Help Me Here

Paul makes this argument in Romans 2:

25Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. 26If those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? 27The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the[c] written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.

28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

If outward circumcision was “required” of the Jew, and Paul argues that God judges real circumcision as “of the heart”, then consider:

25Circumcision baptism has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised baptized. 26If those who are not circumcised baptized keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised baptized? 27The one who is not circumcised baptized physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision baptism, are a lawbreaker.

28A man is not a Jew Christian if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision baptism merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew Christian if he is one inwardly; and circumcision baptism is circumcision baptism of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.

Your thoughts welcome here.

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3 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Church of Christ, Religion

3 responses to “Help Me Here

  1. as much i believe baptism is a command from God to do, i do not believe it is the same as circumcision. as you said…circumcision is of the heart…it i had to apply it anywhere, i would have to say it’s the lifestyle of the sermon on the mount. it also references that day where God will “make a new covenant…replace a heart of stone with a heart of flesh…and write His statutes on their hearts”. while that does talk about israel, i believe it is also for gentile and jew alike.

    so true circumcision is living a life talked about in the sermon on the mount (matt 5-7) with God helping you attain it…cause there is no way you can do it by yourself. therefore, those who reject God’s help…reject the “circumcision of the heart”

    just my thoughts 🙂

  2. There are some parallels between baptism and circumcision. The Jews viewed circumcision in ways similar to how we view baptism. I don’t think it quite fits this passage to change it up like that but it is thought provoking.

    Baptism and circumcision are both passive acts – it is done to you.

    The Jews believed that you had to be circumcised to be an heir of the promise and experience the blessings found in the covenant. They saw it as an initiating experience that paired with the correct lineage made you a part of God’s family. You weren’t out if you failed to keep the law properly. You were excluded from your inheritance if you did not keep the identity focused parts of the law – the things that made them a distinct people (circumcision, Sabbath, dietary laws, special days).

    There are some parallels there with baptism. Of course circumcision was normally done on infants and there is no biblical precedent for that.

  3. Having Paul’s passage in mind, I was recently prompted to read this:

    November 1837 (Millennial Harbinger)
    Alexander Campbell stated:

    “Can a person who simply, not perversely, mistakes the outward baptism, have the inward? We all agree that he who willfully or negligently perverts the outward, cannot have the inward. But can he who, through a simple mistake, involving no perversity of mind, has misapprehended the outward baptism, yet submitting to it according to his view of it, have the inward baptism which changes his state and has praise of God, though not of all men? is the precise question. To which I answer, that, in my opinion, it is possible. Farther than this, I do not affirm.”

    Somehow Campbell’s position seems to parallel what I had wondered about after reading Paul’s circumcision/uncircumcision argument.

    Thanks for stopping by. I often stop by your blog: http://mattdabbs.blogspot.com/

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