Circumcision is That of
< Romans 2:17-29 >
"Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make
your boast in God, and know His will, and approve the things that
are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident
that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who
are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes,
having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore,
who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that
a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, 'Do not commit
adultery,' do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob
temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God
through breaking the law? For 'the name of God is blasphemed among
the Gentiles because of you,' as it is written. For circumcision
is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker
of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore,
if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the
law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And
will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge
you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor
of the law? For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision
that which is outward in the flesh; 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."
We must be circumcised in
"Circumcision is that of the
heart." We are saved
when we believe with the heart. We must be saved in the heart. God
says, "Circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit,
and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men, but from God"
(Romans 2:29). We must have the remission of sin in our hearts.
If we don't have the forgiveness of sin in our hearts, it is invalid.
Man has an "inner self and an outer self," and every one
must receive the remission of sin inwardly.
The Apostle Paul says to Jews, "Circumcision
is that of the heart." Then what did the Jews circumcise?
They circumcised a part of the flesh. However, the Apostle Paul
says, "Circumcision is that of the heart." Jews
circumcised outwardly, but Paul says that circumcision is that of
the heart. God tells us in our hearts when we become His children.
Paul does not talk about the outward
circumcision, but the circumcision and the remission of sin in the
heart. So when he says, "For what if some did not believe?"
(Romans 3:3) He means, "If some did not believe in the
heart." He does not talk about outwardly believing, but says,
"Believe in the heart." We must know what the Apostle
Paul means and what the remission of sin is. We must also learn
how to obtain the remission of sin in our hearts though God's word.
"For what if some did not
believe?" means "For what if Jews did not believe
in Jesus Christ as their Savior, even though they are Abraham's
descendants by the flesh? " Will their unbelief make the faithfulness
of God without effect? Shall the fact that God blotted out all our
sins including the sins of Abraham's descendants become invalid?
Never. Paul says that even the Jews, who are the descendants of
Abraham by the flesh, can be saved when they believe that Jesus
Christ is the Savior, the Son of God, who took away the sins of
the world through His baptism and crucifixion. He also says that
the salvation and grace of God through Jesus Christ cannot become
Romans 3:3-4 states, "For
what if some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness
of God without effect? Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but
every man a liar. As it is written: 'That You may be justified in
Your words, and may overcome when You are judged.'" The
Lord promised with His word and sanctified believers by accomplishing
His promise by Himself. God wants to show His righteousness and
to justify those who have faith in Jesus through His word by accomplishing
what He promised when He is judged. Even we, who have the remission
of sin in our hearts, also want to be judged by His word and want
to overcome with His word when we are judged.
The Apostle Paul tells about
the outer and inner self
Paul talks about his "outer and
inner self." We also have an outer self and inner self, which
are the flesh and the spirit. We are the same as him. Now Paul deals
with the issue.
Romans 3:5 states, "But if
our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what
shall we say?" Paul does not mean that his outer self is
clean. His flesh is dirty and continues sinning until he dies. This
includes all the people in the world. However, if God had saved
those people, wouldn't it demonstrate His righteousness? Wouldn't
God be righteous if He had saved human beings, though their outer
selves are infirm? So Paul says, "Is God unjust who inflicts
wrath? (I speak as a man.) Certainly not! For then how will God
judge the world?" (Romans 3:5-6) Paul explains that we
are not saved just because our outer selves are clean.
We have outer and inner selves. However,
Paul deals with the realm of the heart saying, "For what if
some did not believe? Will their unbelief make the faithfulness
of God without effect? Circumcision is that of the heart."
It is not true faith if we become a righteous person once and then
a sinner the next day by establishing our faith on the basis of
our outer self who sins and has infirmities.
Outer man always sins until
The Apostle Paul did not place his
hopes on his outer self. Those whose sins are blotted out also have
outer and inner selves. How do they feel when they see their outer
selves? They cannot help being disappointed. Let us see our outer
selves. Sometimes we are good, but sometimes we are simply abominable.
But the Bible says that our outer selves were crucified with Jesus
Christ. Our outer selves died, and Jesus Christ forgave all the
sins of our outer selves.
