Circumcision of the Heart

Romans 2:25-29 For circumcision verily profit, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision do transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. 

‘But if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision’ Circumcision was only profitable if the law was kept. If Israel broke the law they were just as much uncircumcised as Gentiles, for this was a sign of keeping the Law of Moses. If Gentiles who were not circumcised in the flesh kept the law by nature (2:12-16), then, in reality, they were the circumcised ones (2:26-27), for circumcision was a rite representing something spiritual – the purification of the heart (Jer. 4:4-10; 9:26; Ezek. 44:7-9; Rom. 2:29).

‘Shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision does transgress the law?’ The Jews were quick to judge others because they saw themselves as privileged being God’s nation. They made the types (circumcision, sabbaths, sacrifices, the Law of Moses, etc.) that was given to them to illustrate what Christ came to do for mankind a religion instead of serving God Himself.

‘If it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?’ The question here was that if a Gentile who is not circumcised keeps the law and the Jews did not, are the Jews not condemned as sinners by the Gentile, even though the Jews were circumcised?

‘For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh’ a true Jew is not the one who is circumcised in the flesh, neither is true circumcision in the flesh. A true Jew is one that has inward circumcision of the heart and in the spirit and has more than an outward cutting in the flesh and a profession of truth. This does not teach that every Christian is a Jew, but to be a true Jew one must be of the seed of Abraham, and have circumcision of the heart, and be a child of the promise (2:28-29; 9:6-7).

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