“Unity In/Through Christ”
1. The Covenant of Circumcision.
Abraham was declared righteous BEFORE circumcision.
Genesis 15:6 NASB And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
Genesis 17:9-11 NASB God said further to Abraham, ″Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. 10 This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you.
Circumcision is an external picture of God's internal work.
Deuteronomy 30:6 NASB ″Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and all your soul, so that you may live.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 NASB Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put My Spirit within you and bring it about that you walk in My statutes, and are careful and follow My ordinances.
2. The Cultural Classification of Circumcision.
The Bible identifies people as circumcised or uncircumcised.
Ephesians 2:11 NASB Therefore remember that previously you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called ″Uncircumcision″ by the so-called ″Circumcision″ which is performed in the flesh by human hands
1 Samuel 17:26 NASB Then David said to the men who were standing by him, ″What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and rids Israel of the disgrace? For who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he has dared to defy the armies of the living God?″
Circumcision was a serious issue in the early church.
Acts 15:5-11 NASB But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, ″It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to keep the Law of Moses.″ 6 The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter. 7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, ″Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; 9 and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. 10 Since this is the case, why are you putting God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our forefathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.″
3. The Hostility Between Circumcised and Uncircumcised
For centuries, the two were separated physically and spiritually.
Ephesians 2:14 NASB For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,
For centuries, the two had a contentious relationship.
Ephesians 2:15-16 NASB by abolishing in His flesh the hostility, which is the Law composed of commandments expressed in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two one new person, in this way establishing peace; 16 and that He might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the hostility.
4. The Church Unites the Two.
In Christ, God has broken down what used to separate people.
Ephesians 2:17-19 NASB And He came and preached peace to you who were far away, and peace to those who were near; 18 for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19 So then you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God's household,
God is using the two to uniquely bring about salvation.
Romans 11:11 NASB I say then, [ Israel ] did not stumble so as to fall, did they? Far from it! But by their wrongdoing salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make [ Israel ] jealous. 12 Now if their wrongdoing proves to be riches for the world, and their failure, riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!
This message has an accompanying Breakout Group lesson: