Joshua and Judges: Circumcision of the heart, part 6. Jos 5:2-3; Col 2:8-11; Deu 30:6.

Class Outline:

Title: Joshua and Judges: Circumcision of the heart, part 6. JOS 5:2-3; COL 2:8-11; DEU 30:6.


Announcements / opening prayer:


Christian doctrines are not the main thing about Christianity. Christian doctrines are translations into our concepts and ideas of that which God has already expressed in a language more adequate. And this language more adequate is the actual, historical, lived language of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ. That's the primary language of Christianity. It's real, it's historical, it's tangible, and that is why it is truly alive.


Doctrines are not so richly meaningful as that which they are doctrines about - the person and work of Christ.


Expiation, atonement, sanctification, propitiation, reconciliation, justification are all about one real God-man and His historical and very real completed work. Therefore, there is a sort of mechanical and systematic way of study in Christianity, but that is less than what it is to lead you to, which is a very real and tangible relationship with Christ. This doesn't degrade systematic theology or doctrines, but rather reveals how important they are, but they are not an end in themselves. They are not so richly meaningful as that which they are doctrines about.


COL 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.


COL 2:9 For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form,


COL 2:10 and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;


Part of the false teaching at the time was that the believing Gentiles needed to get circumcised. But Paul makes clear here that we were circumcised at salvation, but not overtly, but with a different and far superior circumcision of the heart.


COL 2:11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;


The body that was put off when the saints are saved is the physical body as dominated by the totally depraved nature. While still in possession of it, it is rendered inoperative as far as mastery.


This body, while still the possession of the believer, was put off in the sense that it was rendered inoperative so far as the constant control of the evil nature was concerned.


Paul states the same truth in ROM 6:6 when he says:


ROM 6:6

knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin;


This is why we can so easily turn to Him to come to know Him and follow Him in love, which was impossible before. At salvation we each received circumcision of the heart so that the eyes of our heart can now behold Him and fellowship with Him.


1JO 1:1 What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life — 


1JO 1:2 and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us — 


1JO 1:3 what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.


Now we can each conquer our own Jericho, but not from the flesh, but from the Spirit of God.


2CO 10:3-4

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.


The power of the sinful nature was broken, and it was deprived of its control over the body.


Again, this is not the circumcision of Abraham but the circumcision of Christ. Yet as Abraham's circumcision was a symbol of God love and faithfulness to Israel which demanded an obligation for them to follow Him, so the circumcision of Christ demands an obligation to follow Him in the church age.


The fleshly circumcision removed only a portion of the body.


In spiritual circumcision, through Christ, the whole corrupt, carnal nature is put away like a garment which is taken off and laid aside, however, its pull towards sin and evil remain.


We must be careful to note here that the evil nature is not eradicated. That remains in the believer until death.


1JO 1:8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.


Its power is broken, and it has no more power over the believer than he allows it to have. It is the physical body as dominated by the evil nature that is put away in favor of a physical body now dominated by the divine nature.


2PE 1:4

For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.


Which nature would you think has a greater power? It is obvious that the divine nature has superior power to the old nature which has had it dominion destroyed through crucifixion.


This doesn't mean that its pull towards sin has been destroyed, but that it can no longer be a master and that a divine nature given far excels this pull.


We have no equivalent in the world that we can refer to for understanding. It might be likened to a dead thing that still carries a putrid smell and disease. It is dead but it still has influence and the divine nature given far excels it in power.


So then, the body of the flesh has no more power than the believer allows it to have.


COL 2:11 and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ;


COL 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.


The believing sinner's identification with Christ in His death, broke the power of indwelling sin. His identification with Him in His resurrection, resulted in the impartation of the divine nature.


The baptism (placing, introduction into) is that effected by the Holy Spirit.


ROM 6:3 Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death?


ROM 6:4 Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.


Thus, "risen with Him" does not refer to our future physical resurrection, but to that spiritual resurrection from a sinful state into divine life.


This was in answer to our faith in the operation of God who raised Christ from the dead.


So we have the circumcision of the heart in the New Testament which is a circumcision of Christ. It occurred at salvation and it obligates us to turn the eyes of our new heart towards Him.


God made a fish as a creature that is obligated to breath oxygen from under the water. God made a new creature in Christ that is obligated to turn his heart to occupation with Christ. Any other occupation results in a complete lack of spiritual function, or a walking death.


In occupation with Christ we learn of Him and His spiritual life. We follow Him in that very life that is Christ and has been gifted to us.