“In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.” — Colossians 2:11–12 (NIV)
If we were to go back to Genesis 17 where God instituted the rite of circumcision, we would find that it was meant to be a physical sign of God’s covenant of grace and a physical way to disseminate that covenant to generations to come. In every way it was a sacrament. It was the command of God, it had a physical element, and it had the promise of grace (the covenant) attached to it. Everyone who was circumcised was seen to be under the umbrella of God’s covenant. Everyone not circumcised was seen to be outside the covenant. This rite was lived out in every boy when he was 8 days old.
Jesus, having fulfilled the law perfectly in our place and dying for our sins, completed God’s covenant of grace. As Christians, we are connected to that covenant through the rite of baptism. Note the way Paul connected the covenant of circumcision with the covenant of baptism. In baptism we are circumcised by the taking off of our sinful nature in the death of Jesus on the cross. Our sinful nature is buried with him in our baptism, and we rise from that baptism new creatures in Christ. The very power of God that raised Jesus from the dead raises us out of the death of our sinful nature and gives us new life in Christ. Paul tells us that this work is not ours but Christ’s. In our baptism we are circumcised with the hands of Christ. He lays His hands upon us and makes us born again. He gives us new birth and creates faith in our hearts. We are no longer dead but alive in Christ.
Today, find joy and peace in having a God who loves you so much that He would come to you with His promise of grace.