Circumcision and Baptism

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Jarlaxle, Aug 16, 2002.

  1. Jarlaxle

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    For those that see Baptism as some sort of "faith" instead of as a work, what quality is there in Baptism that makes it not a work whereas Circumcision is a work?

    I understand there are many differences between the two acts, but there are at least a few similarities. They seem similar enough that if one were a work, then the other would also be a work. If not, why not?

    ~Jarlaxle
     
  2. SolaScriptura

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    There are very big and extremely important differences between circumcision and baptism.

    (1) Circumcision is not said to be for the remission of sins -- baptism is. (Acts 2:38)

    (2) Circumcision is not said to save -- baptism is. (1 Peter 3:21, Mark 16:16)

    (3) Circumcision has nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ -- baptism saves by the resurrection of Christ (1 Peter 3:21) and we cannot be in the likeness of His resurrection without being planted in the likeness of His death by baptism (Rom 6:5)

    (4) Baptism is still a commandment of God, while circumcision has ceased to be one. "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God." (1 Cor 7:19) -- This Scripture teaches that the reason circumcision doesn't matter is that it is no longer a commandment of God. Why is circumcision no longer a commandment? "Because the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." (Heb 7:12)
     
  3. Frank

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    Sola:
    Amen! Keep up the good work!
     
  4. SolaScriptura

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    Thank you, Frank. I might add as well, that the passage in the Bible which draws a parallel between baptism and circumcision speaks of "the circumcision made without hands" so by admitting that this passage refers to baptism, a person admits that Baptism is not the work of man, but of God for "the circumcision made without hands" can only be performed by God and of course depends on "the faith of the operation of God" (Col 2:11-12) This certainly does not alter the form of baptism, for there is only one baptism that saves (Eph 4:5), which is water baptism as 1 Peter 3:21 tells us. What does it then mean? It means that if we are baptized in faith, then as we pledge our conscience to God by submitting to baptism, God performs His work of circumcision. (1 Peter 3:21) Thus, baptism as a type of circumcision does not disprove water baptism nor prove infant baptism. On the contrary, it proves water baptism and disproves infant baptism, for it explains how baptism saves by the resurrection of Christ as the pledge of the recipient's conscience if they have faith in the operation of God.

    [ August 16, 2002, 07:26 PM: Message edited by: SolaScriptura ]
     
  5. Frank

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    Sola:
    There are no man made works that please God. Eph. 2:9. The works we do must be HIS WORKS. John 6:28,29. We are HIS workmanship. Eph. 2:10.
     
  6. Ruht

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    They are actually quite similar, if done with a similar mindset. For each can be attempted through the mindset of the person doing so, as an attempt to cleanse the outward man, rather than the inward.

    Washing the outside of the human body cannot change the inside of the human body, nor can removing the outward foreskin.

    The baptism which truly changes and saves the inward man is the washing of the heart or spirit, done through the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Likewise, the circumcision of the inward man by the power of God and the birth of the Holy Spirit is what removes the spirit of sin, the troublesome spiritual "foreskin," if you will.

    Water baptism was just used as a sacred outward testimony of one's faith in Christ, in how the new birth that accompanies such faith will cleanse the inward man. It is not capable, however, of cleansing the inward man.

    They could probably be legitimately construed as a work, if one were doing them to try and earn eternal life by doing a series of physical acts.

    God bless.

    [ August 16, 2002, 11:46 PM: Message edited by: Ruht ]
     
  7. CatholicConvert

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    Sola --

    Found your post most thought provoking. Thanks for the mental exercise. A few comments, if I may:

    (1) Circumcision is not said to be for the remission of sins -- baptism is. (Acts 2:38)

    Very true. Of course, the reason that circumcision is not said to be for remission of sins is because the rites of the Old Covenant were prophetic in nature, that is, they looked forward to and pointed to Christ.

