07 Faithless Presumption on the Law as Opposed to Faithfulness in the Precepts of the Law

Romans 2 v 25 – 29

Please turn in your Bibles with me to Romans Chapter 2. We’re going to consider those verses from verse 25 through to verse 29 this morning. Now, as we read it speaks about the whole matter of what true circumcision is. So, please don’t turn off early. I assure you that the Lord has something wonderful to say to us in these verses. That’s why they’re in His Word. So read them with great attention and expectation.

25For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. 26So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.
28For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. 29But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

It’s been my experience as a pastor, when you begin to speak about the whole matter of the significance of circumcision and how it fits into the New Covenant, people kind of switch off because they say to themselves: ‘That’s for the Jews – that’s not for me. They need to understand that we’ve never had a problem with circumcision. It’s never been our issue. That’s a Jewish issue. I’m going to go to sleep now during the sermon because it’s got nothing to do with me.’ It has everything to do with you! If you count with me you will see at least 10 times the Apostle makes reference to circumcision – at least 10 times in this brief text. So, even from that point of view that he mentions it so often, it must be important, don’t you think? He keeps on talking about it and he writes it to all Christians of the future – including to you. So you need to pay attention what it says. Something not many people know. I don’t know how many of you know that that there is more about circumcision in the New Testament than there is about circumcision in the Old Testament. How many of you knew that? Catherine knows that, because she was a pastor’s wife. The rest of you don’t seem to even know that. More about it in the New Testament than there is about it in the Old Testament. We must consider it and its significance for the Christian and for the Jew but even in the world today, it’s not just being discussed for theological reasons. It’s discussed for ideological and political reasons. In some places in Europe, there are people who are telling us that it needs to be made illegal because it’s abuse of baby boys. They’re speaking about religious circumcision – not tribal circumcision, which is also beleaguered. So we’re not talking about something that’s just of a historical or theological concern to us. It’s a greater concern than that. And if we look at, it we see that circumcision seems to be very typical of the Old Covenant and that’s another point at which most people will switch off. They say: ‘We don’t want to hear about the old Covenant and all that stuff so much anymore.’ You need to hear, because the command to circumcise is focused on male babies alone. And there’s that physical act with the blade, the consequent pain, the crying of the baby and the bleeding – that goes on. And we consider it to be rooted in the Old Testament dispensation that’s now gone. In fact, when we look at circumcision, we are in what we call the Shadows of the Old Testament. Hebrews chapter 10:1 says: “The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming” – not the reality is itself, but they are shadows because there’s something between the light and the shadow that is important. So we need to understand these Shadows of the Old Testament.

The problem that Paul is addressing here is that the Jews – they were raising the sign above what it signified. That’s what they were doing. It’s like you’re paying more attention to the stop sign than you are paying to the traffic that you run into if you ignore it. The thing signified is more important than the sign and so we need to pay attention to the sign and see what it signifies.

