Phil 3:3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who worship by the Spirit of God, who glory in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh… We are the circumcision? If we do not know what circumcision is, how will we ever understand that we are the circumcision? According to the covenant made by God with Abraham, the cutting of the foreskin of the penis is a symbolic performance of the act of circumcision. “Every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised” was God’s deal. Many Jewish people do this as a traditional ritual on the 8th day of the male child’s life.
Simply put, circum is a prefix that means ‘round about’ and cision has to do with cutting, from the word incision. Circumcision means to cut around, cut out or completely cut off without any attachment.
When God promised Abram about his descendents as numerous as the stars and as countless as the sand, he was 75 years old. He went through circumcision as a 99-year-old man and his son Ishmael as a 13-year-old teenager. What old man or a teenager wants to be circumcised? The point was to get rid off of that confidence in the flesh; to be completely cut out, with nothing attached to. Circumcision is an unpleasant thing, it is bloody, painful and it is public. It is humiliating and it is shameful.
“We are the circumcision” requires a lifestyle that is willing to be publicly unpleasant, publicly bloody, publicly painful, humiliating and shameful. This is the only way that God empties us. We may not be 99 yet, but when we allow God happen to us, we may feel like one. It is the way of the cross, the baptism of fire; it is the dying to Self. It is the circumcision done by Christ. It is not about you at all, Abram; it’s all about me. It is not about your ability, not your gifts and talents, your image, your identity, your brain, the good things that you cherish, it’s not about you, it’s all about me. Get rid off of that confidence in your flesh.
Without this detachment, we will never be able to live with Christ, because we have not died to the uncrucified desires and lusts of our Self. We will continue to do “dead works”– works done motivated by flesh, the way the world thinks and works, which is the very first thing newborn followers of Christ need to repent of. As a result, we end up fleshly – people who do what we know we should not be doing, and not doing what we know we should. Torn, limping on both legs, lukewarm – an abomination to Jesus and others around us. Heb 6:1 Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God.
“My Kingdom is not of this world” says Jesus. “My Kingdom is from another place”.
And yet how much world we try to bring into the Kingdom of God! How difficult it is for us to be circumcised and live detached from the world and its ways!
He prayed this for his disciples while he was still on this earth:
I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world
I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me;
for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
but they are still in the world, Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory
Jesus was praying on the act of cutting away from the world and its pattern, its standards, its affairs, its wisdom, ways and principles, everything that gives us confidence in our flesh; things in this world that give us security, identity and safety. If we cannot permit public humiliation and shame, public bloodshed and pain and unpleasantness happen to us, then we cannot see His glory.
Are we circumcised yet? Are we cut out of the world? Are we cut around completely off the flesh? Are there still some things attached? Are we still dancing religion in a holy masquerade? Let Jesus publicly put us to shame, humiliation, pain and blood. It is unpleasant but it is necessary to empty us.
Col 2:11 In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.
To be continued.