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Therefore [oun] if [ean] the uncircumcision
[akrobustia] keep [phulasso] the righteousness [dikaioma]
of the law [nomos], shall [logizomai] not [ouchi] his [autos] uncircumcision [akrobustia]
be counted [logizomai] for [eis] circumcision [peritome]? KJV-Interlinear
26 So, if a
man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his
uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? ESV
Circumcision or uncircumcision, are physical surgical actions that are used to portray faith or lack of faith. They are nothing more than an outward expression of ones inward faith.
Salvation is by faith not by surgery.
So, if a person obeys the purpose of the ritual, namely faith, then is his faith real and acceptable or not? Does it also depend on a surgical procedure?
And Paul uses this example here to demonstrate that even the heathen or the gentiles, as they were often referred to, can have faith and be saved, regardless of their physical state.
Way back at the beginning of this argument, the Jews were arguing that gentiles had to be circumcised in order to be saved, that their faith was not enough, that they must also undergo a circumcision in order to perfect their faith or support it, as it were.
But that argument of circumcision fails in so many ways.
First, it applies to men only, never women. So one could argue that the logic would prevent women from being saved.
Second, the Law portrays works as a dead end, therefore the need for salvation through faith. Circumcision in itself is works and therefore is not salvation, but merely the expression of ones faith. Note that one does not need a physical expression in order to demonstrate the content or attitude of the soul. God knows ones thoughts. Whether people know your thoughts regarding salvation, is irrelevant.
Third, the act of circumcision was practiced on infant boys at the age of about eight days. No infant has a clue as to what is going on or as to its meaning, let alone having any thoughts regarding the matter. All of that decision was imposed on the child by the parents or adults. It would be years before the child would or could understand the purpose.
Therefore, circumcision as an act of salvation is irrelevant. It may have some medical benefits, but that is as far as it goes.
It likewise is a cultural practice, which in itself helps to promote the concept of believing in a savior. That belief can easily continue from generation to generation by means of the ritual. So it does have the benefit of serving as a reminder through the generations, of the need for a savior and the need for faith. Because the question can often be asked, as to why circumcision, and the obvious answer would be that it is the act of demonstrating faith in Christ.
The purpose and meaning can likewise get lost over time, but even that original meaning seems to keep hanging on, which in itself is an aid to promoting Christianity, even if the concept can be a bit ambiguous.
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Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.