  1. The origins of Circumcision
    Where does it come from? How did it all begin? We need to remind ourselves of this. And I want to start right out by saying and this is why you need to take it seriously. It came from God Himself. He did not come from a man circumcision came from God! That decision to make that distinguishing mark; that bodily mark for all Jewish boys was intended to mark them out as the Covenant children of Abraham. If we turn to Genesis chapter 17, and we read from verse 7 through to verse 14, this is what we read: “I will establish My Covenant as an everlasting Covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come to be your God and the God of your descendants after you. The whole land of Canaan where you are now an alien I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you and I will be their God. Then God said to Abraham, ‘As for you, you must keep My Covenant, you and your descendants after you for the generations to come. And this is My Covenant with you and your descendants after you, the Covenant that you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision and it will be the sign of the Covenant between Me and you. For the generations to come, every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner. Those who are not your offspring, whether born in your household or bought with your money – they must be circumcised. My Covenant in your flesh is to be an everlasting Covenant. Any uncircumcised male who has not been circumcised in the flesh will be cut off from his people – he has broken My Covenant.
    So it comes from God and as you can see, He took it very seriously! It’s very clear. Here was a sign that told them and the Nations around them that this people – these circumcised people – believed itself to be in a special relationship with the only true God – a covenant relationship that Yahweh Himself had instituted. It was not just a man who came up with a new philosophy or ideology. It was a covenant relationship that God Himself had instituted. A covenant was a binding promise – usually accompanied by a sign. And that’s what we see here. God had chosen Abraham and his seed as His people. He didn’t have to do that, but He did. And He was going to bless them in many, many wonderful ways. But especially He was going to bless them in this way. And that’s why you and I are here this morning. He was going to bless them in the coming to His people of the seed of the circumcised Jesus of Nazareth who was going to be the Saviour of the world.
    And so God designed the Covenant of Grace and He required circumcision. And all the people were to obey and keep His Commandments. And one basic precept was to circumcise their male babies. We think back to the time of Moses. There was a strange thing that happened. Do you remember in the early chapters of Exodus? We read the account of Moses when he was at that burning bush. Do you remember that? God came to him and He gave him all the promises about the struggle with Egypt that was about to take place and the mighty signs of judgement that would take place and that would force the hand of Pharaoh. And every objection of Moses was met and Moses resolved to obey God and so returned to Egypt from where he had run away with a price on his head decades earlier. And he would be used of God to help get his enslaved fellow Israelites, who were still there, out of Pharaohs clutches. God was going to use him. His belongings, his slaves, his family would gather together and they lift the home of Jethro. While they were on their way to Egypt the Lord repeated to Moses the promises of miracles and wonders against Pharaoh. And then something happens – the whole story suddenly comes to a halt. God had just been speaking of slaying the firstborn of all the Egyptians, should they keep on to stubbornly defy His request to let His people go. Everything had seemed to be going so nicely, but then in the next verse we hear these words: “At a lodging place on the way the Lord met Moses and was about to kill him.” What’s all that about? The explanation we find in the next verse – why was God about to kill Moses? Moses had married Zipporah, the daughter of Jethro. And you know what he did? He failed to circumcise his own son. That’s what he did. If he was to lead God’s people, he himself must be faithful in leading the nation to observe the sign of the Covenant. And if he didn’t do that, he was not suitable to lead the Lord’s people in any act of obedience. Being disobedient – and it wasn’t a little thing! And the Lord intervened to teach him a lesson that brought him into an encounter with death itself. God bless Zipporah – she acted immediately. She picked up a knife and circumcised their son right there and then, and God pardoned Moses. It was a fearful thing! It’s a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
    Let me interrupt myself a little bit. We all talk about politics we say it’s politics, politics we look at what’s going on in the world as politics. It’s not politics! It’s World and Life View, brothers and sisters. It has to do with how you understand the world and life on it. And the world understands it like this – Humanism/Secularism understands it like this: ‘Everything never came out of nothing, that’s why there is everything.’ Because it didn’t just come out of nothing – it came out of nothing, you know when? Never, because before there was space there was no time, so that was never. It happened never. Everything never came out of nothing. That’s why there is everything. This is how it’s going to end. It’s going to be a paradise and what needs to happen in between is we must just develop and evolve more. The only three questions you can answer about life and this world. (i) How did it get here? (ii) How’s it going to end and (iii) what happens in between? And the world will tell you: ‘Everything never came out of nothing, that’s why there’s everything. It’s going to turn into paradise. And in the meantime, we must just keep on evolving.

    Christians believe in Creation, Fall and Redemption. God created the heavens and the earth. It’s going to end in the new heavens and the earth, because something went wrong and what needs to happen in between is Redemption. Every political thing you see – here and abroad in the United States and Europe – wherever you go has got nothing to do with politics. It has to do with World and Life View and as long as the Lord gives me breath, this Pastor will defend a Biblical Life and World View with every fibre of his being, because it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God, as Moses said when he just disobeyed that one little thing about circumcising his son with Zipporah. God was about to kill him!

    Whatever importance a man might or might not attach to circumcision – whatever you and I may think of it. However boring you may find a sermon on it, it is important to God! God attached great significance to it. ‘Life and death significance’ Donald Barnhouse says. So circumcision for the Jews was not some option that only the more religiously inclined people might take. It was an ordinance required by God. It was no light thing. That’s where it came from. So what did it mean? We’ve seen its origin. What was its spiritual significance?

