Sunday, 17 February 2013
Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? Romans 2:26
Another question which is actually an affirmative statement now comes from Paul. A man who hasn’t been circumcised and yet keeps the law will be considered as one who was circumcised. As previously noted, Abraham believed God and was counted as righteous in Genesis 15. His circumcision, the sign of the covenant, didn’t come until many years later in Genesis 17. The sign in no way added to his state of righteousness.
Paul is teaching through his words that God’s approval of man does not in any way depend on the external appearance of the individual, but rather on the condition of one’s heart and their actions which are aligned with a right heart condition. He finishes this verse with “will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision.”
The term “be counted” is the Greek word logisthesetai (from the verb logizomai) which means to “consider” or to “reckon.” This verb is used in Romans 4:3 where Paul quotes the account of Abraham from Genesis 15 – ” For what does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.'” God imputed righteousness to Abraham because of his faith. There were no deeds attached to the faith, but simply an acceptance of what God had said was true.
The word is also used in Luke 22:37 when Jesus was counted, or reckoned, as a transgressor even though He had done no wrong –
“For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.'”
The idea of imputed righteousness permeates both testaments of the Bible and is realized in the work of Jesus. He was circumcised and He also met the strict demands of the law perfectly. Now, by faith in Him and in His actions we too can be counted righteous by mere faith, just as Abraham was. Our “uncircumcision” is counted as “circumcision” because He was circumcised as a Jew. Also, we can now meet the righteous demands of the law through Him as well. His work can be “counted as” accomplished for us.
Life application: As you read the Old Testament, particularly the 613 commandments of the law given through Moses, reflect on the precepts that you have failed to meet – there will be a lot. Then realize that meeting these perfectly is the standard God demands. But don’t forget that despite your failure to meet them, Jesus prevailed. If you accept His work, it will be imputed to you. And the suffering He felt at the cross… that was your punishment being transferred to Him. Apply this to your life by demonstrating a grateful heart to the Lord.
When I think of all that You have done for me Lord, I am just overwhelmed by it all. You accomplished what I failed to do and instead of holding that over me in laughter, you laid it upon me in love. Who am I, Lord, that You would do such a thing for me? How I love You, O Lamb of God. Amen.