Saturday, March 29, 2014
“A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh” (Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).
The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live!
Israel wrongly believed they had automatic righteousness because they had JEHOVAH’S laws. They called Gentiles “sinners” and they overlooked their own shortcomings. In fact, the Scriptures say that the Gentiles, who did not have God’s laws, lived up to at least some of those standards; Israel, who had God’s laws, behaved just as badly or worse (Romans 2:1-27)! This ungodly behavior of Israel made Gentiles especially opposed to Israel’s God.
The Apostle Paul elaborated that Israel’s physical circumcision did not matter eternally unless it had an underlying spiritual (inward) circumcision. God wanted Israel to be physically and spiritually circumcised. “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 [the Law]; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:28,29). Israel’s outward circumcision was actually the symbol of the spiritual circumcision God would accomplish for them!
“For the Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). Remember, physical circumcision was “the sign” of the Abrahamic Covenant; it was “a seal of the righteousness of the faith which [Abraham] had being uncircumcised” (Romans 4:11). Physical circumcision reminded Israel of the faith they were to have in God’s Word, the faith that their father Abraham had. That faith Abraham had caused God to declare him righteous, cut off from Adam’s fallen nature, spiritually circumcised (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3).
Hence, physical circumcision indicated that Israel was God’s people (to be used for His glory). However, He could not use them (as sinners) until He also gave them a spiritual circumcision, a “circumcision of the heart” (Romans 2:29). Today’s Scripture shows how the Old Testament prophets foretold that God purposed to severe Israel from their Adamic sin nature….