  2. The spiritual significance of Circumcision
    (i) It had National significance. It distinguished Israel from the other uncircumcised Nations that were around about them. The Philistines could be dismissed by the Jews as uncircumcised dogs. Of the people of Israel alone God could say: ‘You only have I known of all the peoples of the world’ and they were a circumcised Nation. So that’s its first significance – it had a national significance.
    (ii) It pointed forward also to regeneration by the Holy Spirit. That’s its second significance – the removal of the old heart and it’s being replaced by a new heart, because that’s what you need. Let me tell you what you need this morning. Let me tell you what you need when you come into my study for counselling, whatever your pain may be. And you’re so welcome to come in there [study behind the pulpit]. Thank you for bearing mine too when we’re in there. What you need is not just advice. What you need is not just counsel. What you need is not just a new plan. What you need is a new heart. It’s what you need. And that’s the significance of circumcision secondly. In other words more was at stake than Jewish national identity. We’ll look at Paul in his letter to the Romans in chapter 4:11. He writes of Abraham that he received the sign of circumcision; a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. Do you understand that? Paul doesn’t say that Abraham was circumcised because he was a member of the Jewish nation. Paul says that circumcision was a seal – it was a confirmation of the righteousness that God had already imputed to Abraham through his trusting in God. Circumcision confirmed the great crisis that had taken place in Abraham’s life when he heard the command of God and he had to respond to it or he had to reject it. And Abraham immediately believed God. He acted upon God’s command and upon God’s promise. And God told him to leave Ur of the Chaldeans and go to the place God had prepared for him hundreds of miles away. And so off went old Abraham with his possessions, as his little family and his servants – and they weren’t that little. And God also said to him: ‘be circumcised’ – and he was. He trusted what God said, and because of that, he was declared righteous by God for believing His promises. And from then on with his body and his mind and his strength and energy, he was going to be doing everything God said. You and I don’t know for sure, but it may even be that Abraham possibly circumcised himself. But be that as it may – his submission to circumcision was a sign that Abraham had a new heart and he had put God first by his circumcision. He said: ‘I have a new heart and I’m going to put God first. That’s what this is about!’ And the circumcision is only a sign of that. What God commanded him to do Abraham did. The prophets of the Old Testament saw that such an example of submission to God was an attitude that every Jew should have. They saw that. The prophets of the Lord weren’t happy that the people bore the outward sign of circumcision alone. What was going on in their hearts? That’s what the prophets were concerned [about]. They were deeply concerned about that. They preached to the people and they demanded from them the circumcision of the heart. And we find that kind of preaching throughout the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 10:16: “Circumcise your hearts therefore…” Do you think circumcision of the heart is a New Testament teaching? There it is in Deuteronomy 10:16: “Circumcise your hearts therefore and don’t be stiff necked any longer.” That’s a call to obedience! The next verse: “For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty and a terrible God.” (v17). And then there’s the promise that Moses makes to a repented people in Deuteronomy 30:6. It is also important: “The Lord your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants so that you may love Him with all your heart with all your soul and you may live.” And so it’s through the circumcision of the heart that a man is enabled to love the Lord his God and give Him obedience. In Jeremiah 4:4 there’s a warning about ignoring your heart and just being confident that you’ve been bodily circumcised. Listen to what he says: “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord. Circumcise your hearts, you men of Judah and you people of Jerusalem or My wrath will break out and burn like fire because of the evil you’ve done – burn with no one to quench it!” Jeremiah’s preaching a sermon on repentance. He’s using the figure of circumcising the heart!
    So you and I see this morning: it fits in exactly with what Paul says in the text. A man is a Jew if he is one inwardly and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God. Do you understand it a little bit better now? Paul is saying exactly what the Old Testament prophets said, and he’s reminding his fellow countrymen of that message. Remember what he wrote to the Philippians when he said to them in chapter 3:3: “For we are the circumcision who worship God in the Spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus and we have no confidence in the flesh.” In other words, those who are justified by faith alone and doing what God says, they place no confidence in the fact that they’ve been circumcised on the eighth day. What are they doing? They’re rejoicing in the fact that they had been born again – regenerated through the grace of God. Rejoicing in the Messiah Jesus, through having circumcised hearts. And so what I’m saying to you this morning is that while circumcision as a rite refers to the National sign of Israel – the one nation in the world that God knows and loves. Even more importantly than that – it refers to the necessity of the circumcision of people’s hearts.
