Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ugh, Circumcision Again?

In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. Colossians 2:11-12

Circumcision is a sensitive issue all of the way around. God gave the covenant of circumcision to Abraham in Genesis 17. It was highly personal. It was highly painful. Yet something so personal, painful and private became the assurance of belonging to God. …until Jesus changed the game.

The work that Jesus does involves altering our nature rather than just a part of our anatomy. It wasn’t enough to look like you belonged to God. Jesus made things even more personal. The new requirement was to act like you belonged to God.

At this point, you might be thinking, “Great. Now what is that going to cost me?” It really doesn’t cost us. Christ took care of the cost. It’s Jesus’ work, not ours, that guarantees our assurance.

The symbol for Christ’s work is baptism. Note that baptism is a symbol, not the work itself. Just like a wedding ring is a symbol of marriage, baptism is a symbol of salvation. If you lost your wedding ring, it doesn’t mean that you lost your marriage.

The symbol is that when a believer goes down into the water, they are buried in Christ. Their old self, their sinful nature is dead to them. Then, when they are raised up, it symbolizes how spiritually they are raised from the dead “through [their] faith in the power of God.” it’s pretty amazing to think that the power that raised Christ from the dead is coursing through the believer’s veins.

Our security with God is not held in a membership card, a baptismal certificate, regular church attendance or the forsaking of all fun. Our security is in Christ. Belonging to Christ is all we need to please God and to enjoy the life we were meant to live.

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  1. Great post, Allen! I do however believe that something more than just symbolism happens at a believer's baptism... when I was baptized in the lake at 19 on 10/15/1972, I knew and sensed that something spiritually happened inside - not just a wet body and a symbol. It was a cold day in New Hampshire, and some of us were shivering even before we stepped in the water. When I came up from the dunking, I was suddenly all warm, not just emotionally but physically, and filled with joy. ;-) But I agree, baptism is not the work itself. I knew I was saved before I went under the water.. but there was a definite something wonderful that happened in the dunking... ;-)

  2. You have a great story. Have you considered it was hypothermia? Just kidding. Thanks for sharing your experience.