The Berean Expositor
Volume 24 - Page 60 of 211
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The desire of the apostle in Col. 1: 28 that he might be able to present every man
perfect is subsequent to the thought of their complete acceptance, and is followed by a
reference to their circumcision in Him:--
(1) "In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy" (Col. 1: 22).
(2) "That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col. 1: 28).
(3) "In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in
putting off the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ" (Col. 2: 11).
A further survey of the history of Abraham and his association with the covenants of
God will illuminate still more the place that circumcision occupies in the divine purpose.
Gen. 12: opens with the initial covenant made by God with Abraham, in which the
promise concerning a great nation and a blessing to all families of the earth is made. A
specific promise concerning the land and the seed is made in verse 7. This is followed by
Abraham's first aberration owing to the famine in the land. After the separation of
Abraham and Lot, a further and more detailed covenant concerning the land is given
(Gen. 13: 14-18). Abraham meets Melchisedec, and as a result asserts his independence
of all but God alone. God appears to him in a vision, and sets aside the suggestion that
Eliezer of Damascus should be his heir. He is told to look at the numberless stars; he
believes God's promise concerning the seed, and his faith is counted unto him for
righteousness. This is followed by a covenant made while Abraham is in a deep sleep,
indicating plainly that Abraham himself made no promises (Gen. 15: 12-21). In
Gen. 16: we have the second departure from the pathway of faith, resulting as we have
seen in the birth of Ishmael. Abraham was at this time eighty-six years of age. Another
long period of severe testing follows, and thirteen years after, when Abraham is
ninety-nine years old, the Lord appears to him and says: "I am Almighty God; walk
before Me, and be thou perfect" (Gen. 17: 1). Then follows the restatement of the
covenant, and the change of name. In this passage (Gen. 17: 1-8) the Lord gathers up
all the promises that are found in the five preceding chapters.
Then comes the covenant of circumcision:--
"This is my covenant, which ye shall keep . . . . . it shall be a token of the covenant
betwixt Me and you" (Gen. 17: 9-14).
Here for the first time is a covenant that Abraham was to "keep", and which was in the
nature of a "token". To this the apostle refers in Rom. 4: 11:--
"He received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he
had yet being uncircumcised."
Circumcision did not justify Abraham, neither did it merit the promises; it was a seal
and a token, and by its very nature a reminder of creature failure and of the need of
all-sufficient grace--a thought resident in the title "Almighty God", El Shaddai, or "God