    (iii) Circumcision pointed toward baptism. The most important verses that bring together baptism and circumcision we find in Colossians chapter 2. You read it from verse 9 to 12: “For in Christ all the fullness of the deity lives in bodily form and you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority” – how? In whom? – “in Him you were also circumcised” – how? – “in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with the circumcision done by the hands of men, but with the circumcision done by Christ: having been buried with Him in baptism and raised with Him through your faith in the power of God who raised Him from the dead.” Paul speaks of the circumcision done by the pierced hands of Calvary. And it probably is a reference to the death of Christ. Why do I say that? He was cut off from the fellowship of the living – circumcised from it, and we were joined to Him when He died so that in that Cavalry circumcision, we also through faith were dead, buried and then on the third day raised with Him by God’s power. It’s a wonderful circumcision that we have all known as Christians today – both men and women – much better than the Judaisers’ message that every Gentile who became a Christian needed to be circumcised. No knife in a human hand was applied to our bodies. In Jesus Christ’s sacrifice and circumcision death, we were also put to death, and the benefits of His salvation became ours when you and I by faith were joined to Him. This dying and rising in Christ was all powerfully symbolized in our water baptism when we went down to be baptized – when we were picture as entering the grave with Christ and rising with Him in newness of life! You see some proud person may just brush aside your Evangelistic words and assure you that he’s all right with God. He doesn’t need your witnessing to him because he’s asked Jesus into his heart. By the way, let me just tell you when you become a Christian. You don’t become a Christian when you give your heart to Jesus; you become a Christian when Jesus gives His heart to you. Some proud people will say: ‘I don’t need to hear you’re witnessing and evangelism. I asked Jesus into my heart and more than that, I’ve been baptized.’ But you can tell that something’s wrong with his testimony when you begin to probe gently to ask about his Christian Life. Do you attend the gathered meetings of the church on Sundays? How many excuses do you find for that? Do you read your Bible? Are you ready always to give a reason for your hope in Jesus? Do you even pray every day? Are you careful what you watch on the internet? Do you give to the work of the Gospel? Do you love the Lord your God with all you are and have, and do you love your neighbour as yourself? Even if he’s not even unlovable only but he’s unlikable. Do you love him? Do you love your enemy? How do you express and show that love? On what are you basing your hopes of going to heaven? What is the basis of those hopes in your life? And so on… When we ask him those questions, his profession with his lips and the baptism of his body in water are of little or no value if nothing’s flowing out of a circumcised heart that declares that it is a new heart of flesh, not stone and he’s a new creation. It’s of no value!
    (iv) Circumcision points towards the putting to death of remaining sin in your life. And I dare say that that is possibly the most significant thing that circumcision signifies. When we are regenerated and given a birth from above and we’re made new creations and given a heart of flesh, all those beautiful expressions of the radical parting with what we once were. You don’t need to be rehabilitated. You don’t need to be fixed. You need to die and be born again! When we read about all of that then God doesn’t remove all our sin from us at that time. What does He remove? He removes its rule – He removes its lordship from your life. He kills your independence from God. It no longer rules our lives, but still sin exists in every Christian’s life. We live in that body of sin that Paul speaks of and our task is to be constantly killing it – day by day. We need to be constantly killing it day by day! Don’t dilly-dally with it and toy with it. Don’t look at that pornography. Don’t fantasize about possessions and places that can never be yours. Don’t get over friendly with flatterers who oppose the Gospel. Remember what Paul says in the greatest chapter in all of the Bible, which is Romans chapter 8: “If by the Spirit you put to death…” – that means you cut off, you circumcise – “…the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
    And again, in Colossians 3:5: “Put to death…” – that means circumcise – “whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed…” And elsewhere we’re told of the effects of the pride of life and we told to – listen to me again beloved Constantia Park congregation – love not the world, nor the things thereof! Circumcise the misdeeds of the body – separate them – cut them off from you! It’s going to hurt and it’s going to make you feel like death warmed up, but that’s exactly what you will be – death warmed up. Nobody enjoys letting go of his pet sin. We love it. We do it because we enjoy it and it’s so pleasurable. And it’s painful to let It go, but circumcision is painful – even circumcision of the heart. Never stop doing it. Circumcise whatever belongs to your earthly nature. That’s what that beautiful term mortification means. It means to put it to death. And that’s the spiritual fulfilment of circumcision. Now that is how the image of circumcision is used in the Old Testament as a mortifying act. For example, Jeremiah the prophet preaches to the people and he passes this judgment on them. Listen to what he says: “Behold, their ear is uncircumcised and they cannot hear. Behold, the Word of God is unto them a reproach and they have no delight in it.” You are growing weary in hearing the Gospel preached. You’re neglecting the study of the Bible. Your taste for the word of God has faded. The reason is that your ears are full of the wax of the excitements and the pleasure of this world. You’re deafened to God’s voice. You need to cry out: ‘Circumcise my ears, Lord. Help me not to sleep during the sermon – there is something wrong when I do that! Circumcise my ears Lord. Wake me up, shake me up, set me right! You must pray that He takes away the forces that are stopping you from growing and maturing in your love for the Bible. Jesus met that problem and he cried to the congregation. This is what He said and I can imagine His beautiful inimitable[1] voice: “He that has ears to hear, let him hear.” Or to the seven churches: “Let him that has an ear hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” Mortify, put to death, circumcise everything that stops you from hearing the Word of God. Or again, there’s the possibility of us having uncircumcised lips. Moses was conscious that he often blurted out words – and those of you who know me know that I’m like that – he was conscious he blurted out words and arguments that were carnal. He protested his unfitness to speak as the mouthpiece of God. He said: “Behold, the children of Israel have not listened to me how then shall Pharaoh listen to me? Who am I of uncircumcised lips?” And later from his heart he cried: “I am of uncircumcised lips; how shall Pharaoh hear me?” So let’s watch our lips and our words, being slow to speak, slow to anger, asking God for wisdom. Mortify your sinful speech; circumcise your lips and voice and tongue. So circumcision points toward mortifying remaining sin also. Now we’ve seen where it comes from and what it means:

