In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
Though circumcision is a graphic analogy, it's one with which the Colossian believers would have been familiar. It is the cutting away of flesh. And in Jewish terms, it is the cutting away of uncleanness. This passage tells us that Christians have undergone a circumcision of our own. Though it is not physical, it is just as real. It is a cutting away of the sinful flesh, the unclean way of life by which we used to live.
The Bible describes this circumcision in terms of Christian baptism which is a picture of the salvation God works in the heart of every believer. In baptism we are fully submerged beneath the water, symbolic of our participation in the death of Christ. He died on the cross; we die to our old, sinful way of living. Then we are raised out of the water, symbolic of our participation in the resurrection of Christ. Just as He was raised from the dead to live a new kind of life, we are also raised to live a new life.
God gives us all we need to live this new life out. He has broken the power that sin once had over us by His death and resurrection. We are no longer powerless before our sins and addictions! And He has placed His own powerful Spirit within us to guide and strengthen us. But, it is left up to us to apply this spiritual circumcision to our everyday lives by cutting the old, fleshly ways of living out of our lives. By reading His Word and applying the wisdom and power of His Spirit within us, we determine what is sinful and therefore what needs to be cut out of our lives. And day-by-day as we remove ourselves from sin, we are conformed more and more into the image of Christ.
What sinful ways of living do you need to cut out of your life? What about your language? Is it pure, focusing only on what is good? How about your media consumption? Would Jesus bother watching the TV shows and movies you watch? What about the music you listen to? You may kid yourself into thinking these things don't matter. But they are like the air you breathe. When you surround yourself with polluted, sinful media, you corrupt your own soul little by little. What about that toxic friend who drags you into sin and ensnares you over and over again? If you aren't strong enough yet to resist the temptation he brings with him, then you need to cut him out of our life.
Christ paid a high price to remove your sin from you. What are you willing to do to live that circumcision out day by day?
For further reading...
- I Corinthians 7:18-20, Galatians 6:11-18 & Colossians 3:9-12- Physical circumcision no longer means anything. New creation (or spiritual cicrcumcision) is all that counts.
- Romans 2:25-29- Outward circumcision doesn't matter. Circumcision of the heart is all that matters.
- Deuteronomy 10:15-17, 30:5-6, & Jeremiah 9:25-26- Even in the Old Testament circumcision was an outward sign of the inward reality God was calling His people too.