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Be Transformed by the Renewing of Your Mind

         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… [Colossians 2:8-11]

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THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT       

         Circumcision is a circle cut which removes the foreskin. It was a vital and necessary part of the Abrahamic Covenant. It was a type of heart circumcision in human flesh.

         “And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations…” [Genesis 17:12]

         Eight is the Biblical number of resurrection and regeneration.

THE NEW COVENANT

         It is the same with spiritual (heart) circumcision. Heart circumcision is a spiritual cut around the human heart (spirit) removing the natural, sinful flesh (foreskin). It is a vital and necessary part of the New Covenant instituted by the Lord Jesus—the Blood Covenant. It is the new birth. There is no new birth without a spiritual circumcision of the heart.

         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 2:29]

THE NEW SPIRITUAL MIND

         Scripture tells us that this heart “circle cut” also removes the lower human mind and renews it with a  new spiritual mind. All real Christians (real disciples of the Lord Jesus) have this mind. It goes along with the new spiritual heart. The renewed mind brings forth renewed thinking. An entirely brand new thinking process develops. It is a thought pattern based on the pure Word of God. It is in agreement with the thought pattern of the Lord Jesus.

         Prior to an actual new spiritual birth, the human thought process is in clear opposition to God. It is a thought process based on the selfish desires of human flesh. It is impossible for this thought process to bring forth anything of spiritual worth or good. This lower human nature is the result of the original rebellion of Adam and Eve. There is nothing to do about this lower nature—there is no escape from it—there is no higher nature to be achieved—unless one is born again from above as taught by the Lord Jesus.

THE ONE WAY TO LIFE

         There is only one new birth. There is only one way to God. There is only one way to the Father.

         The Lord Jesus is the Father.

         He is also the Way to the Father. It is through the humanity of the Lord Jesus that a person finds his or her way to God.

         This is why God—YHWH—the one God of the Hebrews, became a human being. He came among us as one of us to show us the Way to Life. As part of His great love it required a perfect blood sacrifice from within humanity to pay for the sin of mankind. Only one Man qualified. This perfect sacrifice could only have taken place through a perfect, sinless, and spotless human being. This is what and who the Lord Jesus was and is. He is Immanuel—God with us. He is also the Sacrifice Lamb. He became one of us as a Son in whom dwelt the Father (YHWH).

COUNTER CIRCUMCISION: THE MENTAL MARK

         The devil’s answer for the powerful new birth which creates millions of Holy Spirit-filled sons of God is to counterfeit the process. The only option he has is to capture minds. Once he captures minds he changes the thought process even beyond that of generic human rebellion against God and spiritual purity. He creates his own disciples.

         He brands a “mark” upon such minds which serves as more than a stronghold within it. His mark changes a person’s thinking and thought process to one in agreement with the devil’s thinking and thought process. It is a thought process of hate in the guise of love.

         Of course, every individual who undergoes this process is deceived by it. The majority of the devil’s disciples do not know they are serving him. Though they have become haters they are convinced they are lovers. They are blinded to spiritual reality. They have willingly accepted this mark, or branding. Their mind becomes controlled by evil in the guise of good.

         Paul described the devil’s circumcision of the human mind and one’s elimination of it as thus:

         …With gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will. [2Timothy 2:25-26]

         Paul also speaks of Christians who quit on the Lord (apostasy) and give themselves over to counterfeit forms of Christianity:

         But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron… [1Timothy 4:1-2]

         Thus, we can see that no person without the Lord is immune from the great deception of demonic forces. The only chance one has to be freed from deception is through the Lord Jesus, and this is done by repenting of sin and surrendering to Him so He can begin the process of the new birth. He can deliver the captives from spiritual death and free their minds from the devil’s control.

WHAT IS THE MARK OF THE BEAST?

         The word “mark” is found seven times in the Book of Revelation. It is translated into English from the Greek word charagma. It is defined as a stamp or impress, or imprinted mark. This particular mark has to do with the economic system of who the Book of Revelation refers to as the Beast.

         The Beast of Revelation is described as a bestial man—brutal, savage, and ferocious. Merriam-Webster defines the word bestial as “marked by base or inhuman instincts or desires.” This lines up perfectly with one who has taken the devil’s mark upon his mind.

