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Dictionary of Bible Themes – 7336 circumcision, spiritual
7336 circumcision, spiritual

7336 circumcision, spiritual

On its own, the physical sign of circumcision is no guarantee of finding favour in the sight of God. It was intended to be the outward sign of inward consecration and should be accompanied by repentance, faith and obedience. Paul stresses that circumcision confers no special privileges upon individuals; it is faith in God, rather than any outward sign, that ensures that believers stand in a right relationship to God.

Physical circumcision has no value without the obedience of the heart

Dt 30:6 See also Dt 10:14-16; Jer 4:4
Ro 2:28-29 See also Ro 2:25-27; 1Co 7:19

Circumcision and faith

Gal 5:6 See also Ro 3:30

Abraham’s righteousness depended on his faith, not on the covenant of circumcision Gal 3:6; Ge 15:6; Ro 4:9-12

Paul values the law as part of God’s plan Ro 3:1-2

The sharp debate about circumcision for Christians

The Council of Jerusalem Ac 15:1-19

Jewish Christians in Jerusalem criticise Peter for accepting hospitality from Cornelius and his (uncircumcised) friends Ac 11:1-3

God’s acceptance of uncircumcised Gentiles is clear from the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them Ac 10:44-46 See also Ac 10:34

Peter’s misgivings about Gentile believers and the law Gal 2:11-16 the dispute between Paul and Peter

Imposing circumcision upon Gentile Christians denies the freedom of the gospel

Gal 5:1-6 To insist on circumcision is to nullify the work of Jesus Christ on the cross. See also Gal 2:3-5; Gal 3:14

“Judaisers” should be resisted

Gal 5:7-12; Gal 6:12-13,15; Php 3:2-3; Tit 1:10-11

To be “in Christ” is to be spiritually circumcised Col 2:11-12 See also Col 3:11

Paul’s confidence in Jesus Christ

Php 3:4-9

The relationship between baptism and circumcision in the NT

Col 2:11-13 Both circumcision and baptism may each be described as a “seal”. Baptism signifies entry into the new covenant in the same way that circumcision marked initiation into the old; Ro 4:11 Abraham the father of all believers; 2Co 1:21-22; Eph 1:13

See also

2321Christ as redeemer
3287Holy Spirit, sealing of
7908baptism, significance

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