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If you keep the Sabbath because it was pre-Mosaic, what about circumcision?

The Sabbath Commandment

The seventh day Sabbath is kept because:

  • God instituted the sanctity of the seventh day at creation (Genesis 2:2, 3)
  • It is one of the Ten Commandments of God’s moral  law (Exodus 20:8-11)
  • God’s moral law existed as long as sin has existed.
    • “Where no law is, there is no transgression [or sin]” (Romans 4:15).
    • God wrote this law by his finger twice (Exodus 31:18).
    • And everyone will be judged by this law at the end (James 2:10-12).

Circumcision

Unlike the eternal Sabbath, circumcision was part of the national rites of the Jews and the Mosaic law which was nailed to the Cross. Paul wrote that God “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross” (Colossians 2:14 also Ephesian 2:15).

In the New Testament, God didn’t require the Gentiles to keep the Mosaic law or circumcision. Paul specifically said, “Was anyone called while circumcised? Let him not become uncircumcised. Was anyone called while uncircumcised? Let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing, but keeping the commandments of God is what matters” (1 Corinthians 7:18, 19).

Neither observance of the Jewish rite of circumcision nor failure to do so could have a bearing to a person’s relationship with God through faith in Jesus. Paul stressed here that outward ceremonies and observances have no merit without faith in Christ (Galatians 5:6; 6:15). The newborn child of God is accepted by Him, not because of any works that he may do, but because of his faith in the atonement of Christ on Calvary (John 3:16; Romans 4:5; Ephesians 2:8, 9).

The Lord does not measure a person’s faith by his observance of rituals and ceremonies, but by his adherence to the principles of God’s law (Ecclesiastes 12:13; John. 14:15, 21, 23; 15:10; 1 John. 2:4–6). A Christian can observe God’s laws whether or not he is circumcised.

What Law Was Abolished at the Cross?

The Bible presents two distinct laws:

Moses’ Law

  • Called “the law of Moses” (Luke 2:22).
  • Called “law … contained in ordinances” (Ephesians 2:15).
  • Written by Moses in a book (2 Chronicles 35:12).
  • Placed outside the ark (Deuteronomy 31:26).
  • Ended at the cross (Ephesians 2:15).
  • Added because of sin (Galatians 3:19).
  • Contrary to us, against us (Colossians 2:14).
  • Judges no one (Colossians 2:14-16).
  • Carnal (Hebrews 7:16).

God’s Law

  • Called “the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 5:24).
  • Called Ten Commandments-“the royal law” (James 2:8).
  • Written by God on stone (Exodus 31:18; 32:16).
  • Placed inside the ark (Exodus 40:20).
  • Will stand forever (Luke 16:17).
  • Points out sin (Romans 7:7; 3:20).
  • Not grievous (1 John 5:3).
  • Judges all people (James 2:10-12).
  • Spiritual (Romans 7:14).
  • Perfect (Psalms 19:7).

Therefore, circumcision of the Mosaic law was a temporary, ceremonial law of the Old Testament. But the Sabbath commandment of God’s moral law remains (Hebrews 4) and “stand(s) fast for ever and ever” (Psalms 111:8).

For more on the Sabbath, check (Lessons 91-102): https://bibleask.org/bible-answers/ 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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