googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Are the Jews Saved by Circumcision?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Are the Jews Saved by Circumcision?

While in my Sunday school class recently, we were studying Acts 7 and the subject of circumcision came up. The question was: are Jews today saved by the Abrahamic covenant and circumcision as they were in the Old Testament (OT)? In short, the answer is, “no.” More specifically, the Jews were never saved by Abrahamic covenant nor by circumcision. They were saved pretty much the same way we are saved – by faith in Christ.

Circumcision to the Jews is like Baptism to the gentiles. It is a symbol of our salvation but it is not our salvation. The Baptism is a picture of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. The circumcision is a picture of the shedding of blood through which there is atonement for sins (Hebrews 9:22). So these acts were done to identify ourselves with Christ after our profession of faith in Him. They are not (or were not) done in order to obtain salvation.

Of course, the people of the Old Testament could not know Christ in exactly the same way we know Him today since He had not yet come. But they still could know Him. The promise of a Redeemer was given all the way back in Genesis 3:15. He would be that seed of the woman who would crush the head of the serpent. Throughout the OT, we see many more references to the coming Messiah. Perhaps the most well known verses appear in Isaiah:
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14

“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
The Bible says that Abraham was saved by faith and not circumcision (Romans 4:9-16). But Jesus made it clear that Abraham specifically had faith in Him (John 8:56). Even Job (Job is believed to be the oldest book of the Bible) said, “For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:” (Job 19:25).

By the time Jesus arrived on the earth, people were longing for the Messiah. We see this over and over by the questions and comments in the Gospels. Many wondered if John the Baptist was the Messiah (John 1:19-25). In Luke 2 we see Simeon and Anna who were promised by God they would live to see the Messiah come. The woman at the well said, “I know the Messiah comes” (John 4:25). And of course, Jesus was frequently asked if He was the Messiah.

There is no other salvation than in Jesus (Acts 4:12). This applies to the saints of all generations – both the Old Testament and the New. The saints of the OT were saved by their faith in the promised Messiah that was to come. Today, we are saved by this same Messiah who has already come.

Jews today are not saved by circumcision nor by keeping the Law. They are not saved because they are children of Abraham (Matthew 3:9, Luke 3:8). If they have rejected the Messiah who has already come, then they have rejected their salvation. They are waiting for some other messiah. There is no salvation in him.

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