For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God. Romans 2:25-29
Circumcision, the word makes even the toughest guy squeamish. It is not a part of our body we like to associate with sharp objects. Yet that is what God ordered Abraham to do to himself and all the males in his family. Abraham at least had God tell him what to do, but I can only imaging what the other male in his household had to say when Abraham told them what he was going to do. “You’re going to do what with that knife?” Talk about a leap.
God had His people circumcised not to inflect pain but to set them apart from every other peoples. Many of the Jewish Christians wanted the Gentile Christians to first become Jewish and then they could be Christian. That included accepting the law, including circumcision. To the Jews this was no big deal. They had already been circumcised. Of course they had it done when they were eight days old so as adults they had no memory of the procedure. It is one thing to have it done as a baby, quite another to have it done as an adult. I can imagine this being a major stumbling block to conversion. Yet Paul tells us that this circumcision, this setting apart should not be a physical effect but an inward effect. The Jews circumcision should only be a physical manifestation of a changed heart.
Unless Christ changes our hearts, no change in our physical appearance means anything. Here in the US baby boys are routinely circumcised, this does not make them Jewish any more than dunking someone under water makes them Christian. What makes us followers of Christ is our faith and the change that accepting Him makes in our hearts. The rest is window dressing.
It is changing lives that mark the Christian not going to church, being baptized, tithing or good works. All of those are manifestations of Christ but they are not what make us Christian. Many no believers do good works, help the poor and are kind to others. Only the Christian has a personal relationship with God.
Paul warns us not to put stock on the outward man but on the inward man. It is what is inside us that counts. The most beautiful package in the world may contain a snake while a lowly paper bag may contain a diamond.
Have a blessed day,