A Few Words About Circumcision
Today's Daily Devo is going to take a sharp left turn right out of the gate. Buckle up.
"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value."
- Galatians 5:6a
Nothing like starting your day off with an awesome and inspiring verse about circumcision, am I right?
This verse was part of a letter sent to a first-century church in Galatia (in modern day Turkey) by the Apostle Paul.
Paul was responding to some critics of his, who had showed up at the Galatian church and began telling them that everything Paul had taught them about what it meant to be a follower of Jesus was wrong.
These critics taught that the only true way to be a follower of Jesus was to convert to Judaism, which meant that you had to keep the 613 laws that are found in the Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures), and you had to be... circumcised.
Paul believed that keeping laws and being circumcised didn't make you a follower of Jesus. If that was your thing (if you were already Jewish), he was find with that, but if you were a Gentile---it wasn't necessary.
But his critics kept coming back again and again to the whole circumcision issue. It was the thing they insisted was the most important.
We can assume that they thought if you were really serious about following Jesus you would take care of it.
Paul, on the other hand, had a different way of seeing the whole issue. In the second part of that verse we shared at the beginning, Paul tips his hand on what he believes it really takes to follow Jesus:
"The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
- Galatians 5:6b
Paul called out his critics by saying they'd become distracted from the main point of what it meant to be a follower of Jesus---to love.
If your faith has become about checklists and rules, and guidelines for behavior... If following Jesus means that you spend most of your energy calling out other people for the ways they aren't making the grade...
Then maybe it's time to to re-focus on the only thing that counts: faith in Jesus that expresses itself in love--love for God and for others.
May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.