We who are saved are frequently disappointed
with our outer selves when we look at our outer selves. We seem
to be hopeful when our outer selves do well, but become disappointed
when they don't meet our expectations. We tend to think that our
faiths are wrecked when we are disappointed with our external selves.
However, this is not right. Our outer selves were already crucified
with Christ. Those who have the remission of sins also go on sinning
through their physical bodies. But isn't that a sin? Yes it is,
but it is a dead sin. It's dead because the sins were taken to the
Cross with the Lord. The sin that the outer flesh commits is not
a serious problem, however it is a serious matter that our hearts
are not right in front of the Lord.
We must believe in God with
More iniquities are revealed to the
righteous just after receiving the remission of sin. Therefore,
God's salvation would become imperfect if we set our basis of salvation
upon our outer men who cannot but sin every moment. Our faiths would
deviate from the faith in God, which Abraham had, if we set our
faiths on the basis of the deeds of the outer flesh.
The Apostle Paul says, "Circumcision
is that of the heart." We become sanctified and righteous
by believing in the heart, not according to the deeds of the outer
men. Sanctification does not depend on whether our outer men do
as God says or not. Do you understand this? The problem is that
we have both the outer and inner selves and they coincide. Therefore,
we sometimes tend to place more weight on the outer man. We become
confident if our outer selves do well, but disappointed if they
don't. Paul says this is not the right faith.
"Circumcision is that of the
heart." What is the real truth? How do we know and believe
with the heart? In Matthew 16, Jesus asked Peter, "Who do you
say that I am?" Then Peter confessed his faith, saying, "You
are the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter believed
like that with the heart. Jesus said, "Blessed are you, Simon
Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood have not revealed this to you, but
my Father who is in heaven." Jesus said Peter's faith was right.
Abraham had no son. God led him with
His word and promised that He would give him a son and that he would
be a father of many nations. He also said that God would be God
to him and his descendants after him. God told Abraham, his family
and his descendants to be circumcised as a sign of the covenant
between God and Abraham. "The scars of cutting a part of the
flesh is the covenant that I am God to you," said God. Abraham
believed the covenant with his heart. He believed that God would
be God to him and bless his heart. He also believed that God would
be God to his descendants after him. He believed in God Himself.
We are made righteous by
believing the gospel of the water and the Spirit with the heart
We are made righteous by believing
with our hearts that God is our God, our Savior. We are saved by
believing with our hearts. We are not saved by anything else. We
have become righteous by believing with our hearts that God is our
God and He blotted out all our sins with the baptism of Jesus and
His death on the Cross. Believing with our hearts saves us. So the
Bible says, "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness,
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans
What we must make clear at this time
is that we are made righteous by believing with our hearts, and
not by virtuous deeds of our flesh. We would not become righteous
if Jesus attached a condition to our outer selves, saying, "I
will blot out all your sins, but under one condition. You can be
my child if you avoid sinning. You cannot be my child if you fail
to do so."
We are made righteous by believing
with our hearts. Could we have been made righteous if God had attached
conditions to our outer man? Do you believe that God saved you by
taking away your sins through His baptism in the Jordan River, being
crucified and judged in your place? How do you believe this? Don't
you believe with your heart? Could you have been saved perfectly
if God had said, "I will forgive your small infirmities but
will not forgive the big ones. I will make your deliverance invalid
if you fail to keep this condition"?
We must separate outer man
from inner man
Our flesh, the outer man, is always
weak and cannot reach the righteousness of God by itself. We are
made righteous by believing with the heart in front of God because
He promised to save those who believe with their hearts. Seeing
our faith that we admit what God did and that Jesus took away and
blotted out all our sins with the heart, God makes us His righteous
children. It is the covenant of God, and He saved us by fulfilling
God says that when He sees faith in
our hearts, we are His people. We must separate our outer man from
our inner man. Nobody in the world would receive the remission of
sin if we set our benchmark of salvation on our deeds of the outer
flesh. "Circumcision is that of the heart." We
are saved by believing in Jesus Christ with our hearts. Do you understand
this? "For with the heart one believes unto righteousness,
and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" (Romans
10:10). The Apostle Paul apparently separates the outer man
from the inner man.
Our outer man is worse than dog shit.
