I was struck by this passage as I did my CBS Bible study today. We read it for the purpose of comparing it to Genesis 17:1-14, where God makes a covenant with Abram, changes his name to Abraham, and commands him to circumcise himself and all the people. The question wanted us to notice how in the Genesis passage the circumcision was a sign of the covenant, but in Deuteronomy (and in Jeremiah 4:3-4) God refers to a circumcision of the heart. It is heart worship that He is looking for.And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statures of the Lord, which I am commanding you today for your good? Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. Yet the Lord set His heart in love on your fathers and chose their offspring after them, you above all peoples, as you are this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. Deuteronomy 10:12-17
I loved our CBS teaching last week, and this passage reminded me of one thing our teaching leader, Jan, said: "There should be nothing more real to me than the reality of Christ in me." That has stuck with me all week, and I think that is what God means when He says to circumcise the foreskin of our hearts, that nothing is more real to me, nothing more important, than Christ in me.
I may have mentioned before that Jan has a way of turning standard Christian thought and verbiage on its head, pointing out how it isn't really true at all. I love that about her. One thing she said last week was that God does not clean up our sin. The Christian life is not about putting away our sin, our old sin nature. That is Old Testament thinking. He never intended to fix us up to make us presentable to Himself. He always intended that the old man be done away with completely, that the old man be crucified and that we live a new life in Christ.
It was never our evil deeds that separated us from God as much as our evil nature that caused us to do those evil deeds. Jesus' death was not as much about wiping the bad deeds away as much as calling us into His crucifixion with Him. He doesn't fix us up; He calls us into His death and resurrection. We live through Him because we live in Him and we walk in Him, moment by moment.
We are Christ's body; as Jesus was God's communication to us, now we are God's communication to mankind. We are God's letter. In line with this, Jan has talked before about how we are the church as we walk in His light, as we walk in Him, in the new life He gives us. The church is certainly not a building, but it is also not simply a collection of people who come together on Sunday and put on VBS's and have potluck dinners. We are the church as we walk in Christ, not as we gather to sing hymns and teach Sunday school.
I wonder if all this is what God means by circumcising the foreskin of our hearts.