Thursday, October 8, 2009

Circumcision and Salvation


I was listening to Scripture this week as I drove from job to job. A section from Acts 15 stood out to me:

Some men came from Judea to Antioch and started teaching the believers, "You cannot be saved unless you are circumcised as the Law of Moses requires."
It was a question that required Paul and Barnabas to meet with the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. After much debate it was affirmed that circumcision was not necessary for salvation.

As I listened to the reading, I thought how things would be different if the answer had been different. Can you imaging the change in evangelism?  “Oh, by the way, there is one more thing I need to tell you” he said as he sharpened the razor. I guess that would have winnowed out the insincere.

Sometimes I think we want to make it too easy for people who come to Jesus. I know that salvation is by grace through faith and works don’t add a thing so I’m not advocating adding to the gospel but what about after?

I think about some people I know who started coming to a church I used to go to. They both had “interesting” backgrounds. There seemed a hesitation to encourage them to separate from those backgrounds. One worked at a head shop/tattoo parlor, the other held a lot of aberrant spiritual ideas. Over time the old ideas and ways of doing things caught up with them and caused them to stumble.

I wonder if being too soft on them lead to their downfall? Should they have been encouraged to make a separation from the old behaviors and ways of thinking?

In the Old Testament, circumcision was a sign of separation, consecration, covenant and purity. It showed they were the people of God.

What are our signs today? Sometimes we seem too eager to show that we are no different from the world except that we are “saved by grace”. Many talk the same, drink the same, smoke the same, look the same, live the same and take pride in that.

What should our signs be? What sets us apart? One thing Jesus said is that our love for one another would show we are his disciples. What else are the true signs of a follower of Jesus?

Philip

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