Archive for the ‘Romans’ Category

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Circumcision Part II

September 3, 2009

We are continuing our conversation on men’s favorite subject: Circumcision.  (Please understand the sarcasm there!)  Paul, in Romans 2:25-29, deals a lot with circumcision.   Let’s look at Paul’s take on this subject.

25 Circumcision does indeed profit if you keep the Law; but if you habitually transgress the Law, your circumcision is made uncircumcision.  26 So if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be credited to him as [equivalent to] circumcision? 27 Then those who are physically uncircumcised but keep the Law will condemn you who, although you have the code in writing and have circumcision, break the Law.  29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and [true] circumcision is of the heart, a spiritual and not a literal [matter]. His praise is not from men but from God.

98844[1]The Jews boasted in this sign of their covenant with God.  They acknowledge God’s covenant with them, but did not honor it with their actions.   Interestingly, uncircumcision is defined as the equivalent of being a Gentile (which greatly offended most Jews most likely).  Uncircumcision is also described as a condition in which the corrupt desires rooted in the flesh were not yet extinct.  Paul is addressing those who “appear” to be Christians, yet their lives still show a lot of “fleshy” desires.

Matthew Henry puts it this way: “And restest in the law; that is, they took a pride in this, that they had the law among them, had it in their books, read it in their synagogues. They were mightily puffed up with this privilege, and thought this enough to bring them to heaven, though they did not live, up to the law. To rest in the law, with a rest of complacency and acquiescence, is good; but to rest in it with a rest of pride, and slothfulness, and carnal security, is the ruin of souls.”

Here he describes what true circumcision is, it is not only an outward sign, but an inward transformation.  You can be baptized, but if your life does not show the redemption and transformation, it is as useful as being a circumcised Jew who lives the most evil of lives.  Again, a favorite quote of mine is from DC Talk in their song What if I Stumble!

The leading cause of atheism today  is Christians who acknowledge Christ with their lips, but deny Him with their actions.

William Newell summarizes Romans 2 with “Seven Great Principles of God’s Judgment” that are worth noting:

  1. God’s judgment is according to truth (Romans 2:2)
  2. God’s judgment is according to accumulated guilt (Romans 2:5)
  3. God’s judgment is according to works (Romans 2:6)
  4. God’s judgment is without partiality (Romans 2:11)
  5. God’s judgment is according to performance, not knowledge (Romans 2:13)
  6. God’s judgment reaches the secrets of the heart (Romans 2:16)
  7. God’s judgment is according to reality, not religious profession (Romans 2:17-29)

In the next post, we will bring this topic home, not literally of course.  I hope you’ll join me in the next post: Circumcising the Heart.

If you liked this post, please read the previous post and the sequel to this one!

A Difficult Study for Men: Circumcision

Circumcising the Heart!

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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church

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A Difficult Study for Men: Circumcision

August 29, 2009

scaredmanLet’s face it, if you are a part of a men’s Bible Study, the last subject you would expect to have would be one on circumcision.  Unfortunately, when covering a book in the Bible in sequential order, you have to discuss some topics you would normally just skip over.  If you cover any of the epistles, chances are, you will come across the great debate of the time, “circumcision vs. no circumcision.”

Just some information on circumcision for you to consider before we get started.

In Paul’s day, some Rabbis taught that Abraham sat at the entrance of Hell and made certain that none of his circumcised descendants went there. Some Rabbis also taught “God will judge the Gentiles with one measure and the Jews with another” and “All Israelites will have part in the world to come.”  I recently read that circumcision and baptism do about the same thing that a label on a can does. If the outer label doesn’t match with what is on the inside, something is wrong! If there are carrots inside the can, you can put a label says “Peas” but it doesn’t change what is inside the can. Being born again changes what is inside the can, and then you can put the appropriate label on the outside.

So where is the beginning of Circumcision?  Let’s start in Genesis 17:10-14.

10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your posterity after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised.11 And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a token or sign of the covenant (the promise or pledge) 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 not of your offspring.13 He that is born in your house and he that is bought with your money must be circumcised; and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.14 And the male who is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.

This particular passage marks a change and the fathering of the Jewish nation.  God sets apart his people with this covenant through Abraham.

Notice that it is a token or a sign of the covenant, much like a wedding ring or fraternity tattoo.  It marks we are.  The covenant is in the flesh, an everlasting covenant.  God made it known that now part of our bodies is outside of this covenant.   It is no irony that the covenant was made with this particular part of the male body symbolizing a new birth or the birth of a new nation.  Most covenants have something you have to give, it may hurt, this definitely meets the bill on this.

In the English and Romance languages the derivation of the word ‘male’ and ‘masculine’ is derived from the Latin ‘mas’, a root meaning heavy or the strong one, whereas the Hebrew word for male is zachar, which has the same root letters as ‘to remember’.  We are to “remember” our covenant with Christ.

As men, especially today, I think there are a lot of things we need to “remember.”   We will continue this discussion by picking up Paul’s take on the whole subject.  Romans 2:25-29 deals a lot with circumcision.   We will discuss this in the next post : Circumcision Part II.  Hope you will join us for that discussion.

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Subscribe to Christian Men-Christian Warriors by Email
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About the Writer:

Trent Cotton has spent a number of years in management and business consulting. After spending some time in the field, he joined the HR department, beginning in recruiting and eventually serving as the Department Head of HR for one of the major lines of business. With such a varied background, he works to bring all of these together to help churches and other Christian organizations incorporate some common business practices into their ministries to enable them to better serve the Kingdom. He currently works for SourcePointe, an HR Outsourcing Agency while continuing to own and operate Christian Management Consulting as a ministry. In his free time, he also writes a lot on Church Development as a Church Consultant.