WE HAVE BY THE SPIRIT THE CIRCUMCISION THAT ABRAHAM ONLY FOUND IN THE FLESH- Rom.4:1

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By Edward O’Hara,

This may seem a sensitive subject for some. Some in more ways than others. But, I have often wondered why God made men with foreskin? What was His purpose in making something that is seemingly so unnecessary? And that has the added aspect of being so unclean?

In Gal.3:17 we read that the covenants God made with Israel, the promise to Abraham and the law given through Moses, ran side by side while Israel was under the law. Why side by side? Why couldn’t the covenants be joined as one?

Because as Paul taught in Rom.11:5,6 if it is by grace it can not be by works. And if by works it can not be by grace. And in Rom.4 saying, “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?

2 For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

The sign of the covenant God made with Moses was temporary. And while the Abrahamic covenant is eternal. Even Abraham’s had a temporal sign that came with it.

How do we know that the law covenant was temporary? We know because Paul tells us many times in different ways that Israel is no longer under the law but under grace. Paul attesting here to Jesus’ own teaching that the law would pass away only after He had fulfilled it.

Saying specifically in Gal.3:17 that the law that came 430 years after the promise to Abraham did not disannul the promise. This is shown by the fact that while Israel was under the law after He worked through Moses to deliver them from their bondage in Egypt, their relationship with God was still symbolized by the circumcision of their flesh.

The sign of the covenant God made with Abraham was this circumcision. But, in the New Covenant as we believe in Jesus as Abraham did Paul says we are no longer to be circumcised in our flesh, but in our hearts.

But, why didn’t God circumcise Abraham and his male offspring who came after him in their hearts too? Why couldn’t they be circumcised in their hearts? It was for the same reason the law was written in stone rather than in their hearts.

Because what it means for a man to be circumcised in the heart is that a spirit is created in us by God. A spirit God has created in everyone who believes in the New Covenant. Circumcision of the heart is the spirit that we receive when we are born again. A spirit that communes with God’s Spirit in a loving personal relationship. Unencumbered by a need for works and the sacrifices that came with them.

This relationship did not exist in those who believed in God before Jesus came. And only exists in those who have believed in Jesus now. Because everyone when they are born are the same as Adam was when he was made. That is, they are not spiritual, but natural. Not spiritual, but only flesh and blood. A body with air going in and out of its lungs.

What Gen.2:7 and 1Cor.15:45 calls “a living soul”. Nephesh is the Hebrew word for this that means “a living breathing creature”. Not spiritual in any way. But, only natural with the same breath of life breathed into his nostrils as every animal, bird, and creeping thing. As Ge.2:7 and 7:15,22 plainly says.

So we see In Gal.3 Paul lays out for us the purpose for which men were given foreskin. How in God’s plan it was to be used to show Abraham and his progeny were in covenant with God. This was a sign in their flesh in the Old Covenant. While in the New Covenant this sign is in our hearts.

A sign represented by something done in the flesh before Jesus came. That became a sign that was done on the inside by those after Jesus came. Just as the Holy Spirit came upon men in the Old Testament. But, now dwells in those who believe in the New Covenant.

A sign in the Old Covenant that could be easily recognized that showed they were God’s people. And a sign in the New Covenant that can only be known to others by the confession of the believer. The words of his mouth that Jesus said are what justifies or condemns a man.

This is why Paul taught saying, 17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

18 For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”

Here Paul shows the temporary nature of the law. And how after Jesus confirmed that covenant with Israel it would pass away. While the promise to Abraham that he would be the father of many nations, that is of a people who lived by faith without works, would remain. Because the promise is an eternal covenant.

Because the only purpose for the Mosaic Covenant was to keep Israel as a people until Christ came, this was to be the law’s expiration date. As we see Paul saying when he added in vs. 19 saying, “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”

But, Paul said in Rom.5:13 that when there is no law sin is not imputed. And in Rom.4:15 that where there is no law there is no transgression. So the New Covenant is grace not law. Because the law is works. And grace is a loving and personal relationship with our Creator. Without works.

Speaking of the mediator Paul said this to show that the mediation of the law was accomplished by its adjudicating between God and man the terms of that covenant. And as long as it was in force those terms had to be met judiciously… or else!

This is what kept Israel in line for the most part with God’s plan to bring the messiah through their bloodline. Which was the entire purpose of the law. And why when Jesus came He fulfilled it so it could pass away. Leaving only the promise to Abraham for men to come into relationship with their Creator.

Paul also says here that because there was never a provision for eternal life given in the law, it would be only a temporary set of circumstances for Israel to live under. Because it would remain only “till the seed should come to whom the promise was made.” That seed is Jesus.

