WARNING: ICKY! (Gross! Yuck!)
“11 In [Christ] you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead”
No, no, I’m not going to describe the mechanics of circumcision, but let me change the analogy to something SLIGHTLY more pleasant (but only slightly)!
When I was about 12 my brother left school and got a job on a sheep farm. He was given three lambs to look after which had lost their mother. They lived in our garden and were bottle-fed. My dad was thrilled that for a whole summer he didn’t have to mow the lawn! (Nor were there any flowers, though).
We had to “dock” their tails by clamping a very tight rubber ring around their tail, just where the bony bit ends, to cut off the blood supply so the long, floppy bit dries and drops off just like baby’s umbilical cord. It is more or less painless and it is done to protect them from infection and fly eggs because the woolly tail gets encrusted with poo (yes, you were warned).
This is what Paul is saying is also true of our sinful nature. In Christ, the old “me” is dead. The docking ring is on. It can flail about and still look very alive, but as long as there is no blood supply to it then it will one day drop off, no longer to trouble us. For now, though, it seems alive and well. It is still attached but has no life left in it.
Circumcision, baptism or lamb’s tails, take your pick, but the principle is the same. Part of us was alive and well, but it was a menace and was killing us. Now, through Christ’s finished work on the cross, it is dead. Still visible, still attached, but dead.
If your sinful nature flails around and causes a stink, just remember, the blood supply has been cut off. It will one day be not even a memory.
We just need to remember not to prolong its days by picking at the ring and wishing we still had a nice, long, fluffy tail. Leave it alone. It is just covered in muck and parasites and it smells. Worse than that, it was actually killing us. We are better off rid of it.
That is essentially the idea behind the sign of circumcision. Personally, I am glad that from the New Testament onwards it has been replaced by the sign of baptism, but either way, we have died to the old nature. It is to be cut off and thrown away (or left in the grave). So let’s not give the flesh the attention it tries to demand.
There. I said it would be icky.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank You that on the cross You took my sinful nature and crucified it. You took hold of what was killing me and it died with You. But thanks to the power of God You are alive again, and so am I! Let me live today in that freedom and help me to simply ignore the piteous wining of my selfish nature. Amen.