21st Century Circumcision
Posted: Feb 29, 2012 in Uncategorized | No Comments |

So where does this rank on all time weird and awkward blog titles?  I know you probably didn’t walk up on this beautiful Monday morning and think to yourself, “I would love to hear a blog about circumcision today.”  One thing is for sure, reading the withexpectancy blog is kind of like watching the movie Forrest Gump; you never quite know what you’re gonna get.

I love reading about Peter and Paul’s adventures as they and others began the quest of spreading the gospel all around the world.  I really don’t think the early church was a lot different from ours today in some respects.  The early church was filled with imperfect people, which meant that they had an imperfect church.  Not much has changed over the last 2,000 years.  Our people are still imperfect and so are our churches.  The apostles were having a bit of a dispute with the early church leaders particularly from Jerusalem.  When Jesus ascended to Heaven after rising from the grave, He instructed the disciples to take the good news (gospel) and share it all over the world.  The disciples did just that.  Gentiles (non Jews) were finding Christ for the first time.  When the disciples came back from their journey to share the exciting news with the church leaders in Jerusalem, they were met with a bit of hesitation.

The early church leaders in Jerusalem said to the apostles something to the affect of, “that’s great the these people have met Christ, now when are they going to be circumcised?”

Circumcision was and still is a Jewish custom.  In the Old Testament, God mandated circumcision for the Jewish people as a way of setting them apart and making them different than any other people.  After a baby boy was 8 days old, they would be taken to have a circumcision ceremony done marking them as officially one of God’s chosen people.  When Jesus came and introduced the new covenant, it was a way of Him saying, “there is a new sheriff in town.”  In other words, no longer will you be set apart and be made right in God’s eyes because of a painful circumcision process that babies go through.  You are set apart and made right with God because of what I am about to do for you on the cross.

The first church battled some of the same things we still battle today.  Jews were trying to force circumcision on the new gentile converts as if to say, “you can’t be saved unless you do this.”  They were convinced that honoring this tradition was paramount to salvation.  The apostles intervened and explained that it is not a ritual that makes you right with God, it’s believing in Christ through faith.  Often, we in Christian circles try to add stipulations to following Christ out of our own tradition, not because Jesus commanded it.

Jesus called us to be fishers of men not cleaners of men.  He has promised that if we will focus on catching the fish, He will focus on cleaning them.  We need to focus on sharing the good news of grace and let the Holy Spirit go to work on all the other stuff.  In today’s church, we may not say to a new believer that they have to be circumcised before following Christ.  Our expectations have changed.  We now say things like, “when you come to church, you need to dress a certain way or sing a certain way or respond a certain way.”  I am so grateful that Jesus came and made all things new.

With Expectancy!

Corey

corey@firstassemblywest.com