Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.1 Corinthians 7:19(NASB)
One of the most important issues that Paul wanted to instil in the Church is that there are no racial ties in Christianity. When we are born from above our ethnic roots become insignificant and we become part of a brand-new creation. In this verse he pointed out that circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing. Being a Jew is nothing and being a Gentile is nothing – for both saved Jews and saved Gentiles are one in Christ.
Whether a man is born a Jew or a Greek he becomes part of a completely different creation the moment he is justified. Any earthly ties, connections or religious rituals that may be associated with a man’s past culture, ancestry or lineage become unnecessary and superfluous. As new creatures in Christ, who have been brought into the family of God, we are one Body, who have an obligation to abide by the commands He gives us.
We need to understand that before salvation we are a member of one creation – a fallen creation (the old creation in Adam), but following salvation the ties and links to that old creation are severed, forever. When we are regenerated we start out as a completely new creature and are immediately identified as “a new creation – a perfect creation in Christ”.
The old creation does not go through a process of change, which gradually turns an ‘old earthly man’ into a ‘new heavenly man’ – we become an entirely new creation immediately. We start anew as a member of a new race with a completely different make-up. Instead of being an earthly people we are a heavenly people.
The bad old sinful creature we were does not start to get better or go through a long process of improvement and change until we become a nice, new godly creature! We do not metamorphoses from being an old sinner into a new saint.
We start out from the moment of salvation as a completely fresh, new, baby creature – we are immediately part of a new creation (the new creation in Christ). BUT from THAT point of salvation, the new man must grow in grace and become more Christlike. Only after we are saved does the new baby creature start to grow into a mature Christian by obeying God’s Word and keeping His commands.
A lost sinner immediately becomes a saved saint at salvation. A child of the devil instantaneously becomes a child of God when they are saved, but after salvation that child of God must develop into a mature man – which is a life-long process.
Because we are a new creation and have left all the ties to the old creation behind – we begin a new life, which is why Paul explains that circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing to the born-again saint. Circumcised Jews do not have to reverse their circumcision and neither do gentiles have to be circumcised. But although circumcision is not an issue for the believer – walking in spirit and truth, growing in grace, trusting God’s word and obeying His commands is very important.
Believers may have Hebrew, English, Chinese, African or Islamic roots because they were born into a particular country or culture – but that is immediately cancelled-out the moment we are saved by grace through faith in Christ. The issue is not boasting in any former ethnic connection or worrying about any pre-salvation practices – but obeying the Lord and carrying out His commands is what is important.
Cultural rituals and nationalistic identifiers lose their importance and become irrelevant at the point of salvation. And although a Christian may like to engage in certain enjoyable feasts, cultural festivals or national celebrations, but they must never be allowed to compromise their faith. Let us never forget that there are no rites or rituals or rituals to which members of Christ body are bound, other than to love the Lord our God with all our heart and soul and mind and strength and to love others as Christ loved us.
Heavenly Father, thank You that Your born-again children are not bound to any cultural rules, religious rituals or nationalistic identities. Thank You that whosoever will may come to Christ and be saved by grace through faith in Him. Help me to obey Your Word, keep Your commands and do only those things that honour Your name, so that I may grow from Christian babyhood into a mature man of God – this I ask in Jesus name, AMEN.