    (2) Circumcision is not said to save -- baptism is. (1 Peter 3:21, Mark 16:16)

    Circumcision could not save since the Savior had not come yet. But circumcision did do something very important. It was how the chosen people of God "cut covenant" with Him and became His people. The uncircumcised man was "cut off" from Israel.

    (3) Circumcision has nothing to do with the resurrection of Christ -- baptism saves by the resurrection of Christ (1 Peter 3:21) and we cannot be in the likeness of His resurrection without being planted in the likeness of His death by baptism (Rom 6:5)

    Very true. Circumcision was a prophecy which pointed to specific things about the Messsias to come: he would be male, He would be "cut off" in the flesh for the sins of His people, and His Blood would be shed. Whenever a Jewish baby was circumcized, he was prophesing that one day, one of these babies would actually undergo what was being shown.

    At the same time, the one being circumcised was really and truly "cut off" from the pagan nations around him. He was really and truly made a part of the Old Covenant and had all the priviledges associated with being in that covenant. So what was shown was also really happening at the time it was being done, which is the principle of "ex opere operato."

    In like manner, baptism is identification with and participation in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord. The one being baptized is also making covenant with God through the Blood which Christ shed. All covenants are made with blood. Therefore, since we share in Christ's death, we share in His Blood as that which makes covenant with God for us. We enter into that Blood covenant and we not only show that Christ died, was buried and rose again, but we experience it as well. That is why babies may be baptized. In the Old Covenant, babies entered into the Old Covenant and became members of the kingdom. The New Covenant is the "better covenant which speaks of better things". Since it is a better covenant, then it must include our covenantal children. If it did not, as you suggest, then it would not be a "better covenant" but a worse, since it would not allow for the same grace which the Old Covenant showed to infant children.

    (4) Baptism is still a commandment of God, while circumcision has ceased to be one. "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God." (1 Cor 7:19) -- This Scripture teaches that the reason circumcision doesn't matter is that it is no longer a commandment of God. Why is circumcision no longer a commandment? "Because the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law." (Heb 7:12)

    Agreed. We have a Great High Priest Who ministers the New Covenant in the "temple made without hands" for us. To continue circumcision would be to continue an act which is prophetic in nature and would thus be a testimony saying "This Jesus of Nazareth was a fraud. We are still anticipating one who is to be cut off". This is why St. Paul was so adamant with those of the circumcision party that this could not be a requirement to become a Christian.

    Every time a Jew circumcizes his infant son today, he blasphemes God and states to all watching "The Messias is yet to come." It is an insult to God and His Christ.

    Without baptism and its assocation with Christ, we would not be able to share in His Blood Covenant with God and the salvation that He offers. This is why baptism washes away sin -- we leave the Old Covenant and enter the New, all things are indeed made new. The Blood of the cut covenant washes us as we are entered into and become one with that magnificent death which frees men from sin.(1 Corin. 5:17)

    Cordially in Christ,

    Brother Ed
     
  8. SolaScriptura

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    Thank you for your post, Ed; I very much enjoy your insight on this matter. You brought up some things about circumcision that I had never thought of, especially about it's prophetic nature. It's very interesting to look back at the Old Testament shadows that pointed to Christ.

    I must say, however, that I still don't agree with you on infant baptism. One of the things that makes this Covenant better than the former is that this Covenant is a Covenant of knowledge and choice (not of necessity and ignorance). Notice God's own Words concerning the New Covenant "And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me." (Jer 31:34, Heb 8:11) God specifically says that no one who is in the Covenant will have to be told "know the LORD" for they will know Him before entering the Covenant. If infant baptism were allowed by God, this could not be, for if infants were admitted to the Covenant, then we would have to tell those who were already in the Covenant "know the LORD" and God says that all who are in the Covenant will already know Him.

