Monday, March 31, 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!
God instituted physical circumcision with Abraham to show him that his posterity—the nation Israel that would come through his son Isaac, grandson Jacob, and 12 great-grandsons (Israel’s 12 tribes)—would not come about due to Abraham’s (fallible) human performance, but JEHOVAH’S divine power. In every way, Israel would be God’s nation, God’s creation; contrariwise, the (uncircumcised) Gentiles were under Satan’s control (Ephesians 2:1-12).
Once physical circumcision was incorporated into the Mosaic Law (Leviticus 12:3), its underlying spiritual truth (spiritual circumcision) was overlooked. Israel worshipped physical circumcision instead of remembering what really mattered—the spiritual circumcision it symbolized. Jews bragged about their physical circumcision (today’s equivalent is, “Look, we joined the church, confessed our sins, gave a tithe, got water baptized…!”). The Scriptures say that while this generated “the praise of men,” the circumcision that God ultimately looked for in a Jew was regeneration, a cutting off of the Adamic nature, dead to sin and able to be used of JEHOVAH (Romans 2:28,29).
The Prophet Jeremiah, rebuking Israel for her apostasy and warning her of God’s impending chastisement (the Babylonian invasion and captivity just a few decades away), preached: “For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem” (4:3,4). Moses urged Israel, “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked [rebellious toward God’s Word]” (Deuteronomy 10:16).
Israel had their physical foreskins removed, but they still had a heart problem—they had not submitted to God’s righteousness and were rebelling against God’s will for them (sin; Jeremiah 17:9). They were still attached to their sin nature, and until they confessed (admitted) their wickedness, God could not give them the heart transplant they so desperately needed….