumcision.  But now through Paul he is ministering to the gentiles (and individual believing Jews).

Romans 15:15-16
Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

Notice in Galatians Paul says there are two gospels: one for the uncircumcision and one for the circumcision.

Galatians 2:7
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision [gentiles] was committed unto me [Paul, the apostle to the gentiles], as the gospel of the circumcision [believing remnant of Israel] was unto Peter [the head apostle to Israel, Matt. 16:17, Acts 1];

Galatians 2:9
And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision [believing Israel].

The Jew is the issue in the context of this passage.

We know that there were both Jews and gentiles saved into the body of Christ.  Paul was a Jew who was circumcised the eighth day according to the Law.  Something changed when the dispensation of grace began in Acts 9 with the salvation of Paul.

Galatians 5:6
For in Jesus Christ [in the body of Christ] neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

In Christ it doesn’t matter whether you are a circumcised Jew or an uncircumcised gentile.

Galatians 6:15
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

All that matters is the one new man, the new creature in the body of Christ.

Ephesians 2:15
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Just like water baptism was a physical ordinance given to the nation of Israel identifying them as believers in Christ (John’s Baptism, Mark 1:8), we have a spiritual baptism.

1 Corinthians 1:17
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect.

Water baptism was not a part of Paul’s gospel of grace; but it was a part of the Kingdom gospel preached by John the Baptist, Jesus, Peter, James and John.

1 Corinthians 12:13
For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

Our baptism today is a spiritual one.  The same principle applies to circumcision.  What God required Israel to do physically, we now receive spiritually.  We are to be baptized and there is only one baptism.

Ephesians 4:5
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

But that one baptism is not physical, for by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body –it is a Spirit baptism! We are placed into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit and we are identified with his death, burial and resurrection.

God had Israel baptize and circumcise physically as a type and shadow of what he is doing now spiritually.  In time past Israel physically cut off the flesh; but now God himself circumcises believers spiritually.

Philippians 3:3
For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

To be continued…

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