Victory over Sins of the Flesh

Col. 2:11. “In whom 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.”

God established circumcision (Genesis 17:10-13) as a sign of God’s covenant with the Hebrew people. The purpose of this post is not to discuss circumcision itself, but rather to consider the circumcision not made with hands. It is not a physical act in God’s economy in this age; it is, instead, an inner act of submission, repentance, and determination to consecrate one’s life to Him.

More important, it is a voluntary act. In the Old Testament, circumcision was performed on a male child at eight days after his birth, and was a physical sign of God’s covenant. The baby had no choice in what was done to him.

In Colosse, most of the believers were Gentiles, who had never been circumcised. Contrary to what some Judaizers believed and taught, it was not a necessary part of salvation for new believers. It was part of the Old Testament law, not applicable after Jesus died and rose again to provide salvation for all.

It was, and still is, a “circumcision” of the heart. It is an understanding of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sin and our need of salvation that can come only through His death and resurrection.

It is a decision each new believer makes about putting off the old sins of the flesh, turning around and walking the other way (the definition of repentance) and choosing to allow oneself to be consumed with love and service to the Redeemer.

Paul used a strong metaphor in the words putting off the sins of the flesh. The phrase pictures a deliberate removal, casting off and discarding a filthy garment, never to be used again. That choice is the spiritual circumcision of the heart through Jesus Christ.

More on this topic in tomorrow’s study.

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