Romans 2:28, 29 - Physical and Spiritual Circumcision.

Romans 2:28, 29 - Physical and Spiritual Circumcision.

Romans 2:28, 29 (NLT) For you are not a true Jew just because 
you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the 
Jewish ceremony of circumcision. 29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart 
is right with God. And true circumcision is not a cutting of the 
body but a change of heart produced by God's Spirit. Whoever has that 
kind of change seeks praise from God, not from people. 

Romans 2:28, 29 (CWR) You see, a person is not a Jew simply 
because he's been circumcised in the flesh, that is, on the outside. 29 
A person is a real Jew if he's been circumcised in his heart by 
the Holy Spirit.  A true Jew is one who is praiseworthy in the eyes 
of God, not in the eyes of men. 

The spiritual background of circumcision, without which the 
external ceremony was worthless, was plainly taught in the OT. The design 
of circumcision was that it should be a sign of separation from the 
heathen world and of consecration to the true God. The rite implied the 
renunciation and forsaking of all sins, the cutting off of everything that 
was offensive to God. Such a work was manifestly "of the heart." 
[SDA Bible Commentary] 

Circumcision that is only outward is of no avail before God 
because God wants the outward demonstration to be the sign of an inward 
reality... The change of heart that Paul describes with the image of 
internal circumcision is the work of the Holy Spirit, not the result of 
external obedience to the Law. In fact, God condemns external observance 
if it is not the product of a righteous heart (see Isa. 1:10-18). 
[Nelson SB] 

The true sign of belonging to God is not an outward mark on the 
physical body, but the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit within--what 
Paul meant by "circumcision of the heart" (see Dt 30:6). [NIV SB] 

External behavior doesn't impress God. He is much more concerned 
with what goes on inside of us - our motives and attitudes. How those 
motives and attitudes play out is important, but actions alone aren't 
pleasing to him if they don't come from the right heart. That's why no 
one can earn righteousness by obeying the letter of the law; we have 
to go beyond behavior and embrace the Spirit who gave the law in 
the first place. Many believe righteousness begins on the outside 
and works its way in, but Scripture teaches that righteousness 
begins on the inside - with a new heart - and works its way out. [NIV 
Once A Day Bible re Rom. 2:17-29] 

How Does Conscience Differ From Guidance Of The Holy Spirit?
   The conscience functions something like a computer. A 
computer is programmed to respond in specific ways to specific 
information. Also, it responds to information based on the commands it has 
been programmed to follow. 
   When I click my word processing application, my computer 
knows to open my word processor. For the most part, computers are 
simply responders. 
   The conscience is a responder as well. It responds to certain 
input just as it has been programmed. 'Paul described it like this, 
"When Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in 
the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to 
themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their 
conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts 
accusing or else excusing them" (Rom. 2:14, 15). 
   God has programmed His moral code into the heart of every man 
and woman. We are born with it. When a person's actions or thoughts 
violate that code, the conscience responds by sending a "No" message to 
the brain. On the other hand, when the act or thought goes along 
with the preprogrammed moral code, the conscience says, "Go."  
   Notice, Paul says our thoughts sometimes point out the 
legitimacy of certain actions. When that happens, if the actions line up 
with the law of God written in our hearts, the conscience gives us 
the go-ahead. 
   When you became a Christian, a change began to occur in your 
conscience. The basic moral code that everyone has at birth started to get 
overhauled. The Spirit of truth took up residency in your heart. Then, 
whether you were aware of it or not, He immediately set about to 
reprogram your conscience. Whereas before you had a general sense of right 
and 'wrong, the Holy Spirit began renewing your mind to more 
specific and complete truths (see 1 Cor. 2:10-13). 
   You participate in this renewal process every time you read 
your Bible, attend worship, memorize a verse, or pray. The Holy 
Spirit uses all this input to reprogram the database through which your 
conscience evaluates every opportunity, thought, invitation, word, and 
   As this process continues, your conscience tunes in with the 
moral code of the Holy Spirit - a code reflecting the moral and 
ethical standards of God. This process sensitizes you not only to God's 
moral standards but also to the will of God. [Life Principles SB By 
Charles Stanley re Rom. 2:14, 15] 

   I've wondered, at times, what kind of man this Judas was. 
What he looked like, how he acted, who his friends were.... 
   But for all the things we don't know about Judas, there is 
one thing we know for sure: he had no relationship with the Master. 
He had seen Jesus, but he did not know him. He had heard Jesus, but 
he did not understand him. He had religion, but no relationship. 
   As Satan worked his way around the table in the Upper Room, 
he needed a special kind of man to betray our Lord. He needed a man 
who had seen Jesus, but did not know him. He needed a man who knew 
the actions of Jesus, but had missed out on the mission of Jesus. 
Judas was this man. He knew the empire but had never known the Man! 
   We learn this timeless lesson from the betrayer. Satan's best 
tools of destruction are not from outside the church, they are from 
within the church. A church will never die from the immorality in 
Hollywood or the corruption in Washington. But it will die from corrosion 
within-from those who bear the name of Jesus but have never met him, and 
from those who have religion, but no relationship. 
   Judas bore the cloak of religion, but he never knew the heart 
of Christ. Let's make it our goal to know . . . deeply. (From On 
Anvil by Max Lucado) [Inspirational SB] 



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