“One Year Bible” New Testament Passage
28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God. Romans 2:28-29 (NKJV)
In the days of Jesus, there were three things that distinguished orthodox Jews. There were three outward “markers” that determined authenticity. Those were Sabbath-keeping, dietary laws, and circumscision. It is interesting to note that these are the three that Jesus and Paul dealt with the most!
Jesus was constantly confronting the Sabbath issue. He would heal on the Sabbath, He would even pick some corn! His disciples were once questioned because they didn’t wash their hands properly (a part of dietary law). Circumcision was a huge issue surrounding the ministry of Paul.
These “markers” are always outward signs that people use to determine legitimacy. They can be manners of dress, or ways of talking. They can be hair or make-up for women. They are OUTWARD signs that people use to show how holy they are. They usually involve what we DO or what we DON’T DO. “We don’t smoke, we don’t chew, we don’t run with girls who do.”
Paul agrees with Jesus (Matt. 15). It is not what is on the outside that make a man holy. It is what is on the inside. It is your heart. Being right with God does not start with religious observances or outward appearances. It starts with a heart of faith — a “circumcision” of the heart done by the Holy Spirit.
Our prayer today is that God help us to stay right on the inside. Then the outside will be ok.