Tuesday 20 October, 2015

Genesis 17:9-14

9 Then God said to Abraham, “You must keep my covenant. You and your family after you must keep it for all time to come. 10 Here is my covenant that you and your family after you must keep. You and every male among you must be circumcised. 11 That will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. 12 It must be done for all time to come. Every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised. That includes those who are born into your own family or outside it. It also includes those bought with money from a stranger. 13 So any male born into your family or bought with your money must be circumcised. My covenant will last forever. Your body will have the mark of my covenant on it. 14 Any male who has not been circumcised will be separated from his people. He has broken my covenant.”

As we read this passage we can recognise a new aspect of Abraham’s relationship with God. Having received the covenant promises, God announced a requirement which would be the sign of that covenant relationship ie. circumcision [v.11]. It was the response which sealed the covenant. It was the symbol of his relationship to God. Circumcision, for Abraham, meant that he had bound himself to God in this covenant. He looked forward to its blessings, and he also submitted to its stipulations.

The apostle Paul writes of this sign in Romans 4:11 Abraham’s faith was credited to him as righteousness [9]….”he received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. So then, he is the father of all who believe but have not been circumcised, in order that righteousness might be credited unto them.”

Lets be clear that physical circumcision is no longer a requirement of the new covenant, because our “circumcision” comes in and through Jesus Christ [Colossians 2: 11-13] He shows us His grace, because despite our sins, He graciously enters into a new covenant relationship with us, sealed through the blood of Christ. The response requires that everyone who comes to Christ must believe that Jesus is our Saviour and Lord and receive by faith this new covenant relationship.

Father, we are forever grateful that you sent Jesus to establish a new covenant sealed through His blood. We pledge ourselves willingly to a life of obedience in response to your great love for us.

Written by Keith Bennett

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