  3. How can we be seeing to be doing that what it signifies?
    That’s our text: Circumcisions’ evidence is seen in obeying God’s law. That’s why my title for today’s message that I’m giving to you belatedly is: Faithless presumption on the Law as opposed to Faithfulness in the Precepts of the Law. And here is what Paul says – he would never say that circumcision was a valueless rite. What he does say is this:
    (i) You cannot detach from it all the other requirements of the will of God. You cannot detach the rest of the will of God from the will of God that you be circumcised. That’s what he’s saying. Imagine that a man is dying of a dread disease, but he boasts that there’s one part of his body that is healthy. He says I’ve got good hearing and my fingers work fine. What good is that if a dread disease has spread to all the rest of the body? So you may have been circumcised absolutely brilliantly, and by the top Rabbi in all of Jerusalem 30 years ago, but what of your daily life under heaven? Is your chief end to glorify God and enjoy Him? Paul lays down the law of God that circumcision has value if you observe the Law. Do you love God and love your neighbour? If you don’t, what good is any past ritual doing for you today? Here’s a husband and the one thing he does in his family, is he takes them to the shop and back and now and again he washes the dishes. The rest of the life he couch potatoes, thinking he will earn the regard of people around him by doing that – lording it about like that. But he does this one good thing – he washes the dishes. But what if he’s no companion to his wife. He ignores his children. He refuses to go out there and work harder. He lets the garden turn into a jungle. He’s a spendthrift and a gambler. And when you talk to him about any of his deficiencies, he has one response: ‘O, but I wash the dishes.’ Can you imagine the erupting applause? Or again here’s a preacher who’s elegant in what he says. He preaches like Spurgeon, but he ignores everybody and he never prays. And he won’t reach out to speak to anyone about the Gospel. When he sees somebody suffering, he ignores them or he goes away on a long break. But he preaches well. What good is that if the other things are not in place? So it’s no good if you’re circumcised, but you do not keep the Law. You see the act of circumcision can’t be separated from the framework in which it is found in the Old Testament. You and I are today meeting in the presence of the living God – the God who has intervened in our lives and brought us here. And how much work is still has to do in mine every day! He’s made great promises to us. He saved us by His grace and He encourages growth in grace and the killing of remaining sin in us and all His people. Our circumcision of remaining sin is earthed in all of that.

