Circumcised and Baptized

McKee Road Baptist – May 3, 2020 AM Worship – Coronavirus Emailed

Colossians 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Today we are going to discuss circumcision and baptism and how they relate to the
child of God. Pay close attention as we allow God’s Words to clarify our understanding.

Colossians 2:9-10 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10 And ye
are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

In these two verses the Apostle Paul explained to the church of Colosse that they are
complete in Christ! They have, in Christ, already received all that God is, and nothing
can be added, Paul now rehearses how this happened to them.

Colossians 2:11-12 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made
without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of
Christ: 12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the
faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

The Judaizers were a group of people who went around in the first century promoting
Judaism. They were saying that in order to be a Christian, you must first come through
the door of Judaism. You must be circumcised and keep the law:

Acts 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and
said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

This is an attack on the gospel. This is faith plus circumcision. We first read about circumcision in Genesis 17. In chapter 15, we have the inauguration of the Abrahamic covenant. God promises to make of Abraham a great nation. God meets with Abraham and promises him that he would be a blessing.

In this Abrahamic covenant is the promise of a Redeemer. That Redeemer is Christ. That is how Abraham is going to be a blessing to all nations, through Christ. The book of Galatians makes it clear that this promise was in reference to the coming Redeemer, Christ. Then in
chapter 17, God gives Abraham a symbol of the covenant so he will not forget the
promise that was made:

Genesis 17:10-14 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and
thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. 11 And ye shall
circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me
and you. 12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man
child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any
stranger, which [is] not of thy seed. 13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your
flesh for an everlasting covenant. 14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of
his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken
my covenant.

Today we wear wedding rings as tokens of the covenant that we made with our spouse.
This is God’s token of the covenant, circumcision. The English word “circumcision”
comes from a Latin word, which means: “to cut around” it describes the original biblical
reference to a surgery that was performed on males.

It was God who instituted circumcision as a sign or token of the covenant that He had
made with Abraham. All Israel and those associated with them had to be circumcised.
To the Jews, this was their badge that they were the children of God.

Man is a sinner at the root of his existence, whatever comes from the loins of man is
wicked. When man procreates, he produces a sinner, so the nature of sin is passed on
to the next generation. Remember, Jesus Christ had no human father, was sinless.

When God demanded that the male be circumcised, He was giving them a symbol that
the outward part of man was cleansed to remind them that man needed to be cleansed
of sin at the deepest root of his being. Man needed a spiritual surgery to cleanse him.
Every time they circumcised a person, they were reminding themselves of the fact that
man was a wicked sinner and in need of a cleansing. Even the blood shed that occurred
in circumcision symbolized the need for sacrifice to accomplish that cleansing. So, there
was even a picture of the pain and sacrifice needed to cleanse the sinner in

God intended it to be a physical symbol of a spiritual reality. Circumcision was to be
much more than just an outward sign. It was to be the outward sign of an inward reality,
but they lost the true meaning and kept only the outward sign:

Deuteronomy 10:16 Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more

Jeremiah 4:4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your
heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire,
and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

Circumcision was a spiritual thing. They were keeping the outward symbol, but were not
realizing the spiritual significance of it. The symbol means nothing without the reality.

The Jews were circumcised on the outside but not the inside. Circumcision is the
external symbol depicting the need for a total cleansing from sin. However, many Jews
felt as long as they were circumcised, they had God’s blessing.

Now the Apostle Paul comes along preaching grace to the Gentiles. Paul is teaching
that salvation is by faith alone. The Jews are getting very upset, and were causing
trouble in the new churches with their Old Testament ceremony. In Acts 15, we have the
first church council to deal with the issue of circumcision:

Acts 15:5-8 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed,
saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law
of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and
brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the
Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 8 And God,
which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he
did unto us;

Peter is saying that the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit just like the Jews had, and they
were not circumcised. The council declared that circumcision was not necessary for
salvation. Note: This process is known as doctrinal development. Every generation experiences this process.

Galatians 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit
you nothing.

Paul is saying, Christ plus circumcision equals nothing. You cannot add anything to
faith. If you do, you destroy faith. If you think in order to be saved you have got to be
circumcised, then Christ will not do you any good, because you are believing in
salvation by works.

Colossians 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without
hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

God circumcised us at the point of our salvation. At that moment we entered into union
with Christ. We did not earn or deserve that privilege; it is an act of God’s grace.

Paul says we have been given a circumcision, not of the flesh by the hands of men, but
with the circumcision done by Christ. By this spiritual circumcision, the old sinful nature
(flesh) has been cut away or put off. We have been delivered from the old sinful nature.

