Beware of Forsaking Formalities

November 4, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Posted in The Fives | 2 Comments
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New Testament Christianity is predicated upon each individual having a real relationship with Jesus. You do not become a Christian by joining a church, reciting an oath, signing a document, getting baptized, or performing any type of rite, ritual, or work.

Under the Old Covenant, however, the rite of circumcision was a key part of being one of God’s people. In fact, God required that all Jewish male babies be circumcised on the eighth day after their birth. During the time of the “wilderness wandering” after their deliverance from Egypt, this rite, though, was not practiced. Therefore, when the existing generation had died out, and Joshua finally led the people into the promised land of Canaan, God commanded that they re-institute the procedure.

Now all the people that came out were circumcised: but all the people that were born in the wilderness by the way as they came forth out of Egypt, them they had not circumcised.

Joshua 5:5

Christians today are not required to be circumcised or uncircumcised, but we may still apply a spiritual principle from the original purpose for the procedure. God’s people are supposed to be set apart from the world around us when it comes to our “conversation:” the way we live our lives on a daily basis. We are supposed to be holy, and we should be known for practicing certain “formalities.” Do your neighbors see you heading to church each week at the same time? Are you known for giving thanks for your food before you eat it? Are you in the habit of answering questions about moral matters with quotations from Scripture? We don’t want to stumble into legalism and act as though we achieve a higher standing with God because of our “good works” or spiritual disciplines. Nor do we want prayer, worship, and Bible study to be a mere formality (without any substantive impact on our lives). However, it will be good for us to remember that the things that God has commanded us to do in response to His grace, and in response to His love for us, may sometimes be improved by a little solemnity and ceremony as we seek to be consistent in our walk with Him.

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  1. […] occasions” or to meet earthly dignitaries, so it only makes sense when we are going to formally “meet with God,” or, better to corporately worship Him while meeting with His […]

  2. […] dictate, “Circumcision is nothing,” because circumcision was the most fundamental sign of the Old Covenant. In context, the Holy Spirit through Paul was not really forbidding the practice of circumcision […]


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