    Along the same train of thought, Justin Martyr explains that our parents chose our first birth "without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together", but we choose our rebirth "in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed." (See below for full quote) He does NOT allow for our parents to choose both of our births; he says that they chose only the first, and we ourselves choose the rebirth. This teaching is supported by Jeremiah's prophecy that no one in the New Covenant will have need of being told "know the LORD," and by the Hebrew writer's quotation of this prophecy, as well as by Peter's teaching that baptism is the answer or pledge of the recipient's conscience to God, and Philip's insistence that the Ethiopian officer confess his faith prior to baptism. Even the very words of Christ "Permit the children to come to Me" disprove infant baptism, for He says "Let them come" and NOT "force them to come." And, as one other said, "Let them 'come' while they are learning, while they are learning how to come; let them become Christians when they have become able to know Christ."

    Justin's First Apology, Chapter LXI.-Christian Baptism
    http://ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-46.htm#P3903_733473

    "And for this [baptism] we have learned from the apostles this reason. Since at our birth we were born without our own knowledge or choice, by our parents coming together, and were brought up in bad habits and wicked training; in order that we may not remain the children of necessity and of ignorance, but may become the children of choice and knowledge, and may obtain in the water the remission of sins formerly committed, there is pronounced over him who chooses to be born again, and has repented of his sins, the name of God the Father and Lord of the universe; he who leads to the laver the person that is to be washed calling him by this name alone."

    [ August 16, 2002, 09:40 PM: Message edited by: SolaScriptura ]
     
  9. Ruht

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    Water baptism does not save anyone, nor is it required to be saved.

    Addendum: However, if one does so as an expression of faith in Christ, then it could be fairly and accurately accredited as an expression of saving faith, and then could be fairly construed to be able to save. But one must remember that the actual salvation is through the blood of Christ, the cross, his atoning death; not through the washing of the outward man by water.

    All saved are baptized, for the saved are baptized by the washing of the Holy Spirit.

    "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and fire." - Matthew 3:11

    "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." - Titus 3:5

    God bless.

    [ August 17, 2002, 12:28 AM: Message edited by: Ruht ]
     
  10. SolaScriptura

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    When Peter declared that water baptism saves, he said it saves by the resurrection of Jesus Christ not by washing the body, although it may wash the body, that's not where the power is.
     
  11. stubbornkelly

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    Is that because of the original purpose of circumcision, or because the ritual and "occasion" of a bris maintains that purpose? I'm curious, because if it's the former, shouldn't Christians refuse to have their infant sons circumcized? And in that vein, could one make a case that now, at least in America, where circumcision is incredibly common, Christians should refuse circumcision in order to set them apart from the masses of unbelievers?
     
  12. SolaScriptura

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    I think he took that a bit too far too. Paul says "Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God is what matters." (1 Cor 7:19) Obviously then, fleshly circumcision itself is not wrong -- what is wrong is preaching it to be necessary.
     
  13. Frank

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    Ruht:
    The Bible says in I Peter 3:21, the like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us, not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer to a good conscience toward God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The flood waters and the rain IMMERSED Noah that day in Gen.7:4.

    The children of Israel were baptized In the clouds and the sea as they were saved form Egyptian bondage, I Cor. 10:2. It is the like figure ( water baptism).
    God has chosen many figures that save. In Numbers 21:6-9, God chose to use the serpent lifted upon the pole as an INSTRUMENT to save the children of Israel in the wlderness, The CONDITION was that they must look upon the serpent. vs. 8,9. The like figure of baptism is the INSTRUMENT OF FAITH that saves us today by the resurrection of Christ. He also LIKE the SERPENT was LIFTED UP. John 12:32.

    The same Peter, on the day Pentecost,in Jerusalem when those who had heard the first gospel sermon were pricked in their hearts and asked, Men and brethren what shall we do?" Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized everyone of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Acts 2:37,38.

    The same Peter after being asked by Cornelius to know all the words commanded, Acts 10: 22, 33, 36, 37, 42,47, 48; 11:15, proclaimed the WORDS, WHEREBY THOU AND ALL THY HOUSE SHALL BE SAVED." Acts 11:14. He proclaimed the gospel of Christ. It is God's only power to save. Romans 1;16,17.