In other words, Christ has set us free from the bondage to sin. The power of sin has
been broken, and we are no longer slaves to it. “Putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ”

Romans 5:12-21 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by
sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin
was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death
reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of
Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 15 But not as the
offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much
more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath
abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the
judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto
justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they
which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by
one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men
to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men
unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,
so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 20 Moreover the law
entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more
abound: 21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul introduces the theme of our union with Christ. We were joined to Adam; his sin was imputed to us. Now by faith, we are joined to Jesus Christ; and His righteousness has been imputed to us. Because we are in Christ, all that belongs to Jesus Christ becomes ours. Your salvation and mine depends only, entirely, and exclusively upon the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly,
his faith is counted for righteousness.

There are no works involved in salvation, it is a free gift of God’s grace to all who

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Here then is a question, “If everything depends on what God has done, then what does
it matter, how we live?” There are those that say, “Once saved, always saved leads to lawlessness. You preachers of salvation by grace through faith alone weaken our sense of moral responsibility. You only encourage sinful behavior with that kind of teaching.”
Notice what the Apostle Paul said.

Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

He shouts out, “God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer there in?”
He says that we “died” to sin. He is describing something that happened to us as a fact.
We died to sin. This is what Paul is saying in Colossians when he says, “Putting off the
body of the sins of the flesh.” In what sense have believers put off the body of the flesh
or died to sin? The answer is found in:

Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through
righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

We have died to the rule and reign of sin. Sin’s reign came in Adam and was broken by
the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.

How can Paul say we are dead to sin? We still sin, we still feel the power of temptation.
How can Paul say this? We must differentiate between what is true of our position as a
fact and our experience. Paul is talking here about our position before God.

Positionally, we have died to the reign of sin under Adam. We died to sin’s reign, and we no longer have to live in sin. We have been set free. So why do we still sin then? We still sin because there is a great difference between being given a position and realizing that you are in that position.

By way of illustration, at the end of the Civil war, slavery was abolished in the United
States. But what actually happened was that many of the slaves who had endured long
years of servitude found it very difficult to understand their new status. When they saw
their old master coming, they would respond as a slave. They were free, but for some, it
took them a long time to realize it.

The sixth chapter of Romans was written to make believers understand that we have
died to sin. How did we die to sin? Paul’s answer in verses 3-11 is the doctrine of our
union with Jesus Christ:

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death?

The best way to understand the doctrine of our union with Jesus Christ is to be clear as
to the meaning of the phrase, "baptized into Jesus Christ." To understand this phrase, we need to understand the word, "baptized." Its primary meaning is: to plunge, to dip, to immerse. In days of old, it could speak of a smith who dips a piece of hot iron in water, tempering it.

There is more than one meaning for the original word, baptize. In any language, there
may be literal and metaphorical (a comparison between two things that are unrelated)
meanings of a word. For example: If I said to you, “I am the black sheep of my family. I
am not saying that I am black nor am I saying that I am a sheep. I am using those words
to describe a condition of myself. It has nothing to do with a color or an animal. It is a
metaphorical saying.

In exactly the same manner, the word baptize has a meaning far removed from
anything to do with water. Thinking of water in connection with this passage of the Bible
leads to error as it does with many passages dealing with baptism.

The word baptize used metaphorically means: a change of identity or to identify.

1 Corinthians 10:1-2 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how
that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2 And were all
baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;

Baptism here means initiation into a new relationship, or identification with Moses. It
does not mean immersion; the Israelites were never in the sea at all; they passed over
on dry land (Exodus 14:21-22). It was Pharaoh’s soldiers who got wet. They were all
united and identified with Moses. Moses was God’s appointed leader of Israel. The
basic Christian significance for baptism is identification with Christ. We are united to
Christ, the Son of God, our leader.

Note: Ritual baptism is immersing someone in water. Real baptism is the act of the Holy
Spirit placing the believer in the body of Christ, this is identification. The very moment
we believed on Christ as our Savior, we were baptized by the Holy Spirit, placed into the
Body of Christ. By being members of the Body of Christ, everything that is true of the
Head is true of each member of His Body:

1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be
Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one

When we believed the gospel, the Holy Spirit put us into the body of Christ, united. This
is not physical but a spiritual identification.

Our salvation is guaranteed because everything that happened to Christ happened to
us. As we were united to Adam, so we are now united to Christ, and it is the Spirit who
unites us to Christ. I am in Christ and Christ is in me, union.

Romans 6:3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were
baptized into his death?

We were baptized (identified) into Christ’s death. When Jesus Christ died, we died with
Him. We are one with Him, and His death is ours.

The late L.E. Maxwell, an educator and minister from Canada, told this story. I think it
will help us in seeing our identification with Christ:

“During the Civil War a man by the name of George Wyatt was drawn by lot to go to the
front. He had a wife and six children. A young man named Richard Pratt offered to go in
his stead. He was accepted and joined the ranks, bearing the name and number of
George Wyatt. Before long Pratt was killed in action. The authorities later sought again
to draft George Wyatt into service. He protested, entering the plea that he had died in
the person of Pratt. He insisted that the authorities consult their own records as to the
fact of his having died in identification with Pratt, his substitute. Wyatt was thereby
exempted as beyond the claims of law and further service. He had died in the person of
his representative. There we have the truth of identification in a nutshell. God’s way of
deliverance is through death – through the identification with our Substitute in His death
and resurrection.” Taken from Maxwell’s book, “Born Crucified” chapter one “The
Believer’s Identification.”