  4. Basic Principles
    (i) If you’re circumcised and yet you live a life of defiance toward the Law of God, then it’s as if you’ve never been circumcised at all. He tells these people who were so proud that God loved them, that they’ve become His chosen people that if they defied God’s Law then they’d be no different whatsoever from the uncircumcised Philistines. (ii) If those Gentiles, who have never been circumcised, yet keep the requirements of the law of God, then they’ll be regarded as though they were actually circumcised. Look at Doctor Luke, that beloved physician – a gentile who writes his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles. Think of his life. He has no other gods but God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He hates idols, he hates idol worship. He never takes God’s name in vain. Each week he has a day in which he gives himself to worship and the works of medical necessity. He honours his parents. He does no violence to anyone. He’s not guilty of any sexual misdemeanour. He doesn’t steal or lie or covet. All the twelve Apostles and Jewish Christians in every Church in Judea, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome, never think of him in any way that other than he is their circumcised brother, though he is not, but his godly and loving character won the admiration of them all. Luke, our uncircumcised and yet circumcised Gentile brother, because they’ve learned to appreciate that what counted was not the knife cutting away the foreskin, but a heart that’s been circumcised. Paul is saying this (according to John Stott): ‘Circumcision minus obedience equals uncircumcision. Uncircumcision plus obedience equals circumcision.’
    (iii) Uncircumcised Gentiles like Luke – who obey the Law – will actually condemn the circumcised Jews who are lawbreakers. Those proud Jews boasting their special relationship with God, and conscious that they’re so superior to the poor uncircumcised Gentiles. They are in for a rude awakening. The Day of judgment is going to find ranks of circumcised Jews standing in the midst of unsaved Gentile goats, hearing the Lord Jesus saying to them all: “Depart from Me, you cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels!” And all the Amens will come from the hosts of Gentile sheep who have loved and followed the Saviour, Jesus of Nazareth. And those Jews also who by the Spirit have been given circumcised hearts – been circumcised according to the flesh, but that outward act alone cannot make them what their disobedience proved they were not.
    He closed with some words on circumcision and the true Jew. Paul says this in the last two verses: “A man is not a Jew if he’s one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he’s one inwardly and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. And such a man’s praise is not from men, but from God.” What is God looking for? It is this: heart circumcision that from now on completely replaces the knife and the bleeding and the crying and the pain. He’s not asking for both – in other words heart circumcision plus bodily circumcision. Circumcision is part of the Altar and the feasts in Jerusalem and their time is over and gone forever. The written code that spelled out these ceremonial requirements has ended. Now there is the work in men’s and women’s hearts by the Spirit of God. And all through the rest of the letter Paul returns and turns again to that scene.

And so Paul sums up all he has to say to us in these four glorious truths:

  (i) The essence of being a truly religious man or woman is not found in something outward, but is inward and invisible.
 (ii) True circumcision is of the heart, not of the flesh.
(iii) True circumcision is effected by the Spirit, not by the Law.
(iv) True circumcision is what wins the approval of God, not the approval of a nation or of men.

How is your heart? Is it circumcised? I hope you understand better what that means this morning. May the Lord give us all, by His Spirit, the true circumcision of the heart.

[1] Inimitable meaning: So good or unusual as to be impossible to copy; unique.