Circumcision and Confirmation

By Not Known

Abraham and Sarah had Isaac and Isaac & Rebekah had twin sons. We can assume that Esau and Jacob were both circumcised when they were 8 days old (Gen 17: 9- 14)

Male circumcision was a spiritual symbol for God’s Old Testament people. It symbolised that they were set apart from the world an dedicated to God.

In the same way, some of our parents will present babies for infant baptism next Sunday. Baptism, whethere of infants or adults, replaces circumcision as the outward symbol of separation from the world and dedication to God under the new covenant (Col 2: 9- 12)

Neither old covenant circumcision nor new covenant baptism makes anyone godly. They are both symbols of who the person belong to (i.e. God) and what they should be like (i.e. godly). Whether with circumcision or baptism, what matters is God’s inward work of converting grace.

We see this very clearly with Jacob. As a young adult, Jacob was a grasping opportunist who was prepared to lie and cheat in order to steal from his brother (Gen 25: 29- 34; 27: 1- 28: 5). Jacob’s flesh was circumcised, but his heart was not (Rom 2: 25-29; 4:9- 12). The same can be true of anyone we baptise. There are plenty of baptised infants and adults who live in defiance and denial of God.

God ‘chose’ Jacob (Rom 9: 10- 13). God completes his election with an effective conversion (Rom 8: 29- 30) and this made all the difference between Jacob and Esau. And so when God met with Jacob in such a life-changing way that Jacob was awesomely aware of his presence. Jacob started to call his ‘my God’ and the former thief now pledged to tithe (Gen 28: 10- 21).

The events of Gen 28 are Jacob’s confirmation ceremony. Because God intervened, Jacob’s circumcision is now confirmed as an inner state of his heart and not just an outward sign.

Let’s learn from Jacob’s story. God wants our heart, not just the outward appearance and profession. this is true whether we are (un)circumcised or (un)baptised as infants or adults. What matters is a heart from God and for God. Let’s pray this for one another and for the infacts whom we baptise and the young adults whom we confirm.