It's worthless. We don't need to use Abraham as an example. Look
at yourself. See your worthless flesh. The flesh resorts to trickery
in trying to obtain a high social position and to live in affluence.
Doesn't the flesh always do nothing but seek its own interest? The
flesh would be judged more than twelve times a day if it were judged
on how it thinks and acts. The flesh is against God.
Fortunately, God does not care about
our outer man, but He take notice of only our inner man. He saves
us when He sees us really believe that Jesus is the Savior with
our hearts. He tells us that He saved us from all our sins.
We can never be saved by
our own thoughts
Let us look into our own thoughts.
We think we can believe merely with our thoughts. We can believe
with the thoughts of the flesh, thinking, 'I was saved because God
saved me.' However, we cannot be saved by our thoughts. The carnal
mind changes all the time and always does evil. Is this true? Thoughts
of the carnal mind want to do this and that according to its lusts.
Let's suppose someone put his/her
faith on the basis of his/her thoughts. He/she can have confidence
in his/her salvation while his/her present thought agree with his/her
former thought, that is, 'Jesus took away all our sins in the Jordan
River.' However, because thoughts of the flesh are not stable, he/she
cannot have confidence in His salvation any more, once a slight
bit of doubt invades his/her feeble thought on salvation. The wrongly
built faith based on fleshly thought will fall down at a stroke
of a doubt.
We cannot truly believe in Him and
the truth if we lay the basis of our faith on our own thoughts.
Such a faith is like a house built on the sand, "And the
rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on
that house; and it fell. And great was its fall" (Matthew 7:27).
Therefore, the faith of a person who
believes with thoughts is far from the faith based on God's word.
God said, "That You may be justified in Your words, and
may overcome when You are judged" (Romans 3:4). Our salvation
should be based on His word. The Word became flesh and dwelt among
us, and God is the Word. The Word came to the earth in the likeness
of men. Jesus saved us and was taken up after His 33 years of lifetime
on the earth and led His Apostles to write the word of promise,
which is the accomplishment of the Old Testament that He also told
to His servants before. God wrote what He said and did in the Bible.
God appears in and with the Word, speaks with the Word and saved
us with the Word.
We cannot have the perfect remission
of sin with our own thoughts, while not believing in God's word,
thinking, 'I seem to be saved sometimes, but I cannot believe the
salvation of the Lord sometimes.' We cannot be saved with thoughts
because our thoughts always change and they are not always true.
Therefore, the Apostle Paul says that
circumcision is that of the heart and we believe His righteousness
with the heart. When our heart believes in His word, the heart apparently
testifies that God promised this in the Old Testament and accomplished
His covenant. He saved us like this in the New Testament by His
word. We are saved and become God's children by believing in His
words with our hearts.
We are saved from our sins
by believing the gospel of the water and the Spirit with the heart
We are saved by faith because the
heart can admit God, but our thoughts of carnal mind may not admit
Him. We become God's children by believing with our hearts, not
by the deeds or thoughts of our outer man. It is clear that we become
God's children by believing in His word with our hearts. Do you
believe with your heart? Are you circumcised in the heart? Do you
believe in your heart that Jesus is your Savior? The one who believes
in the Son of God has the witness in himself. Do you have the witness
of the word that Jesus perfectly saved you, not the witness of personal
experience? Do you have the word of God in your heart? Do you have
the word that gave you the remission of sins? To have true faith
is to be saved by faith.
We receive the remission of sins by
believing in God's word with our hearts. However, we are frequently
disappointed when we look at the weaknesses of our outer man. And
then we are apt to retreat from out faith in God. One who does not
fully understand the truth is under an illusion. Most Christians
set the benchmark of their faith on their deeds. That's a great
mistake. We must not measure our faiths on our own thoughts. We
should not set the basis of our faith on out flesh because the flesh
is useless. The Old Testament and the New Testament tell us that
one is made righteous when he/she believes in God's word with the
heart. We are not saved from sins by thoughts or deeds, but only
by faith. We cannot be saved by the deeds of the flesh. Whether
we sin or do good deeds has nothing to do with God and His glory.
