“You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you.” – Genesis 17:11
Scripture reading: Genesis 17:9-14
I have a NEXUS card, which serves as one of my identity markers. It identifies me as a low-risk traveler who can cross the Canadian-American border quickly. It also gives me privileges at certain airports.
Circumcision, as a sign of God’s covenant community, is also an identity marker. It identifies males as members of this community and reminds them (and the females) of what being a member of this covenant community entails. As the flesh of the male’s foreskin was cut off, so members of God’s covenant community are cut off from the ways of the flesh of the world. Being circumcised symbolizes that they have been separated from the ways of the world and consecrated to the ways of God. They are to walk before God, in His loving, holy presence in the Holy Spirit, and be blameless, wholeheartedly devoted to God. In addition, circumcision symbolizes that members of God’s covenant community are cut off from the ways of the flesh in their hearts. Outward circumcision is not enough, their hearts need to be circumcised as well (cf. Rom. 2:25-29).
Only in this way can God use His covenant community, His church, to be a blessing for the world and to live for the other by being people and places where heaven and earth meet. The hearts of the members of the church need to be circumcised and the ways of the flesh need to be cut out of their hearts. Otherwise, they will be cut off from God’s covenant community.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask your heavenly Father to daily remind you what it entails to be a member of His covenant community with regard to the ways of the flesh that still live in our hearts.
Rev. Dick Moes is pastor emeritus of the Surrey Covenant Reformed Church in Surrey, BC. He and his wife Elsina have five children and 14 grandchildren.