“Wait a minute! . . . Hold on. Am I reading this right?” Charlie was so fired up when he had the revelation of his identity in Christ. “For so many of my Christian years I have told everyone I know that I’m just a sinner saved by grace. I’ve actually said I’m poor and lowly. I always say that. It’s no coincidence I feel like all I do is battle and never grow. Now, I see Paul’s words to the Colossians, and I wonder why I’ve said that so many times. I have totally missed the point of the cross and who I am. I’m not a sinner saved by grace. I WAS a sinner, saved by grace. That’s past tense! This is a gamechanger for me!”
“When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature” – Colossians 2:11 NLT
“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ,” – Colossians 2:11 ESV
I looked at my brother, smiled and said, “You see what happens when you read the bible in Spirit? You actually see the truth behind the power of Jesus blood and resurrection. You see the truth about who you become in Christ. You see the truth about who God says you are as his forgiven, holy, justified and righteous son. Get ready my friend. You’re not going back to that place again.”
This passage, quoted in two translations above, is so important to grasp. Paul, the Jew of Jews, the Pharisee of Pharisees, tells the Colossian church something he knows so much about; The Law. Circumcision is part of the law practiced by Israel for thousands of years. He is pleading with the church to focus only on Christ as THE WAY. He urges them to get past trying to insert law and traditions into the finished work of Jesus. So, he brings up a term that so many know by heart . . . circumcision. Oh yeah, they knew this word so very well, and he wanted to drive home the point of who these Christians truly are by using the word.
Circumcision means to cut away. Paul uses the word to describe what happens when we believe in Jesus. HE cut away our sinful nature. He cut away The Flesh from us. Yes, you read that correctly. Jesus’s blood and resurrection were so powerful that our sinful nature was cut from us. Surgically removed by His Spirit. A few verses later Paul says the flesh, our sinful nature, was actually nailed to the very cross Jesus hung on. Why is it important he used the word circumcision?
First, as said earlier, circumcision of an infant Jewish boy was required by law on the 8th day after birth. He knew this word would ring true with those trying to continue focusing on sin and mixing law with the Grace of Jesus. Second, he wanted to drive home the point that the cutting away of our sinful nature was permanent. It cannot be undone. Thirdly, you can see he differentiates between a physical circumcision and spiritual circumcision. This cutting away cannot come from human hands; by man or by law. It comes from the very Spirit who raised Christ from the grave. The most powerful force in the world. He changes you from sinner to saint. Yes, you may still sin, but that’s not who you are. You’re now a saint, that might sin.
Think about this . . . Do you know how many times a Christian is referred to as a sinner (present tense) in the bible? The answer . . . NONE! Brothers and sisters, you were changed, the moment you believed. Your sinful nature, the flesh was cut off. Nailed to the cross. It was permanent. For us to say otherwise discredits the power of the cross. Let’s focus on that power, not our past sinful nature.
Brother Charlie’s next words were, “I’ve never been told this before. No pastor has ever told me I don’t have a sinful nature anymore since I believed in Christ. I’ve always just bought into the fact of how lowly I am. Now I can say that I used to be lowly. That’s who I was. Not who I am now. My identity used to be my sinful nature. Then Jesus inserted a new heart and nature in me. The identity I’m going to walk out and focus on now is who I truly am . . . In Christ.”
Imagine the power, boldness, confidence and freedom we as Christians can walk in when we have this revelation like my friend. Imagine how understanding our new nature will help us overcome sins in our life. Imagine how others we know will benefit when they embrace their brand-new nature and identity. Imagine their revelation and how they will soar on wings like eagles as a result. It’s all there. In Paul’s inspired words from Jesus. HE cut it all away! Now, let’s walk out who we are!!