For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.Galatians 6:15(NASB)
Paul's emphasis in his Galatian epistle was that because we are saved by grace through faith, and not by works of the Law.. we are also to live by grace through faith, and not by religious rules, legalistic works or man's merit.
A huge transition had to take place in the early Christian Church. Up to Christ's crucifixion, those who believed God's word were looking forward to a coming Messiah. They were born under the Law and believed that God would send a Kinsman-Redeemer, Who would save His people from their sin. However, until that time arrived, their sins would have to be covered by the sled blood of innocent animals - for it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to completely take away sins.
Before the cross the people were still living under the Mosaic Law, in the dispensation of Law. Day by day the Law reminded them that they were sinners, in need of a Saviour, for no one could reach the impossibly perfect standard the Law required. But like Abraham and other men of faith.. those that trusted God's Word, and believed His promises, were credited with righteousness - as they looked forward to the coming Messiah, Who would redeem them from sin, death and hell.
Daily sacrifices and the Lord's annual feast-days were a constant reminder that all have sinned and all need a Saviour - for all sin has to be paid for. Paul reminded these believers that the Law was God's tool to show us that we are all sinners. It was a school-master to bring us to Christ.. Who was the sinless Lamb of God, Who by His own death.. would take away the sin of the world. And 4000 years after Adam sinned, God sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for the sin of the whole world.. so that whoever trusted in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, would be saved.
Those who looked forward to the coming Messiah, in the dispensation of the Law were saved by grace through their faith, which was reckoned as righteousness. We who look back to the cross, in this dispensation of grace, are also saved by grace through faith - and we too are reckoned as righteous. And our salvation was bought and paid for by the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
The cross of Christ was the pivotal point in history when the curse of the Law was broken, and the price of sin was paid for in full. The shed blood of Jesus was history's defining moment, when the icy grip of death on the throat of humanity. was supernaturally broken by Christ's sacrificial death and glorious resurrection.
Before the cross.. the curse of the Law was on all men.. Jew and Gentile alike. But God chose Israel to be His own people. He redeemed them from Egypt and adopted them as His own son. Israel was chosen to be the one way through which mankind could be redeemed.. for the Messiah was to be born from the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Judah, and the house of David.
However, the only way for gentiles to approach God, in Old Testament times.. was to become a Jewish proselyte, and maintain strict adherence to Israel's laws and customs.. which included circumcision, adherence to the ongoing cycle of feast-days and food-laws, and through the year by year day of atonement - whereby the blood of sheep and goats, temporarily covered the sin of the people.. until the promised Messiah would come to offer Himself as the full and final ransom payment, for sin of the world.
Before the cross the gentile nations were excluded from salvation - unless they became a Jewish proselyte.. but following the cross, the barrier that had existed between Jew and Gentile was broken down forever.. such that circumcision became an unnecessary ritual. Paul writes that circumcision is of no consequence and uncircumcision is not anything... because in Christ there is a new Creation - old things are passed away and all things are become new.
Sadly.. then as now, there are those.. that Paul calls “Judaisers', who insist that post-cross Christians are required by God to follow the same rites and rituals as pre-cross believers, in order to be saved. They insist that salvation depends of keeping the Law, in addition to believing on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, for the forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. But this is unbiblical, and Paul's emphasis in his Galatian epistle stand firm: that neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, for we are all part of a new creation - in Christ.
Heavenly Father, thank You for the wonderful way that You gradually opened-up our understanding through the Old and New Testament scriptures, that we are all sinners in need of a Saviour.. and are justified by faith. Thank You that You have broken down the barrier between Jew and Gentile and that that by grace through faith in Christ.. we are new creatures, and part of the one new man in Him. May I live my life to Your praise and glory, in Jesus name I pray, AMEN.
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