“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.”
Let’s look at the first part of this. Paul says we are the circumcision which worship God in spirit and rejoice in Christ Jesus. Circumcision went back to Abraham’s time. He was told to remove the foreskin on his children so that they could be set apart from other people. Circumcision was a strictly Jewish tradition starting with Abraham.
We see Moses circumcised his son and we see Joshua and the Israelites circumcising themselves after they crossed the Jordan River. Now let me tell you, I had a circumcision when I was 40 and Israel was completely vulnerable to attack when they perform this after crossing the Jordan River. Any adversary could have come in and destroyed the whole nation. It took quite a trust in God to perform that at that time.
But the church is founded on the faith of Abraham. The bible says Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Heb 11:6). That is the spiritual circumcision and that is what Paul is talking about here. The Jews had confidence in the flesh because of circumcision. But we are spiritual Israel and have no confidence in the flesh, no matter what we’ve accomplished. It is only in Christ Jesus that we have salvation and it’s only by grace through faith but that comes (Eph 2:8-9).
Paul is now going to go into a Litany of his accomplishments and explain that he takes no confidence in the flesh but if anyone could he could. It will be an interesting journey to look at that and I hope you stay tuned.