January 6, 2017: A Christian in Letter Only

Morning: Genesis 14-16; Romans 2:25-29; Evening: Psalm 6

I’ve always appreciated receiving cards and letters through the mail. Reading words of encouragement like, “I’m praying for you,” always lift the spirit and make the heart feel loved. But do words like these reflect the true character of the one who is penning them? It is not in my interest to question the sincerity of someone’s letter, but it should be of interest to the one who is sending it. God knows the hearts of man, and He looks upon all his works from heaven. There is nothing from His eye that is invisible or hidden (Hebrews 4:13). One who showers affection upon another with words of love and encouragement, and then rails against him or her behind closed doors, will receive praises from men but never the praises of God!

The New Testament speaks of circumcision as an example of outward righteousness that may or may not be accompanied by inward righteousness. The custom of circumcision concerned Jews who received the surgery on the eighth day. At this point, a covenant relationship was established in the flesh, but not yet so in the heart. It was not until a Jew became knowledgeable of the law and committed both his heart and body, that the promises and instruction of the covenant became effective in his or her life. Paul said it this way, “circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision.”

In a similar manner, when Christians receive the letter of Christ’s law (Cf. 1 Cor. 9:21), they stand in a position similar to that of a circumcised Jew. The opportunities before them to walk and live in the ways of God are suddenly made available and brought into reach. One may now stand and declare, “I believe the Lord Jesus with all of my heart and will follow Him wholly.” But his circumcision, i.e. his confession will only become profitable when his works follow suit. When he is baptized into water for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), and continues in the teachings of Christ (Acts 2:42), then he receives recognition from God and not men alone.

Examine your life… Are you a Christian in letter only, or do you works reflect the sincerity of your heart?

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