    It is the WORD OF TRUTH that begats one. I Cor. 4:15.
    It is a message or WORD of TRUTH that makes us like him. James 1:18,21.
    It is a WORDS of grace that saves all men the same way through obedience to the gospel. Romans 6:3,4,17,18, Acts 15:6-11,Eph. 2:8,9, Romans 16:26, Galatians 3:26-29, Titus 2:11,12.
    It is the WORD OF GOD that is quick and powerful and sharper that any two edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of the soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebs.4:12.
    It is the WORD OF GOD that is the seed of the Kingdom. Luke 8:11-15.
    It is OBEDIENCE to the TRUTH that purifies. I Pet. 1:22.
    It is the preaching of the WORD that saves. I Cor. 1:18,21. Jeus was annointed to preach the WORD to save, Luke 4:18. Jesus said in Mark 1:15," The time is fulfilled the kingdom of God is at hand repent ye and believe the GOSPEL." Jesus said in Mark 16:16, He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned." Paul said in Romans 1:16, For I am not ashmaed of the GOSPEL of CHRIST for IT is THE POWER of GOD unto SALVATION to everyone that believeth to the Jew first and also to the Greek." For therein is the righteousness of God revealed form faith unto faith for it is written the just shall live by faith." Roms. 1:17." For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus for as manyof you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ for there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female; for ye are all one IN CHRIST; and if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise." Gal. 3:26-29.

    It is the WORD that forms faith that saves us. Romans 10:13-17, Acts 2:21-47. It is the WORD of the Gospel that saves us by the grace of God. Acts 20:24,32.

    It is the WORD that will judge in the last day. John 12:48. And it wil read this way on the day of Judgment, too!
     
  14. Ruht

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    Yes, and he is saying what I said, that the washing of the outward flesh cannot change the inward heart of man, but rather only the washing of the inward heart of man; which creates the new birth and thus, the "good conscience towards God."

    Peter said specifically: "NOT the putting away of the filth of the flesh...," meaning that the washing of the outward body by water cannot possible change the inside heart of man, the place where man's conscience must be turned to God by the birth of the Holy Spirit, the resurrected man.

    God bless.

    [ August 17, 2002, 01:59 PM: Message edited by: Ruht ]
     
  15. SolaScriptura

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    Actually, he's saying that the washing of the outward and inward occur simultaneously. Baptism is not spoken of by Peter in Acts 2:38 or 1 Peter 3:21 nor by Ananias in Acts 22:16 as something that occurs to a person but something they must do - hence the very same baptism that washes away sins, is into the remission of sins, and saves by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, is one that we have responsibility for. Even so, while we pledge our conscience, God circumcises it and washes it.
     
  16. Ruht

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    Actually, he's saying what I said before. Although you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

    Peter did not say that one has to be baptized with physical water in order to be saved.

    God washes our conscience by his "pledge" to us, not by our "pledge" to him:

    "But I had pity for mine holy name... when I shall be sanctified in you... Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." - Ezekiel 36:21- -27

    Salvation, baptism and the new birth all explained in the Spirit, in Ezekiel. It is God's covenant with man, not our covenant with him, that does this.

    God bless
     
  17. SolaScriptura

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    He did, because there is no other baptism that you have responsibility for. The baptism of the Holy Spirit God can either give you or not, without your control, but you control water baptism.

    When he commands "REPENT & BE BAPTIZED every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ INTO THE REMISSION OF SINS" it can only be water baptism, for the responsibility is on you to do it.

    And when he says "baptism saves" and that this same baptism is "the pledge of a good conscience toward God," he places the responsibility on you because it is YOU pledging YOUR conscience TOWARD God. Thus, only water baptism is possible, for the baptism of the Holy Spirit would be backwards (God to you).

    1 Peter 3:21 "the pledge of a good conscience toward God" indicates that it is the recipient of water baptism pledging their conscience to God. Maybe if you'd read the verse rather than go into blind fits of rage, you would have seen that.

