16
Nov
11

Circumcision, Marriage, Baptism

20111115-082347.jpgBaptism is a big part of the salvation recipe. When we are baptized, we enter into a declaration that we openly accept God’s offering of grace, and that we dedicate our commitment to follow the one true God. Like the marriage ceremony, it is a public declaration of a life-changing commitment. During Old Testament times, this physical sign of dedication to the Lord took on a different form – circumcision. But, did the single act of circumcision guarantee that the heart was in the right place?

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh— Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the desert in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”Jeremiah 9:25-26

“The whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart” tells me that the outward sign itself is no guarantee that the circumcised person involved is in a covenant agreement with God. Think of it in terms of a marriage bond – the presence of a ring on the left hand is no guarantee of faithful commitment if the wearer is living a life of adultery. Likewise, the act of baptism is not an automatic pass for a person into the kingdom of heaven. Oh, I know that this begs further discussion into salvation by grace, not works, but for now it is important to see that God looked upon His circumcised people at one time as unfaithful, and they merited His punishment, not His grace. This serves as a warning to us, as well. Our commitment to God is an ongoing thing, not a one-time receipt of a “Get Out of Jail Free” card.

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