Bible reading: Col. 2:1-15
1 I want you to know how hard I am contending for you and for those at Laodicea, and for all who have not met me personally. 2 My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3 in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. 4 I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments. 5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is. 6So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, 7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.8 See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.9 For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority. 11 In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.13 When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, 14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.
1 Cor. 10:1,2 — "For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers and sisters, that our ancestors were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea"
Amp. - "EVERY ONE OF THEM allowed himself to be baptised into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, (that is, they were thus brought under obligation to the law, to Moses and to the covenant, consecrated and set apart to the service of God)"
Way - "By this their baptism in cloud and sea THEY PLEDGED THEMSELVES TO FOLLOW MOSES."
Paul said, "these things occurred as examples to keep us (vs. 6). Moses is a type of our Lord Jesus In the baptism of the sea (water) and the baptism of the cloud (Spirit), they were committed to the leadership and authority of Moses. So we in our water baptism and reception of the Holy Spirit, declare JESUS CHRIST AS LORD! We will follow Him into the fullness of the land of rest!"
Col. 2:11,12 - "In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead"
Moffit - "In Him YOU HAVE BEEN CIRCUMCISED, with no material circumcision that cuts flesh from the body, but with Christ’s own circumcision, when yon were buried with Him in your baptism."
The word "circumcision" means "the cutting around". When spoken of as a physical rite in the Bible, it refers to "the cutting off or around of the foreskin in males". God instituted it as a "token of the covenant between Himself and Abraham".
Gen. 17:10,11 - "This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. 11 You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you."
At the very beginning of life, it marked that life as deserving of death. "By the mutilation it practices on the organ of generation, it points to corruption in its source as adhering to the very being and birth of me." Israel was to be a people cut off from sin and pollution. The rite of circumcision was intended to be a permanent sermon declaring God’s desire that Israel be His peculiar and holy people. Moses and the prophets understood this and so urged it upon the people.
Deut. 10:16 - "Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer."
Deut. 30:6 - "The LORD your God will circumcise your hearts and the hearts of your descendants, so that you may love him with all your heart and with all your soul, and live."
Jer. 4.4 - "Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done— burn with no one to quench it."
Paul said that outward circumcision alone did not make a Jew a "real Jew". It must be an inward token of a heart attitude toward sin and God.
Rom. 2:28,29 - "A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God."
1 Cor. 7:19 — "Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing. Keeping God’s commands is what counts."
Gal. 5:6 - "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love."
Gal. 6:15 — "Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation."
In beginning his life in God, the repentant, believing sinner does not submit to the physical rite of circumcision. He does, however, experience a "circumcision not made with hands", which Paul calls a spiritual circumcision performed by Christ", which involves the "putting off the body of the flesh." This circumcision or “cutting off" of the old life and burial in baptism are spoken of together. "Thus you were circumcised when you were buried with Him in your baptism".
1 Pet. 3:20b, 21 - " . . . In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Amp. - " . . . a few (people), actually eight in number, were saved through water and baptism, which is a figure (of their deliverance), does not also save you (from inward questionings and fears), not by the removing of outward bodily filth (bathing), but by (providing you with) the answer of a good and clear conscience (inward cleanness and peace) before God, (because you are demonstrating what you believe to be yours) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."
Water baptism is not for the purpose of cleansing the physical body from "filth". It is that act of obedience that demonstrates the reality of our repentance and faith and the desire to have "a good conscience before God.
Study Questions for Lesson No. 10