“..in whom you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the sins of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ;”
Circumcision was a big issue for the Jewish believers, but in this verse we see another circumcision, the circumcision of the soul. The outward show is as nothing and only feeds the religious feelings and exclusivity of the Jewish religion. It was superseded by the institution of the early Church and passed into the history of the Jewish religion and practice. To carry on the practice after the coming of Christ in the incarnation is to deny Christ. To mix the old and the new is the essence of the teaching of the false teachers in Paul’s day who were called the concision and are cut off from Christ. To carry on with the figure of the outward sign is to deny the inner work of the Spirit and the work that was accomplished on the cross.
God requires more that the outward signs of religion and therefore separates His people to holiness of life in the Spirit. The inner workings of the circumcision of the Holy Spirit is the separation from the world that God is looking for in the lives of His people. This does not involve any outward ritual but the sanctifying work of the Spirit to bring the believer into close fellowship with the Father and the Son.
No human being can administer this spiritual ritual, but only the Holy Spirit within the life of the Christian believer. It is a spiritual work and not any outward, fleshly manifestation. Those days of the old law and the old covenant are over and now the new has come in Christ. It is a better and permanent covenant that cannot fail, for it is with God, between the three persons of the godhead, to save a fallen group of people. The covenant was ratified at the cross of Calvary, and shown in power and glory in the resurrection. This is the basis for the New covenant, not on outward show, but the glory of the life of God within a person.
The entrance into the kingdom of God is not through outward works of religion or good works in the world, but the setting apart of the life for God. It is the expression of the life of faith, a life that trusts God completely and will obey the Word of the Scripture and put selfish consideration away. The inner circumcision will result in a life that is separate from this world and rejecting of the unfruitful works of darkness that abound in our day, and embrace the life of holiness and obedience. It is the cutting off of the signs of the flesh that abound in us still, and the putting to death the immoral deeds of the body.
Christ took on Himself the form of a servant and was obedient to the Father, even to the death on the cross! How much more we should rejoice to obey the Lord and walk in the way of His commandments. We separate ourselves from sin and self and live our lives in increasing fellowship and love for the Lord Jesus Christ. This is true circumcision- circumcision of the heart and mind.