    Covenants go 2-ways. Actually, in Hebrews 9:16-17, the Covenant is viewed in terms on Jesus dying and leaving the Covenant as a "last will and testament," in which case, the responsibilities are on US to whom the Covenant is left and not on Him who left the Covenant. "For where a testament [same Greek word translated covenant] is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. {17} For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth."

    [ August 17, 2002, 03:19 PM: Message edited by: SolaScriptura ]
     
  18. GH

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    Very true. Of course, the reason that circumcision is not said to be for remission of sins is because the rites of the Old Covenant were prophetic in nature, that is, they looked forward to and pointed to Christ.

    Catholic Convert,

    I don't want to be picky but wasn't circumcision given to Abraham (who lived 430 years before the Old Covenant was instituted) as a sign of God's promise to him that He would make His descendants as the stars in the sky and the sands of the seashore.

    God said to Abraham: This is My covenant, which you shall keep, between Me and you and your descendants after you.

    The Jews in the Mosaic Covenant where just following God's orders. I don't think sin had anything to do with it. Just my take on it.

    Di

    [ August 17, 2002, 03:41 PM: Message edited by: GH ]
     
  19. Ruht

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    "Peter did not say that one has to be baptized with physical water in order to be saved."

    LOL! Do you have the "control" to be saved or not? Does not God give us the limited free will to make such a decision, once he brings us to it? Does not the Holy Spirit accompany salvation?

    You have a steady habit of stating "it can be no other way," don't you, legalist.

    How long will it take the foolish to learn?

    You haven't a clue as to what you are talking about, or especially what the Holy Spirit is talking about. And that is because you interpret scripture through your own natural understanding, not through the Holy Spirit while upon the sure foundation of grace.

    Is that right? Then how was the thief on the cross next to Jesus, baptized?

    Gulp.

    What, did they allow him off the cross for a few minutes, in order to be baptized?

    I thought you said in another thread that salvation comes only through faith in the blood of Christ, Sola? You are all over the board here, you fraud.

    "God washes our conscience by his "pledge" to us, not by our "pledge" to him:

    LOL! You mean this verse:

    "The like figure whereunto baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:" - I Peter 3:21 KJV

    Perhaps your translation is a legalist's translation, Sola.

    However, since the Holy Spirit can even interpret a bad translation properly, then where does it say that the "pledge" is man's pledge in that, Sola?

    Another "it can't mean anything else" moment, Sola?

    And as for rage, it appears you to be the one raging, seeing how you brought it up, and seeing how your pointing finger doesn't seem to be working too well against someone covered by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, does it.

    The children of the bondwoman have always persecuted the children of the free.

    "It is God's covenant with man, not our covenant with him, that does this."

    That right? did we create ourselves? did we bring Christ down from above? did we raise him from the dead? do we provide forgiveness for ourselves? do we bring ourselves into heaven?

    Our covenant with God is his doing, not ours. Apparently your swollen ego keeps you from coming to terms with this.

    Your words are not from the Holy Spirit.

    "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are FREELY given to us of God." - I Corinthians 2:12

    If you were listening to and speaking through the Holy Spirit, you would know of the things that are FREELY given to us of God, things which you are trying to earn.

    God Bless.
     
  20. CatholicConvert

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    Is that because of the original purpose of circumcision, or because the ritual and "occasion" of a bris maintains that purpose? I'm curious, because if it's the former, shouldn't Christians refuse to have their infant sons circumcized?

    YUP!!! And that's exactly what I did and why I did it when my twin sons were born!! Circumcision has no reason to be done by Christians in this age. Not only that, it is a BARBARIC practice in the WAY IT IS DONE (NO anesthesia!!!).

    And in that vein, could one make a case that now, at least in America, where circumcision is incredibly common, Christians should refuse circumcision in order to set them apart from the masses of unbelievers?

    YUP. That would be my take on it. Of course, since the great masses of Christians ARE indistinguishable from common, ordinary sinners, what difference does it make?

    Borther Ed
     

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