Sermons on Galatians - From Physical Circumcision to the Doctrine of Repentance (I)
Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
The use of "through faith" how the uncircumcised are justified makes it clear that Paul believes Christians can establish the law without circumcising. Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.
And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father of all those who believe, though they are uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also. And the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the circumcision, but who also walk in the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still uncircumcised. For the promise that he would be the heir of the world was not to Abraham or to his seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
W as anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised.
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Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters. B ut in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. T hen he [Paul] came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was a Greek;. Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.
And perhaps more to the point, the Jews in that region all knew that Timothy's mother was Jewish. Paul's circumcision of Timothy was not an endorsement of circumcision in general as some modern Christians claim , but purely a tactical move, to make him ritually acceptable to Jews.
T hen after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and also took Titus with me. And I went up by revelation, and communicated to them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to those that were of reputation, lest by any means I might run, or had run, in vain. S tand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law. You have become estranged from Christ, you who attempt to be justifed by law; you have fallen from grace. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love.
B rothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished.
I wish that those who are upsetting you [ by demanding circumcision ] would [ go all the way and ] castrate themselves! A s many as desire to make a good showing in the flesh, these would compel you to be circumcised, only that they may not suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For not even those who are circumcised keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh.
I n him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
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And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses,. Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it away, having nailed it to the cross.
D o not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds,.
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And have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him,. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all. I n that He says, "A new covenant ," He has made the first obsolete.
Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away. This addresses those who say the earlier Covenant of circumcision is still binding on Christians. B oth the Hebrew and Greek "Old" and "New" Testaments make various references to figurative circumcisions, of the heart or of the lips, where circumcision is a metaphor for purification. In each case, they acknowledge, implicitly or explicitly, that physical circumcision does not purify. For example:. A nd now, Israel, what doth the Lord thy God require of thee, but to fear the Lord thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, To keep the commandments of the Lord, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?
Behold, the heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord's thy God, the earth also, with all that therein is. Only the Lord had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day. Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiffnecked. For all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are unicircumcised in the heart. B eware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilators.
For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. T he Gnostic Gospel of Thomas Greek fragments and a complete Coptic text dating from the first or second century CE of sayings supposedly written by the apostle Thomas earlier than the New Testament attributes a firm statement against circumcision to Jesus himself:.
H is disciples said to Him, "Is circumcision beneficial or not? He said to them, "If it were beneficial, their father would beget them already circumcised from their mother. Rather, the true circumcision in spirit has become completely profitable. But the vote of the Jesus Seminar is that Jesus did not say this.
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This fact prompted the Fellows to assign it to a later phase of the Christian movement, during which it spread into predominantly gentile regions. Funk, Roy W. L isten to the words of Christ, your Redeemer, your Lord, and your God. Behold, I came into the world not to call the righteous but sinners to repentance; the whole need no physician, but they that are sick; wherefore, little children are whole, for they are not capable of committing sin; wherefore the curse of Adam is taken from them in me, that it hath no power over them; and the law of circumcision is done away in me.
Doctine and Covenants, Section 34 an offsite link explains this further. The bruises that [Paul] the Apostle received in the long history of his passion are the witness of the presence of the Cross of Jesus in St Paul's body; they are his stigmata. Thus, one can say that it is not circumcision that saves : these stigmata are the consequence of his Baptism, the expression of his dying with Jesus, day after day, the sure sign of his being a new creature cf. Gal 6: Together with Paul, he [St Barnabas] then went to the so-called Council of Jerusalem where after a profound examination of the question, the Apostles with the Elders decided to discontinue the practice of circumcision so that it was no longer a feature of the Christian identity cf.
Acts It was only in this way that, in the end, they officially made possible the Church of the Gentiles, a Church without circumcision ;. According to the Ecumenical Council of Vienne: "Christians may not be enticed into Judaism; neither may they be circumcised for any reason. According to Catholic dogma, the teachings of General Councils belong to the Deposit of Faith, do not allow for dissent, and can never be revoked or modified, being protected from error by the Holy Ghost. All persons served by Catholic health care have the right and duty to protect and preserve their bodily and functional integrity.
The transplantation of organs from living donors is morally permissible when such a donation will not sacrifice or seriously impair any essential bodily function and the anticipated benefit to the recipient is proportionate to the harm done to the donor. Furthermore, the freedom of the prospective donor must be respected , and economic advantages should not accrue to the donor. No one should be the subject of medical or genetic experimentation, even if it is therapeutic, unless the person or surrogate first has given free and informed consent.
In instances of non-therapeutic experimentation, the surrogate can give this consent only if the experiment entails no significant risk to the person's well-being. Moreover, the greater the person's incompetency and vulnerability, the greater the reasons must be to perform any medical experimentation, especially non-therapeutic.
While every person is obliged to use ordinary means to preserve his or her health, no person should be obliged to submit to a health care procedure that the person has judged, with a free and informed conscience, not to provide a reasonable hope of benefit without imposing excessive risks and burdens on the patient or excessive expense to family or community. The well-being of the whole person must be taken into account in deciding about any therapeutic intervention or use of technology. For example, while the donation of a kidney represents loss of biological integrity, such a donation does not compromise functional integrity since human beings are capable of functioning with only one kidney.
Declaration on Euthanasia, Part IV; cf. What is the morality of circumcision? The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that amputations and mutilations performed on innocent people without strictly therapeutic reasons are against the moral law. Pope Pius XII taught that circumcision is morally permissible if it prevents a disease that cannot be countered any other way. In spite of these and other church statements against circumcision through the centuries, I'm told there is no strict Catholic rule against the practice today.