Wednesday, January 18, 2012

But Faith

Galatians 5:6

Paul is explaining again, as he has so many other times, that circumcision and uncircumcision mean nothing as far as our salvation is concerned.

John 7:22 says, "Moses therefore gave unto you circumcision." John 1:17 says that "... the law was given by Moses." So, we are speaking about the law when we speak about circumcision. Circumcision was the sign of a law covenant between God and Israel, and it runs parallel to God's conditional promise to keep Israel in the land if they will obey all of his laws, Exod. 19:5 Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Circumcision, then, was an important part of Israel's obedience to God when he was building, promoting, protecting, and promising Israel. Circumcision was to be done on the eighth day after birth, and it was kept in the main by Israel except for some aberrations at times. In those times God disciplined Israel for not keeping the commandments of God.

Circumcision is a type of sin, and sin must be dealt with. Sin is the excess flesh, if you will, that is detestable even to the mind. So, God in a type had Israel to rid themselves of that excess skin in the flesh in order to picture the ridding of one's sin in the flesh; and Paul teaches us that for sin circumcision is ineffective. Circumcision is only a sign, a type, not a real spiritual rebirth.

Circumcision will not rid a person of sin, but faith will. Remember it is the faith that is by the grace of God, and only that faith, that can save. This faith works by love, for God so loved. He loved me so much that he came to earth and died for my sins personally, and it is only by faith in him that will work.

It is faith that works, not we ourselves; and faith works because Christ is the object of it and because that faith is in the work that Christ did in his death, burial, and resurrection. Therefore, baptism, communion, church membership, doing good deeds, or believing a particular set of doctrines will not and cannot save: it cannot rid a person of his sins; but faith can.

There is no difference, then, between the Jew and the Greek (Gentile): Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

The waters of baptism cannot save,
but faith can.

The force of the law can't make us behave,
but faith can.

So the heart of the matter
Makes wickedness scatter

The works of the law can't save us at all,
but faith can.

6 comments:

Dr. Ron Wolfe said...

I have appended a clause in paragraph #6 due to a discussion from a friend to make it clear that I do not believe that faith is a work.

Bart said...

I was a bit taken back by your statement "Circumcision is a type of sin." I'm hoping I misunderstand that statement. Circumcision was a requirement of the law. Avoiding circumcision under the Mosaic law was a sin for a Hebrew.

Also, the "excess skin" concept you mention is found nowhere in scripture. To imply that the uncut male body is sinful is to imply that God made us imperfect. The law of circumcision was started by a "pact" (if you will) between Abraham and Jehovah God. To demonstrate continuance of that agreement, all offspring were to demonstrate loyalty to God. Even non-Israelites males who converted to Judaism were required to show their full acceptance of the faith by being circumcised.

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