Those who are not circumcised in their bodies, but still ·obey [fulfill; carry out] the law, will ·pass judgment on [condemn] you who, though having the written law and circumcision, ·break [transgress; disobey] the law.
And so you Jews will be condemned by the Gentiles because you break the Law, even though you have it written down and are circumcised; but they obey the Law, even though they are not physically circumcised.
That most intimate sign of belonging to God that we call circumcision does indeed mean something if you keep the Law. But if you flout the Law you are to all intents and purposes uncircumcising yourself! Conversely, if an uncircumcised man keeps the Law’s commandments, does he not thereby “circumcise” himself? Moreover, is it not plain to you that those who are physically uncircumcised, and yet keep the Law, are a continual judgment upon you who, for all your circumcision and knowledge of the Law, break it?
Circumcision, the surgical ritual that marks you as a Jew, is great if you live in accord with God’s law. But if you don’t, it’s worse than not being circumcised. The reverse is also true: The uncircumcised who keep God’s ways are as good as the circumcised—in fact, better. Better to keep God’s law uncircumcised than break it circumcised. Don’t you see: It’s not the cut of a knife that makes a Jew. You become a Jew by who you are. It’s the mark of God on your heart, not of a knife on your skin, that makes a Jew. And recognition comes from God, not legalistic critics.
You Jews have the Law but do not obey it. You have gone through the religious act also. At the same time those who are not Jews obey the Law even if they have not gone through the religious act of becoming a Jew. In this way, these people show you are guilty.
And the naturally uncircumcised ben Adam who has mishma’at (obedience) to the Torah will arise as a judgment on you. You! The very one who through chumra (strict adherence to the letter of the law, legalism) and circumcision (i.e., "uncircumcision "—2:25) are the transgressor of Torah!
And the prepuce of kind that fulfilleth the law, shall deem thee, that by letter and circumcision art a trespasser against the law. [And the prepuce, which is of the kind, fulfilling the law, shall deem thee, that by letter and circumcision art trespasser of the law.]
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