         The Beast is the epitome of the aforesaid evil human being in total opposition and rebellion toward God. He is a man of brute force, epitomized by all the brutal dictators of history who had no care or concern for human beings, but used all and abused all to their own ends. His economic system will demand that everyone participate by first buying into the system entirely. Whoever does not will be excluded entirely. Such a system is further implied to be purely demonic and will be used as the method to gain souls through the selling of their souls. People will be forced to choose between God and mammon, one or the other, and nothing in-between.

         For those who choose the Mark of the Beast, it will be a furthering of the existing circumcised mark upon their minds, and will prove one’s total worship of the Beast and his kingdom from which retreat will be impossible.

         Do not be deceived. All who take the mark will do so because they have rejected the Lord Jesus and accepted the Beast. All of these will be unable to see him for who he really is and will love the Beast and believe him to be the greatest and most wonderful leader in history. Externally, he will possess an extremely likeable and charismatic personality. He will look good, dress good, sound good, and seemingly have an answer for every human heart.

         As a leader, he will satisfy every desire of every person on the planet, except, however, for real Christians, who will perceive him clearly, not hindered by the massive fog of deception made possible by a purely exterior masquerade. Only those born of the Spirit of God will see through the sham.

         In order to stay above the fray of dismay we must be born again. Our entire thought process must be renewed by the Spirit of God.

         Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. [Romans 12:2]

THE MIND OF CHRIST

         …But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE WHO LOVE HIM.”

         For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.

         Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

         But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one.

         For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ. [1Corinthians 2:7-16] [1]

         © 2015 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.

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Real Circumcision: Hearts Sewn Up With Blue (Part 2)

         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] [1]

         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.


[1] 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.

Real Circumcision: Hearts Sewn Up With Blue (Part 1)

Brit Milah

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         It is said that the greatest pain known to humanity is childbirth. Or breaking a femur. Yet, I must say for all the males among us that circumcision must rank right up there, though the majority of us partook of the round cut as tiny tots, and blessedly have no memory of the event. Based on this, a spiritual circumcision of the heart can’t be a walk in the park either, or the apostle Paul would not have used such a descriptive illustration.  

         Though there are many good things associated with physical circumcision, especially in the realm of health, God used it to distinguish the ancient Hebrews from heathen nations. It was a mark in flesh denoting the particular people of God. It signified the later New Covenant circumcision of the heart, in that all seed proceeding from a cleansed heart is pure and holy, and takes place by the Spirit of God. It was a viable part of the Mosaic code, and no man who would keep the Law was exempt. Becoming a real covenant man of God thus required serious commitment.

         God said further to Abraham, “Now as for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and your descendants after you throughout their generations. This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you: every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be the sign of the covenant between Me and you. And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants. A servant who is born in your house or who is bought with your money shall surely be circumcised; thus shall My covenant be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant. But an uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” [Genesis 17:9-14]

         Is there any doubt that Abraham wondered if he heard right? “Uh, you want me to do WHAT?” Here was a serious test. Though there were several reasons for God’s command in this area, the greatest was obedience. The next was the understanding that covenant with God would cost, would separate, would distinguish, and would weed out all pretenders. There is no way His people could adopt this practice without a full heart commitment.

         As opposed to most of our current sappy and wrongheaded Christianity, this was serious business. Yet, even circumcision became a mere rite over time. Like so many Christian things we presently do, many have become mere rituals with no heart involvement. It got so bad that the Lord had to make the following statements in the days of Moses:

         “So circumcise your heart, and stiffen your neck no longer.” [Deuteronomy 10:16]

         “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live.” [Deuteronomy 30:6]

         Though the Lord established an outward sign in the flesh, He kept trying to make the point that it was meant to also be a sign of an inward change of one’s heart. In a passage that echoes of the future Parable of the Sower, Jeremiah touched on this very topic in his time, speaking to a very wayward Israel:

         “For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart, men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or else My wrath will go forth like fire and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.’” [Jeremiah 4:3-4] [1]

         The keeping of external regulations is worthless if the heart remains unregenerate. Unreal Christians with uncircumcised hearts have mastered the process of acting out their chosen religious forms while turning a deaf ear to God. They violate and rip to shreds the commandment against idolatry. They create a God to suit themselves. With very stiff necks, they obey a false depiction of God and refuse to bend their knee, honor the Name, and give their hearts to the real Lord Jesus. [Part 1 of 2]

         © 2011 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.


[1] 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.