Circumcision has value if you observe the law, but if you break the law, you have become as though you had not been circumcised. So then, if those who are not circumcised keep the law’s requirements, will they not be regarded as though they were circumcised? The one who is not circumcised physically and yet obeys the law will condemn you who, even though you have the written code and circumcision, are a lawbreaker.
A person is not a Jew who is one only outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God. Romans 2:25-29
Circumcision, though a physical act, was not really about the physical, was it? It was an act of the heart. In Genesis 17, God required Abraham to circumcise all male children as a covenant act between God and what we now call the Jewish people. It was but one sign to them that they are truly different than their non-Jewish neighbors. And Paul noted that the outward act was to represent the inward “circumcision of the heart.” It was again a “setting apart.”
As we apply the verses to our lives, we too are to live lives that are set apart and different from those around us. Not weird, but different. Our habits will be different. Our speech will be different. Our attitudes toward authority will be different. Our actions will be different.
We have been transformed into “a new creation; old things have passed away; new things have come” 2 Corinthians 5:17