Scripture: Genesis 17:14
“Any uncircumcised male, who has not been circumcised in the flesh, will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”
I see three things in this verse: an action, a consequence, and a reason. The person refused to be circumcised, so he was cut off from the people for breaking God’s covenant.
First, we need to understand that after God made this part of His covenant with Abram, Jewish males would have been circumcised as children. They wouldn’t have had a choice in the matter. So, we’re not talking about native-born Jews. We’re talking about grown men who wanted to convert to Judaism.
If a male wasn’t circumcised but wanted to join the community of God’s people, it would be easy enough for him to undergo the rite of the covenant. Abraham did it as an old man, Ishmael as an adolescent. Refusing to be circumcised shows that the man is not willing to obey God by taking the mark in his flesh, and that’s where we can draw the parallel to our lives.
If we want to be a part of God’s people, we have to show our obedience to God on the outside. It has to result in a changed life, exhibited by changed behavior. We can’t say we’re a Christian and keep living the same way, just like a convert to Judaism couldn’t join the people and keep everything the same.
If we don’t make that outward change in our behavior, what happens? The consequence for the false Jew was to be cut off from his people. He couldn’t be a part of the community without really being a part of the community. It’s the same way with us. We can’t be a part of a church or a family of believers if we don’t exhibit true faith through a changed life.
The Church Universal and the church local has every right to recognize a false brother or sister among them and cast them out. Maybe doing so will move that person to take God’s covenant seriously.
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