Do you believe circumcision is required for a Christian? We Christians use Gal 5:2 as proof telling us circumcision is no longer a requirement for a Christian. In Gal 5:2, Paul says if we decide to become circumcised, Christ will be of no effect to us. So, according to Paul, circumcision will cause us to lose our salvation. Are you 100% sure you have understood Paul correctly in Gal 5:2?
If our understanding of Gal 5:2 is correct, and circumcision causes us to lose our salvation, then we have a problem in Acts 16. In Acts 16, Paul circumcises Timothy, and this is the same Timothy who is commended by Paul for his faith and his leadership as a young pastor in 1 and 2 Timothy. So if circumcision would cause us to lose our salvation, then how do we explain Timothy’s circumcision? Did Paul rob Timothy of his salvation and then make him a pastor, knowing Timothy would end up in hell one day for being circumcised? If the answer is yes, then we have a problem with the gospel of John because, in John’s Gospel, Jesus says no one can take our salvation from us. So how could Paul be able to take Timothy’s salvation by circumcising him?
In Romans 11, Paul says we who are gentiles have been grafted into Israel and become descendants of Abraham by faith. In Genesis 17:9-14, Yehovah says circumcision is an everlasting covenant for all biological descendants of Abraham AND all gentiles who decide to join themselves to Abraham. According to Romans 11 and Genesis 17, we who are gentiles and have become united to Israel by faith have to be circumcised because the sign of circumcision is an everlasting covenant between Yehovah and Israel. Was Yehovah lying when He said this would be an everlasting covenant?
When circumcision was given in Genesis 17, it was very different from how people are circumcised today. In Genesis 17, circumcision only involved removing the small tip of the foreskin that extended beyond the tip of the glans. Circumcision today includes the tearing and stripping back of the remaining mucosal tissue from the glans so that no remaining skin would rest against the glans corona (the protruding border at the base of the penis encircles the head.)
Biblical circumcision, which only involved removing the small tip of the foreskin extending beyond the glans, made it possible to hide your circumcision. When Antiochus Epiphanes invaded and tried to Hellenize the Jews, he made it punishable by death to be circumcised. It also became a custom among Jews who had been circumcised in the past to hide their circumcision by pulling the remaining foreskin over the glans. When the religious leaders in Jerusalem heard about Jews hiding their circumcision, they introduced a new way of the circumcision which included the tearing and stripping back of the remaining mucosal tissue from the glans so that no remaining skin would rest against the glans corona (the protruding border at the base of the penis encircles the head.) This would make it impossible for a Jew to hide he was a Jew, but this way of circumcising has got nothing to do with the sign of circumcision given to Abraham in Genesis 17. This way of circumcising is traditional, not Biblical.
In Gal 1:14, Paul says he used to be zealous for the traditions of his forefathers. In Gal 5:11, he says he used to preach circumcision. Comparing 1:14 and 5:11 proves the circumcision he used to preach, and the circumcision he says will cause us to lose our salvation (Gal 5:22) is the traditional circumcision which includes the tearing and stripping back of the remaining mucosal tissue from the glans so that no remaining skin would rest against the glans corona (the protruding border at the base of the penis encircles the head.)
This solves the problem of Acts 16 because when Paul circumcises Timothy, Paul uses the Biblical way of circumcising and not the traditional. It also solves the problem of Genesis 17 and Romans 11; now we know Yehovah was not lying when He says it is an eternal covenant. And it proves we have understood Gal 5:22 wrong; Paul never preaches against Biblical circumcision.
Does this mean we should now all go out and get circumcised the Biblical way by removing the small tip of the foreskin extending beyond the glans?
Genesis 17 says if we want to be a part of the covenant with Yehovah, we have no choice; we have to be circumcised the Biblical way.
Will our salvation depend on being circumcised?
There is no salvation in circumcision, but there is circumcision in salvation. We are not saved because we are circumcised, but the Bible says we must be circumcised the Biblical way if we are saved.
But what if having a circumcision would be dangerous to our health? Circumcision would require surgery; for some of you, surgery could pose a threat to your health and perhaps even cause you to lose your life due to underlying health issues. Moses’ law says it is more important to preserve life than to obey, so if you have to choose between your health and circumcision, you are to choose your health first.
Surgery is expensive, and if you can not afford a circumcision, you have no choice; then you cant become circumcised right now.
If you can not have a circumcision due to health issues or can’t afford it, your desire to have a circumcision counts as circumcision according to the law of Moses. But if you do not have to make that choice, then it would be a sin for you to choose not to be circumcised.
Is circumcision required for a Christian?
As we have learned today, the answer is yes, but only if you can afford it, and it will not endanger your health.