Circumcised of the heart, buried with Him in baptism, and raised through Him by faith. This spiritual separation from the rest of the world is the power of God’s grace that Christians have to walk in while here on earth.
Colossians 2:11-12 “11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
In Jewish culture circumcision was the focal point of their religion. It was the definitive status that separated them from other men, but also was their sign of separation unto God. Its origin was with Abraham and was continued on with the Law of Moses. The actual act or process does not make a person a Jew, as there are many non-Jewish boys born in the US are circumcised the day after birth for health and future cleanliness reasons. In the Jewish culture it was more ritualistic and done on the eighth day of the boy’s birth. The focal point is in the separation unto God and commitment to holiness and with the Law of Moses, was the indicator that the child would live by the Law and would be found in right standing with God. The provision was that “every” law and ordinance was followed flawlessly; an impossible task even for the circumcised. Paul is addressing this topic even though the Colossians were not all Jewish converts, but rather mostly Gentile converts because those who were Jewish converts into Christianity were insisting the Gentiles need to be circumcised in addition to accepting Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. In Galatians 6:13 Paul states that these Jewish people demanding Gentile converts to become circumcised were boasting in the flesh of the new convert, “For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.” Remember that to be a circumcised Jew was to be a child of God which is what Christians already are, but physical circumcision is not the answer. Romans 2:28 “For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.” Romans 9:8 is further confirmation that the act of circumcision is nothing, “That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.”
In Christ Jesus we are circumcised, but it is spiritual in that we are separated from the rest of the human race as children of God by faith and our confession of Jesus as our Lord and savior. Circumcision signifies the separation from others, both in the Law of Moses and spiritually today. Spiritual circumcision is a separation of the Old Testament requirements against man because they were nailed on the cross with Jesus. Once the circumcised skin is removed it cannot grow back and once we are born again our sins are cut off and cannot come back on us as judgments against us. The reason we continue to sin is not because of our “sin nature”; that has been cut off. Christians still sin because they have not renewed their minds. This removal from sin was done by the death and resurrection of Jesus, Colossians 2:11c. How is that so? Remember when Jesus was born He was born under the Law, born into the tribe of Judah. Jesus was circumcised in the flesh on the eighth day of His birth. He was set apart physically unto God, but Jesus also lived a sinless life. He was born “without” the “sin nature” that all the rest of the descendants of Adam were born with. He did not have to renew His mind from sinful thinking since He was born of the Spirit of God and not the spirit of Adam. Jesus’ life here on earth started out pure unto God because He was God manifested in the flesh and started out like a baby just like all the rest of us did except Adam. Under the Old Testament the only way a human could stand righteous before God was to live a perfect sinless life before Him, but man’s sin nature and sin mindedness keeps everyone from attaining God’s requirement for perfection. Since Adam gave his God given authority over to Satan in the Garden of Eden, sin and death entered the world, and man could no longer enter into the presence of God. Because Jesus, God in the flesh, born of a woman, lived a sinless life; when He was crucified on the cross death could not hold Him because death only entered into the world when sin did and He lived a sinless perfect life. Jesus was the only human to live the Law of Moses without any flaws only because of who He was. Because Jesus met 100% of God’s requirements He broke the bondage of sin and death.
This truth of what Jesus did on the cross is the most important thing to understand because verse 12 is the clincher on how we can enter into a perfect relationship with God. Baptism into Jesus is the key. Jesus Himself said that the only way to God was through Him and it was through baptism. As verse 12 says when we are baptized we are in fact being buried with Him and when we are raised out of the water “not of our own power” with the help of a baptizer, we are raised with Him through faith into the presence of God. Jesus did not raise Himself from the grave; God did so through the power of His Holy Spirit and could only do so because the grave could not hold a pure and holy Man. It is only by faith we are saved. It is only by faith we are raised from the dead and it is only by faith and the renewing of our minds that we can walk in the light as He is in the light. Romans 6:3-10 is worth reading for additional clarification on baptism into Christ Jesus.
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