>a covenantal mark

>Aidan has been circumcised. Although these words might be a bit awkward to read, they really aren’t that big of a deal, right? Well…

While most boys are now circumcised on the day following their birth – or possibly the day after that – Aidan had to stay a few days in the NICU and was, therefore, not circumcised until he was nine days old. Yikes! While seriously noting and sincerely understanding the concerns that one might have of a little boy having that done to him after so many days in such a state, I still insisted that he be circumcised. Why? Please, let me explain…

Though I certainly agree with the council at Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 15, I still wanted my boy to be circumcised. As proclaimed in the Spirit by the early Church, I do acknowledge that circumcision is not necessary for salvation; however, this truth does not negate the truth expressed in the sacred sign of circumcision.

That’s right: above all else, I understand circumcision to be a sign. It is God’s mark. More pointedly, it is His mark eternally placed upon the most private and intimate part of the male anatomy. And not only is this member of the body the most private and intimate; it also represents the greatest power and ability of Man. When a man is said to be sterile, he is essentially said to be unable – unable to produce another and, hence, unable to reproduce himself.

Notice where the giving of this sacred mark is recorded in salvation history: Genesis 17. Years before, God had given Abram the promise that he would be the father of many nations and that, through him, the entire world would be blessed. Now, the first problem was that Abram was childless, and the second was that he was very old. Things weren’t looking very likely for the fulfillment of such a radical promise. Some time passed, and – as would be quite typical and even likely expected – Abram decided to take things into his own hands. God had given the promise, but He clearly needed Abram to take care of the earthly matters, right? Wrong! [NOTE: This is how we often view reality – “God takes care of the spiritual, and I am left to take care of the physical.”]

Some thirteen years after the birth of Ishmael, God visited Abram with a word of renewal concerning His still faithful promise. [He is always faithful, and we can always take Him on His word.] Abram’s name would be changed to Abraham; he would indeed receive – as gift of God’s goodness – a child through the power of God (i.e., not his own); and he and his descendants would forever be marked. Every male child born into Abraham’s covenant community would be circumcised – even the servants, including the foreign ones! Why? ” ‘Your bodies will bear the mark of my everlasting covenant.’ ” (Genesis 17:13b NLT)

My son has been circumcised – not that he might be saved but that he might forever be marked. He will be taught from an early age that HE IS GOD’S – a member of God’s covenental community, a beneficiary of God’s might acts to save, and a possession of God’s own lovingkindness. In the context of the human body, Paul declared, “You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (I Corinthians 6:19b-20 NLT) My body is not my own; no, it belongs to God and has been, therefore, given to Lindsey. Likewise, my son’s body is not his own. In fact, it has been marked for all of eternity. He will forever be reminded that, ultimately, the flesh profits nothing. God is his owner and he now bears the mark of ownership – a reminder of where his real strength and ability lie.

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About Adam Godbold

husband, father, pastor, and more View all posts by Adam Godbold

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