What would you think if a local church in your area taught Christians that “the law of physical circumcision is an eternal principle, because it was a part of Abraham’s covenant with God. Therefore Christians are still obligated by God to keep the law of physical circumcision to be blessed, and if they don’t, they’re cursed with a curse”?
If you’re a born-again Christian who understands the Good News message, then you would probably think that this is a false teaching because the law of physical circumcision isn’t an eternal principle.
An “eternal principle” is a spiritual truth which applies to ALL people throughout ALL time periods. Yet no one was required to be physically circumcised before Abraham, and no one is required to be physically circumcised in the New Covenant. God never required all people in all time periods to be physically circumcised.
The law of physical circumcision was exclusive to Abraham’s covenant with God and the Old Covenant. This law was not carried forward into the New Covenant.
In the New Covenant, we received a spiritual circumcision from the Holy Spirit who circumcised or “cut off” the uncleanness of our heart, producing a changed heart (Romans 2:28-29). “For we who worship by the Spirit of God are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort,” (Philippians 3:3)
Keeping the law of physical circumcision in order to be right with God and be blessed, is a return to the Old Covenant and legalism. And any local church which would teach such a thing would be perverting the Good News which declares that God makes us right with Him by faith in the Person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ — not by keeping the works of the Law of Moses.
Most Christians understand the serious error of placing God’s people back under the law of physical circumcision. And yet, some of us are not able to detect the very same error in placing God’s people back under the tithe. Both errors are the same, because both practices (physical circumcision and tithing) were temporary Old Covenant ordinances which ended at the Cross and were not carried forward into the New Covenant.
This serious error of placing God’s people back under the Old Covenant system of Law was a big problem in the body of Christ during the 1st century. It was confronted and rebuked by the apostles in the Book of Acts, 2 Corinthians, Hebrews, and Galatians. In the very next article, we are going to revisit these texts and see exactly how God feels about leaders re-instituting Old Covenant ordinances and placing His people back under the Old Covenant system of Law.
Click here for the next article in this series.