Therefore, true faith means to be
saved by believing the truth of salvation of God's word with the
heart. Our faiths are wrong when our hearts are wrong and our faiths
are right when our hearts are right. Right behavior comes from right
faith. Wrong behavior may come out because the heart is weak. But
the important thing is that God looks at the heart. God looks at
the heart and investigates it. God looks whether the heart is right
or not. God looks whether we really believe with the heart or not.
Do you understand? Do you know that God looks at our hearts? God
looks on whether we believe in Jesus Christ with our hearts when
He looks at our hearts. Do you believe with your heart?
God observes whether we believe with
the heart or not when He looks upon us. He looks in our hearts.
We must check up our hearts in God's presence. Circumcision is that
of the heart. Do you believe with the heart? God looks at the heart.
He looks at whether we really believe with our hearts or not. He
looks at whether we really know the truth and whether we want to
pursue it or not. He looks at whether we have faith in our hearts
or not and whether we want to follow Him and believe in His word.
There is a religious body
that puts a great importance on the exact time of being born again
It is important to have an exact knowledge
of what Jesus Christ did and believe it with the heart. There is
a religious body that tells the brothers and sisters in our church
that they are not saved. I feel pity for the souls in that religious
body. I want to let them understand me and teach them the gospel
of the water and the Spirit. Are your sins blotted out? -Amen.-
Do you believe it with the heart?
But there are some people who say
that our faiths are not right. They say that we must not believe
the word as it is written and believe only what is proved with science.
They say that is perfect salvation and perfect faith. They say that
a born again person should know exactly time he/she was born again
(hour, date, month). When brother Hwang to meet with one of them,
the person asked brother Hwang when he was born again, so brother
Hwang answered that he did not know the exact date and hour, but
that he was born again by believing in the gospel of the water and
the Spirit, sometime last year. Then he said that brother Hwang
was not saved.
Of course, we can say the exact hour
and date and month and year if we trace back to when we were born
again. We can even say whether it was A.M or P.M; or the morning,
afternoon, lunchtime or suppertime. However, salvation depends on
believing with the heart. It doesn't matter if you can't remember
the exact time.
Circumcision is that of the
The Lord took all our sins onto Him
at the Jordan River and was crucified in our place to be judged
for the sins. He was wounded for our transgressions and bruised
for our iniquities. He took away all the sins of our outer and inner
man. Our spirits rose again from the dead and now we can follow
the Lord as He pleases, even though some people may viciously tell
us that we are not saved.
What does the Bible say about the
outer man? More and more infirmities seem to be revealed after we
receive the remission of sin. All of our infirmities have not been
revealed yet; more insufficiencies will be revealed. However, we
are saved if we believe in our hearts that God is our God and that
Jesus took away all our sins in the Jordan River through His baptism
and was crucified.
We cannot be compared with people
who put an importance on the date when they were born again and
believe only what is proved by science. Clearly, they are not saved.
We believe with our hearts to become righteous. Do you believe that
Jesus Christ is our Savior? -Amen.- Faith begins from that point
and the Lord leads our hearts from that time. The Lord says that
we are His righteous children and our faiths are true. He blesses
our hearts and wants us to follow Him with our hearts by faith.
God leads us and blesses us when we walk with Him through the faith
in our hearts.
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"Circumcision is that of the
heart." We were saved by believing with our hearts. Many
people on the earth say that believing the gospel with their hearts
saved them. However, they actually add their deeds to the faith.
They regard the deeds of the outer man as essential condition of
their faith. They say that having faith in the gospel of the water
and the Spirit cannot lead them to salvation because they mix believing
with the heart and their own virtuous deeds.
As a result, they are more concerned
with how well the outer man does and how often they offered the
prayers of repentance. They are far from salvation even though they
think they are saved from their sins.
God looks on the heart
We believe to become righteous in
our hearts. It is purely separated from the outer flesh and has
noting to do with our deeds. Salvation itself has no relation with
our deeds. Are you refreshed after learning that all your sins have
been blotted out? Do you want to serve the Lord with joy? Do you
preach the gospel with joy? Do you want to engage yourself in His
beautiful mission? The heart becomes grateful and joyful because
God approves our faiths when we believe with our hearts. Therefore,
the heart is very important before God.