Cutting away the old flesh…

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. Romans

Comments, thoughts and reflections welcome.

Romans 2:17-29

But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God

and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law;

and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,

an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth—

you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?

You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?

You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law.

For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.

So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?

Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.

For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.

But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Circumcision was given as a sign to Israel of the covenant with God that included God’s favor.  A covenant is an agreement between two parties leading to favorable results for each.  The agreement promises an end result.  In this case, God finds pleasure in the obedience of his people and his people enjoy his favor.  The physical sign was a symbol of that special covenant between God and his people.  It carried with it obligations to be met.  What was repeatedly told to God’s people is the first requirement; to love God and our neighbor.  All else is driven by those two bits of criteria to be met by God’s people.  When we begin our relationship with God we experience that love and return it.  There is a circumcision of the heart.  Circumcision is a cutting away of the flesh.  We experience a cutting away of the flesh-driven impulses and the new birth of a spiritual nature.  The old is cut away and the new becomes manifest.  We are made clean and become new creatures.  Obligations are now want-to’s and a joy; they have ceased to be a have-to.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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