Pauls Footsteps #249

From Rom1:25ff Paul enters the same argument on circumcision that he had presented in Galatians about 10 years earlier. Circumcision was the outward sign of the covenant that God made with the father of the Jewish nation – Abraham. To the misplaced confidence of a Jew, circumcision guaranteed salvation. Paul in today’s passage rejects such a belief. Attaching no saving value to the physical act of circumcision, he plainly states in Romans 2 and Galatians 5:3 that circumcision had no significance unless a person obeyed the “whole law.” 

His position directly challenged Jewish feelings of security, because he had demonstrated in Romans 2:17-24 that the Jews were guilty before God because they were lawbreakers. Paul then came to the frightful conclusion in verse 25 that if they broke the law they had become as if they had not been circumcised. That was serious. If they couldn’t place their trust for salvation in either the law or circumcision, what could they do? Paul can’t wait to tell them the answer to that question. In v26 he continues to challenge their theology of circumcision and the assurance that it brought to them. Paul is indicating that the Gentiles stand on an equal footing with a Jew when it comes to God’s promises if they indeed were keeping the law. He had already indicated that Jews and Gentiles alike faced the same judgment. 

What Paul said profoundly shocked his Jewish readers. Traditionally they had pictured themselves as sitting in judgment on the uncircumcised pagans. But the roles could actually be reversed. What counts with God is not the outward symbol of circumcision but an attitude of total surrender to doing His will. 

This is very relevant when we take the principle into the 21st century. Church membership or baptism saves no one. They are signs of our spiritual allegiance for sure, but there is nothing salvific about belonging to a church. 

Salvation, as Paul will explain, comes from accepting God’s grace through faith. A saved person will seek to do God’s will. Within that context, such things as baptism and church membership have genuine meaning. Outside of it, they are meaningless

No Comments

Post A Comment