What a strange thing this is, literally carving in the flesh the sign of God’s lordship! This is the great sign of the Jews, intended by God to be the mark of His possession, that they were God’s instrument to use as a blessing among the nations. It was placed upon this particular part of the body to indicate that they were to be physically separate from the other nations. The very organ by which that separation could be violated bore upon it the mark of God’s ownership. As we read the course of Jewish history, we see how this mark, intended to be the sign of humility and instrumentality, became perverted into a mark of superiority and favoritism….
Those who bore it began to look on others as
Gentile dogs and to be self-righteous and proud over their supposed favored position before God. Thus the spirit of anti-Semitism that troubles the world so today was born of the spirit of anti-Gentilism that preceded it. This does not justify either, of course.
Now let us remember that what was physical and literal to Abraham is intended to have spiritual significance to us. In the New Testament, we no longer read of circumcision of the flesh but of the heart. The heart is the symbol of the soul—the mind, emotions, and will, the whole personality. All believers in Christ are to bear on their hearts the sign of Christ’s lordship. The total personality is to be at their disposal.