God's Covenant of Cirumcision with AbrahamVolume 1, Number 10
Created Date: May 2, 2004
Posted Date: May 2, 2004
Vol 1 - No 10, May 2, 2004
The Word of God to Abraham, the father of all that believe--Part Four:
God's Covenant of Circumcision with Abraham and his descendants--22.
God had already made a covenant with Abram documented inwhen he by faith and in obedience to God's Word offered sacrifice of a heifer, a she goat, a ram, a turtledove and a young pigeon - . In that covenant God promised Abram and his seed all the land between the Euphrates and Nile rivers. As to the sacrifices offered by Abram, it is important to remember that throughout history from Abel until the Apostle Paul, God's children were required to offer sacrifices of burnt offerings as an act or sign of their faith.
Subsequently, God made the covenant of circumcision with 99 year old Abram and changed his name to Abraham - Genesis 17. God's promise here was that Abraham would have a son born to 90 year old Sarai whose name was changed to Sarah and that from their son a multitude would be born to make Abraham the father of many nations. Fromwe read "And God said to Abraham: As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: Every male child among you shall be circumcised; and you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between Me and you. He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child in your generations, he who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who is not your descendant. He who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be circumcised, and My covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant."
By faith in God's Word Abraham and every male in his household was circumcised. From that time, estimated to be at about 1997 BC, until God revealed differently to the Apostle Paul, which was over 2000 years later, it was necessary for any man who placed his faith in God for salvation to be circumcised as an act or sign of faith. No man who lived during the time between Abraham and Paul was righteous before God unless he was circumcised as an act of faith. Conversely, it is important to recognize that the physical act of circumcision, in and of itself did not save. Just because a man was circumcised did not automatically make him a true believer in God with the assurance of eternal life. Then, as always, the true test was faith in God's Word and, - God knows the heart every man. All were, as they still are, judged based on faith in His Word.
Saul is a good example of a man that outwardly was perfect, he was circumcised the eighth day, offered burnt sacrifices according to the law, became a leading Pharisee in the Jewish religion, and who in fact lived without blame under the law of Moses. And yet he did not truly know God -. Saul is first mentioned in when he consented to the death by stoning of Stephen, one of Jesus Christ's disciples. In spite of his being circumcised and all the rest he never the less was totally lost and did not know God until the Lord Jesus Christ revealed Himself to him on the road to Damascus - . Saul became the Apostle Paul to whom the Lord Jesus Christ disclosed His Word to and for us. Among many other truths for today, the Lord Jesus Christ showed Paul the significance and meaning of circumcision.
InPaul explains it was because of Abraham's faith that he was reckoned righteous and not because of the act of circumcision. Paul explains that circumcision was a sign or seal of the righteousness of Abraham's faith and as such, Abraham was the father of all those living after him who believe, that is, all who have faith in God's Word, as he had faith.
In Galations 6:15 Paul reveals "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." In other words, it no longer is necessary to be circumcised in order to be in right relationship with God, as it was from Abraham until Paul. What is necessary is to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and in this faith a person becomes new creation in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Paul reminds us that before Christ's redeeming work was completed on the cross the Gentiles, that is, those who were not circumcised, were not part of the family of God. As stated in"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
If Christ had not died, risen from the dead, ascended into heaven and from there spoken this new revelation to the Apostle Paul we who are gentiles, which are called the uncircumcision, would be lost and without hope of eternal life just as Gentiles were before Christ's finished work. But now, because of Christ's finished work we do not depend on the act of circumcision, baptism, sacrificial burnt offerings, or on any other physical act, for our salvation and being in a right relationship with God. Paul writes in"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
To Paul was revealed that he and all after him who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Gentile, become members of the Body of Christ -; 2:9, 10 & 17 - 19. To Paul was revealed that "In whom (that is, in Christ) also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead." - .
The Word of God to Abraham was different than His Word to Paul, which is to us. But, the proof and the evidence that presents, is the same for us as it was for Abraham and that is faith in the Word of God. Abraham believed what God told him and his belief was counted to him for righteousness -. Paul quotes this in where he argues the point to us, concluding with the wonderful truth "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." - .
Genesis 15:6 is quoted again by the Apostle Paul in. It is recommended that you read where Paul explains further how our blessings from God come through faith.
"Now faith is the substance (or title deed) of things hoped for, the evidence (or the proof) of things not seen." -. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God - .