Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called uncircumcision by that which is called the circumcision in the flesh made by hands (Ephesians 2:11).
- You were called the uncircumcision by the Jews who are called the circumcision in the flesh.
In Philippians 3 the apostle Paul says, “Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
- The concision is a reference to those who boast in physical circumcision in the flesh. However, according to the apostle Paul, those who are in Christ are the circumcision which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. In this we can see the contrast between circumcision in the flesh and circumcision in the spirit.
- Paul goes on in the following verses (4-14) to disqualify any right he had as a circumcised Jew to boast in his flesh so that his boasting may be found only in Christ Jesus.
In Colossians 2, Paul tells the believers at Colosse that they were “circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.”
- In Ephesians 2, Paul speaks of “the circumcision” a reference to Jews in the flesh, as the circumcision in the flesh made by hands.
- The physical circumcision of the ethnic Jew was in the flesh and made with human hands. True circumcision comes through faith in Jesus Christ and is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart. This is “the circumcision” we receive through faith in Christ as mentioned above.
In Romans 2, Paul says to the ethnic Jew, “For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law: but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision” (Romans 2:25).
- Jews in the flesh, who do not follow the law of God which would lead them to Christ, are uncircumcised in the eyes of God.
Paul continues in Romans 2 saying, “Therefore if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the Law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision?” (Romans 2:26).
- Again, the uncircumcision is a reference to the Gentiles who were outside the covenants given to Israel.
- The righteousness of the Law does not refer to the “works of the Law” but faith as Paul details throughout Romans.
- Those who obey God though faith are the true circumcision regardless if they are Jews (circumcised in the flesh) or Gentiles (uncircumcised in the flesh).
Paul continues, “And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfill the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law?” (Romans 2:27).
- The true circumcision of the heart is set over against the outward circumcision of the flesh. Heart circumcision knows no ethnicity.
Finally, Paul says, “For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God” (Romans 2:28-29).
- The true Jew in the eyes of God is the one who has the circumcised heart. It has nothing to do with ethnicity.