Unlimited: Circumcision as a Sign of Righteousness by Faith
Jul 14, 2022 385
And he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised (Romans 4:11a).
The apostle tells us that the circumcision of the Jews wasn’t a requirement for being righteous, but instead was a sign and a seal of the righteousness he already had. It was a sign of something that was already present. Also, just as a person would place a seal on a transaction that had already been done, to signify it and certify it, so too circumcision followed righteousness having already been credited. This is the proper role of obedience in the life of a follower of God.
Paul is explaining here that circumcision has a deep spiritual meaning. Paul tells us that for the Jewish people, circumcision was a sign of righteousness by faith.
We receive God’s righteousness by accepting God’s work on our behalf, and not through our own doing.
It was after Abraham had not believed God’s word, that he attempted to fulfil it himself, through his own flesh. God had told him that he and Sarah would have a son, but he attempted to fulfil the promise with Sarah’s servant, Hagar, instead. As a result, God gave Abraham a sign in his own flesh, so that he would always remember to distrust his own flesh and to trust God to fulfil his word instead.
Christians don’t practice circumcision, but we do believe in what it meant. We receive God’s righteousness by accepting God’s work on our behalf, and not through our own doing.
In light of the above, what is the meaning of this verse?
The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live (Deuteronomy 30:6.)