This is why Jesus said He came to fulfill the law. And that only after it was fulfilled could it pass away. Making faith that receives the promise given to Abraham the only means by which men could have eternal life.

This is why Paul goes on to say in vs.22, “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Showing us that the sin all men are concluded under is the sin of not believing in Jesus. Which is the only sin Jesus said He sent the Holy Spirit to reprove the world of. John16:9.

But, we also know that not every man has denied Jesus. Some like Zachariah and Elizabeth who walked in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless before Jesus came. Immediately trusted in Him when He came. God told us about them to show us that even though one can be sinless under the law they still need Jesus for eternal life.

This helps us see that what is meant by “the scripture has concluded all under sin” is that in the New Covenant Jesus is now the pivotal point that determines if a man is under sin or not. And that “they believe not on me” is that sin. And is the only sin that can keep men from inheriting the kingdom of God. Because now for a person not to be concluded under sin they must believe in Jesus. So that the works of the law will have nothing to do with this.

The only ones who think the being concluded under sin means all have broken the 10 commandments are those who are trusting in the wrong covenant. Because only under the law is sin defined by its violation. While under grace sin is defined as not believing in Jesus for eternal life.

As Paul continues explaining to these Jewish believers the meaning of their salvation he helps them understand that as long as they were under the law they were shut up unto the faith that has been revealed in Jesus. He said, “23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” Why? Because while we were under the law it “24 was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

In vs.24 when Paul says “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ”, they are to understand that it was a temporary covenant with God until Christ came. Just as he had already told them in vs.19.

If they had remembered the law they would have seen its fulfillment in the sacrifice of Jesus. Both by its timing and what it represented. The once for all sacrifice for sins under the law that accomplished all that the law had required for it’s fulfillment. And it’s passing away.

The testator of that covenant Himself being that sacrifice that redeemed the transgressions of all who were under it. Which Heb.9:15;17 says not only brought an end to the Old Covenant. But, also gave power to the New Covenant.

Saying in Heb.9 “And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

16 For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.

17 For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.”

So we see from this that the reason men were given foreskin was to have a completely unnecessary appendage God could use to symbolize His oh so necessary covenant with them. An appendage in the flesh that under the New Covenant would be fulfilled not by cutting the flesh. But, by a spirit birthed in those who believe as Abraham did.

Foreskin being an outward show of their faith toward God. And the spirit birthed in us an inward show of the same. This is why in Rom.4:1 Paul wrote, “What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?”

As a natural man he could not have found anything of the spirit. So the only way for God to symbolize a natural man like Abraham’s covenant with God by faith was by the flesh. The cutting off of the foreskin that would symbolize what God would later do in men’s hearts in the New Covenant.

By this Abraham found as pertains to the flesh that it was his faith that brought him into covenant with God. And not works. As Paul clearly states saying, “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.

3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

So it was not the work of circumcision that brought Abraham into covenant with God. It was his faith. Circumcision was only a symbol of the faith that joined him to God by faith. And that same circumcision, only now that is of the heart, is what now joins us to God.

Not temporarily as the law was because it was only in the flesh. Which Peter writes “is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” But, eternally. As are all who are born of God.

Not just of the fleshly water birth that Jesus describes for us in John3:1-8 when a man leaves his mother’s womb. But, of the Spirit of God by God’s seed which is the eternal word of God that remains in him. And he can not sin. Because he is born of God. As John so aptly puts it in 1John3:9.

The part of a man’s body that so easily becomes filthy. Constantly in need of cleansing. That when cut off symbolizes his cutting off of the filthiness of the world. And the being joined to God by faith that is the circumcision that is of the heart. A spirit created in us by God when we believe in Jesus for eternal life.

This happens when we say yes to the gospel message with our free will. And this yes brings us God’s gift of faith. A gift by which we are then able to receive the gift of eternal life. Which is the circumcision of the heart that is a spirit created in us by God that never existed before. A spirit that joins us with Him for all eternity.

By saying yes we confess with our mouth the Lord Jesus. By saying yes we believe in our hearts that Jesus has raised from the dead. By saying yes we agree with Jesus that He has made the only way through the wall of death. A wall that is the only thing that can keep men from being able to enter heaven.

If you will say yes to this gospel then you will be born again. If you will do this then you will have eternal life now. And immortality at the resurrection. If you will do this then you will be forever children of God and heirs to His kingdom. If you will do this… then I will see you there or in the air!

This message can also be heard at: https://rumble.com/v4xfh8c-we-have-by-the-spirit-the-circumcision-that-abraham-only-found-in-the-flesh.html

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