Read: Romans 2:25-29
Everyone in my family has curly hair. It’s a mark binding us together as a family. My father’s hair has fallen out, my mother’s is straightened more than not, and my brother keeps his too short to tell. But, in old pictures, the unity is unveiled. We are a family. Most of the time, we couldn’t be more different in looks and personality, yet when people see my curls, they know who I belong to.
If I were to disown my family, never visit, or talk to them, then I’m not doing what a member of the family does. Now, if my sister-in-law who doesn’t have our curly hair, is at every family function, visits my parents, calls them, and is active in their lives, she is a more of a daughter to my parents than I am.
Circumcision was the sign that someone was a Jew in Bible times. Every Jewish male was instructed to be circumcised. It was a distinction that marked who they belonged to. They were the people of God.
But, in Romans Paul says that being circumcised, or being marked this way as a Jew, is not what makes a person holy or righteous in God’s eyes. True righteousness requires a ‘circumcision of the heart’ (v. 29). Without inward obedience the outward sign is pointless. Only the gospel can accomplish this. It was not enough to appear as followers of God, they had to actually follow His teachings. Romans 2:25 states “For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.” Circumcision wasn’t enough. In addition to this external mark, they needed to obey God. If they failed to have the inward obedience then the outward appearance was pointless.
Paul writes that those who aren’t circumcised, but follow what God commands are more righteous than those who are circumcised but disobey. Romans 2:27 says,” Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law.”
Romans 2:29 tells us that this kind of righteousness is ultimately a matter of the heart. Being truly righteous means more than just looking the part. We can wear the cross necklaces, get the Hebrew tattoo, and have all the Christian music playlists we can, but if our hearts are not changed, then it is all pointless. Our hearts need to be circumcised. This is what Christ does for us through the gospel.
Do you care more about appearing like you follow God or are you actually following Him? Are living for Christ when no one is watching? It is not about looking like a Christian on the outside, it is acting as Christ would, and following His commands. Are you following Christ with your heart? Is your life centered on following Him?