Romans 2:25-29 “For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.”
The act of circumcision was a symbol of submission to God. But performing a symbolic act does not prove that one has actually identified with the act that he/she is symbolicly performing. In other words, I can be baptized in a pool of water at the church and declare that I have repented of my sins and submitted to the Lord Jesus Christ. But if I remain unchanged, unaffected by the gospel, then the symbolic act was a sham. It meant nothing. It was as if I never was baptized. The true Christian demonstrates submission both privately and publicly, while the fake Christian only submits publicly. The fake Christian will guard their private life dearly because it is this pool of sin that they draw from rather than Christ. No one can be allowed to discover their secret source of joy, for then they would have to lie, distort, and hide even more.
The true Christian follows the Lord out of a changed heart which is only changed by the Spirit of God. Following the rules cannot change a heart. It is this reversal that confounds billions. It matters where we start from. If we do not start from a place of brokenness and submission before God, at the foot of the cross of Jesus, then we have already derailed. No matter what we do, it will never be good enough, because every good thing we do will not be out of a changed heart–it will be out of a heart that is attempting to simultaneously be good enough and also preserve control of his/her own life.
Jesus was killed because of who He said He was. His entire ministry was about demonstrating to the world that He was God and that what He was going to do on the cross would save them from eternal damnation. But, people thought that they already knew God and Jesus definitely did not fit their understanding of who God was. Why? Because God was who they wanted Him to be. Not who He really was. The same is true today. People die in their sins everyday and go to eternal damnation because they refuse to submit to the true God–JESUS.
Start with Jesus today, worship Him as God, deny yourself, and embrace the life that He will present to you. In doing so, count the cost of this relationship. His will means everything, your will means nothing. He has a plan for you, your plan is kaput. He has a way for you to live life, your way is over. Being born again is that radical. It is a rebirth. You are no longer walking in darkness–THE LIGHT COMES ON!
Consider Matthew 3:5-10, where John the Baptist rebukes the hypocritical people who only wanted to do their religious duty by being baptized, but not truly submit to God:
People came to John from Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and from all the areas along the Jordan River. They confessed the bad things they had done, and John baptized them in the Jordan. Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to where John was baptizing people. When John saw them, he said, “You are all snakes! Who warned you to run from God’s judgment that is coming? Change your hearts! And show by the way you live that you have changed. I know what you are thinking. You want to say, ‘but Abraham is our father!’ That means nothing. I tell you, God could make children for Abraham from these rocks. The ax is now ready to cut down the trees. Every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
In the church today we often lack the courage to turn people away who only want to be religious without a changed heart. We do this because in our society it is insensitive to not accept everyone. But the Lord has an immovable measuring stick which He uses to determine who is allowed to be in His body–that measuring stick is whether or not they have submitted to Jesus Christ. If they have not submitted to Christ then they must be told so and given the opportunity to repent. Not doing so is a great evil to them, even though we think it is “loving them” by accepting them as they are.