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Old & New Covenant Circumcision

by Don Costello  
4/30/2008 / Bible Studies

Genesis 17:9-13

And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.

1. Words
a. token (226 * owth) a signal, a flag, beacon, monument, omen, evidence, prodigy, mark, sign.

b. The same Hebrew word is used in Genesis 1:14 for "signs". It is also used in Genesis 9:12, 13, and 17, speaking of the "rainbow".

2. Spiritual Circumcision

a. Israel's responsibility: Deuteronomy 10:16 "Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked."

b. Gods responsibility: Deuteronomy 30:6 "And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live."

c. The fact that both God and Israel had a part in the Old Covenant spiritual circumcision indicates that a work was done in the heart. A work, I believe enabling them "to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might", (Deuteronomy 6:5).

d. What ever the work done in their heart, it was far short of the New Covenant circumcision. Romans 8:3 "For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh,"

e. The law could not give "life". Galatians 3:21 "for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law." They could not be born again.

3. New Covenant Circumcision

a. The New Covenant Circumcision is a spiritual circumcision: Romans 2:25-29.

b. This is what is spoken of in Colossians 2:11, "In whom also ye are circumcised with the
circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ."

c. The "body of the sins of the flesh", in Colossians 2:11 is the same as the "body of this death", in Romans 7:24. It is "the law of sin and death", in Romans 8:2.

d. The spiritual circumcision of the Old Covenant was not as effective or complete as the spiritual circumcision under the New Covenant. Under the Old Covenant, the effect was, "to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might" Deuteronomy 6:5, while the effect under the New Covenant is, "putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" Colossians 2:11.

4. The weaknesses of the Old Covenant are already mentioned under Spiritual Circumcision, d. & e., but a very powerful witness to that was preached by the Apostle Paul in Pisidia Antioch.

a. Acts 13:38, 39 "Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the Law of Moses."

b. Acts 13:39 (NASV) "and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses."

c. Spiros Zodhiates Complete Word Study of the New Testament: "In Acts 13:39, dikaioo, the Greek word for "justified" is used with the preposition apo from, referring to all those things from which the Mosaic Law could not liberate us. In this instance as well as in Romans 6:7 where apo is used with the word "sin", it refers to our liberation from something, i.e., sin which holds a man a prisoner, a slavethus dikaioo does not mean the mere declaration of innocence, but the liberation from sin which holds man a prisoner."

My name is Don Costello. Ever since I received Christ in November of 1976 I have had a passion to study and know God's word.My wife Melissa and I have 5 children.

My e-mail address is

I have a blog located at:

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