Christian Devotions
By Ross Freeman

The Hand of Man or The Hand of God

“In Him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with the circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ.” (Colossians 2:11 NIV)

The Colossians did not need the rituals of circumcision for purification and salvation to make them complete; for they had received the spiritual circumcision.

Here Paul is being critical of ritualistic ideas of the false teachers by revealing the nature of true circumcision.

It is not external, but internal, brought about by the Spirit and not by the hands of man. It is in the heart by the Spirit, not by the letter of the ritualistic law. Unlike those belonging to Judaism who followed the external ritual, the Colossians, as gentiles were circumcised in the spiritual sense on the day of their conversion.

The removing of the flesh or sinful nature is not just a matter of cutting off part of the body, as in the ritualism of Judaism, but a spiritual change that has an effect upon both body and soul.

The human body of flesh and blood is more than just a body. The body is not evil. It is the nature within the body that is the problem and a dead spirit within that has not been born again. But once the spirit is born again it becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. But the body with its own flesh nature is regarded as the seat of the lusts which are at war against the spirit and brings out the fruit of sin and death.

The spiritual circumcision implies not just cutting off one form of sin but the power of all the sin of the flesh. Therefore, putting off the body of flesh implies deliverance from the dominion of sin – dying to sin that is the controlling and regulating power of the body, and the instrument of unrighteousness. The renewed body then becomes an instrument of righteousness unto God.

We who are born again are the circumcision of Christ. By our union with Jesus, He is the Author now, not Moses or Abraham. The indwelling of Jesus, who is the author of our new spiritual life, is the circumcision of Christ. It is the new birth which, under the power of the Holy Spirit, casts of the power and corruption of sin and is the result of Christ living in us by faith, for we have been baptized, not circumcised.

We have put on the new man through faith, repentance, and confession of Jesus Christ. The old is gone, the new has come, this is the true circumcision - not given by the hand of man, but by God.

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