[Nederlandse versie]

Paul’s letter to the Galatians, chapter 2, verses 1-5

1 Then after fourteen years, I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain. 3 Yet not even Titus, who was with me, was compelled to be circumcised, even though he was a Greek. 4 This matter arose because some false believers had infiltrated our ranks to spy on the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and to make us slaves. 5 We did not give in to them for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.

As of Abraham’s covenant with God, all male members of God’s people had to be circumcised. It was an inconspicuous yet unmistakable proof of incorporation into God’s covenant. After his incarnation and before his baptism, God’s Son was also circumcised. He was subject to the laws applicable at the time. Since Golgotha, rituals with blood have become redundant. In fact, offensive: as if Jesus would have been crucified in vain.

Muslim men ought to be circumcised. They live an ‘Old Testamentical’ life. Moses’ law, but without “grace and truth” that came through Christ (John 1:17). Christians are free to have themselves or their sons circumcised. Paul’s helper Timothy had himself circumcised to gain credibility as Messianic Jew. Customarily, he would have been circumcised as a suckling, because he had received Jewish blood in his veins through his mother (Acts 16:1-3). By means of his adult circumcision he removed an unnecessary barrier for the gospel towards the Jews.

Full-blooded Greek Titus did not get circumcised. Paul, as well as the leaders in Jerusalem,  thought that Titus did not have to. He really had to omit getting circumcised. This was because of the life-threatening misunderstanding that Christ was not the culmination of the law (Rom. 10:4). Jesus has not come to “abolish the Law or the Prophets” but to “fulfil them” (Matt. 5:17). Muslims need to know that all of God’s Word is dead-serious to Christians. Therefore baptism has replaced circumcision.

“The New Testament is in the Old concealed; the Old Testament is in the New revealed (St. Augustine).
Hymn to sing: In Christ alone, verse 3

There in the ground His body lay
Light of the world by darkness slain:
Then bursting forth in glorious Day
Up from the grave he rose again!
And as He stands in victory
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine –
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

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