Wyatt was dead to the Confederacy just as you are dead to sin. The Confederacy had
no authority over a dead man. Likewise, Christ went to the cross in your place, signed
your name and died as your substitute. It is written in the document of the Heavenly
Court that you died on a cross in the service of God to satisfy the draft of the law of sin
and death.

Just as George Wyatt was freed from the Confederacy draft, the cross of Christ has
freed us from the law of sin and death.

Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ
was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in
newness of life.

Paul is saying that as that is true of Christ, "even so" it is true of us. "Even so we also should walk in newness of life.” Christ walks in newness of life as the result of the resurrection, and so do we. The newness of life here does not refer to a new quality
of experience or conduct, but to a new quality of life imparted to the individual. Verses
1-11 of Romans 6 do not deal with the Christian’s experience or behavior but with his
position before God. Newness of life is the newness which consists of life.

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things
are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

This is not dealing with my walk, but with my position before God. We died with Christ
and were buried with Him, but it doesn’t stop there.

Romans 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall
be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

What has happened to Christ, literally and physically, has happened to us spiritually.
Physically, we did not die when Christ died, but judicially in the reckoning of God we did.
This is identification.

Verse 5 is the key verse in this section, teaching our union with Christ. Verses 6 &7 are
a description of the first half of verse 5, For if we have been planted together in the
likeness of His death…

Romans 6:6-7 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin
might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is
freed from sin.

Knowing this We only know this because Scripture teaches it. The old man is the
man that I used to be in Adam. The word crucified means: was crucified with Christ.
That man that was joined to Adam was crucified together with Christ.

Because of our union with Christ in his crucifixion, we are dead to sin; we have been set
free from its power. We are no longer slaves of sin. Verses 8-10 explain the last half of verse 5, “we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection.”

Romans 6:8-10 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with
him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no
more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he
liveth, he liveth unto God.

Christ temporally came under the power of sin, and it killed him. By rising from the dead,
He broke its power, and when he came out of the grave, we came out with him.

Remember, what is true of Christ is true of us. All that Jesus Christ is and has, we are
and have; we are one with him. The Lord God has put believers in Christ. Our destiny is bound up with His. What He has gone through, we have gone through. Where He is, we are.

Romans 6:11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive
unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The believer is to look upon himself in the light of this truth. He is to remind himself that
he is freed from the penalty and dominion of sin. He is also to count upon the fact that
he receives his spiritual life from Christ daily.

The word reckon means: to calculate, to take into account, to figure, to count on,
consider the fact. Let your mind focus on these truths. Meditate upon them, keep
saying them to yourselves, remind yourself of who you are in Christ.

Be constantly counting upon the fact that you are dead to sin, and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Someone said, “The secret to holy living is in a mind centered on our position in Christ”. You may not feel dead to sin but remember, feelings do not have anything to do with it. It is a judicial fact, set in place by the high court of heaven. It is a faith fact.
Now we circle back to Colossians.

Colossians 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him]
through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Paul is not writing of water baptism. He is showing the Colossians that in Christ is
everything that is sufficient for their need This verse has NOTHING to do with water baptism, it speaks of identification. This is the exact same thing we saw in Romans 6.
One commentator wrote, The evidence of this spiritual circumcision is baptism. When
the believer stands before the congregation and is baptized, he is telling them that he
has left behind his old ways and is living as a follower of Jesus Christ. He bears witness
to the saving power of God that lives in him.

Paul is not speaking of water baptism in 2:12 just as he is not speaking of physical
circumcision in 2:11. Both verses speak of spiritual realities. The words buried with mean: to bury together, join in burying or to be buried with. The word with indicates a co-relationship with Jesus Christ. This is a co-burial. It is saying, When Jesus was buried, we were buried. God buried us along with Jesus Christ! This obviously does not mean that God put us into the same tomb as Jesus and we laid down beside him! This is our union with Christ.

When Jesus died, we died together with Him. When Christ rose from the dead, we rose
with Him. When Christ ascended to heaven, we ascended with Him and are now seated
with Him in the heavenlies. Our identification with Christ includes the crucifixion with
Him, burial with Him; and our resurrection, ascension and glorification with Christ. Our
identification with Christ is so complete that God reckons us as having experienced co-
crucifixion, co-burial, co-resurrection, co-ascension, and co-glorification. This is the way
God sees us. Should not we see ourselves in the same manner?

Proper biblical hermeneutics (proper interpretation of Scripture) is of utmost importance.
Many of the “Christian Faith” take words or phrases from the Word of God and promote
their “own” truth. These “truths” generated from a false premise (improper assumption)
and built upon a false interpretation of Scripture, results in an incorrect conclusion. Such
teachings have eternal consequences. That is why we study Scripture.