For indeed circumcision is of value if you practice the Law; but if you are a transgressor of the Law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law 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 which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God. [Romans 2:25-29]
In writing such things, it is no wonder that Paul was a hunted man. The unbelieving Jews hated him for seemingly making of little consequence the distinguishing mark of ancient Jewish belief. Yet the truth of a circumcised heart was obviously revealed by God, and it relates just as directly to all unbelieving Christians who make their religious service or quasi-Christian beliefs their saving grace. Paul was, of course, a Jew in very good standing. He saw the issue from both sides, first as an unbeliever and later as a disciple of the Lord. The believing Jews, who comprised the great bulk of early disciples, understood what he was saying, as did believing Gentiles, and applied the truth accordingly. They saw that one’s heart must change for the better, and a person must become a new creation.
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority; and in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. [Colossians 2:8-12]
In spiritual New Covenant terms, physical circumcision is a non-issue:
Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God. [1 Corinthians 7:19]
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love. [Galatians 5:6]
For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. [Galatians 6:15]
It is the circumcision of the heart by the Spirit of God that really matters. It brings forth:
- The keeping of the commandments of God
- Faith working through love
- A new creation
From the Jewish perspective, that which Paul was stating was akin to blasphemy. To say that circumcision meant nothing violated the very covenant that God made with Abraham and the entire nation of Israel! Something had changed. For the unbelieving Jews, it was that the original covenant had been violated anyway, since it had become a mere ritual. For the believing Jews, they understood it was about the heart.
We are warned, therefore, to watch out for the counterfeit. There are many people preaching and believing false gospels. Paul was not the least bit shy, through speaking and writing by the anointing of God, in attacking the enemies of the Lord and those who persisted in bringing forth false teachings. Many in his day claimed to be the real thing. Many others stood up for truth and for the correct teachings of the Lord, regardless of the cost. False believers of today are no different from those of yesteryear.
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers, beware of the false circumcision; for we are the true circumcision, who worship in the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh… [Philippians 3:2-3]
The Lord has made a way to not only perform very necessary surgery on unregenerate hearts, but also established a method of remembrance upon them in keeping with an Old Testament type as put forth in the following passage:
The LORD also spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, and tell them that they shall make for themselves tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and that they shall put on the tassel of each corner a cord of blue. It shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the LORD, so as to do them and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after which you played the harlot, so that you may remember to do all My commandments and be holy to your God. I am the LORD your God who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am the LORD your God.” [Numbers 15:37-41] 
Regardless of suffering and persecution, real Christians serve the Lord Jesus because they love Him. They give their lives as a burnt offering, are washed in His Name, are raised to new life, submit completely to a holy God, and their new circumcised hearts are sewn up with a thread of blue. [Part 2 of 2]
© 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.