CHRISTIANS BEING CIRCUMCISED IN CHRIST
WITH A CIRCUMCISION NOT MADE WITH HANDS
Colossians 2:11 says, "In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ." Hallelujah! We thank and praise God because this verse tells us that we were circumcised in Christ. If it said that we are to be circumcised, then it would be wrong and it would be the gospel of hell. God’s Word says were. I hope that we would underscore the word were even more. It is not soon to be, but were. It is in Christ that we were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands. What does this mean? This is God’s work! We do not know how filthy our hearts are! But on the day of Christ’s death, all the filth was crucified on the cross and cut off. This is not the work of others’ hands or the work of our own hands. It is Christ who enables us to put off the filth of the lust of the flesh. This is the gospel!
Brothers and sisters, according to your natural condition, you are filthy. If you say that you do not consider yourselves as being that bad, you are deceiving yourselves. What does 1 John 1:8 say? "If we say that we do not have sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us." Self-deceived ones are the biggest liars in the world. A big liar lies to others, but a bigger liar lies to himself. We are really dirty and full of sins. We think that by willing, by vowing, by a few more prayers, or perhaps by some more Bible reading, we will be all right. However, these things will not make us victorious. Perhaps you have not committed filthy sins up till now; therefore, you may feel that you are victorious. But let me tell you: you have not yet gained victory. Brothers and sisters, victory does not depend upon how you exercise your will or pray or how you read the Bible. Victory depends upon the fact that God crucified your filth on the day of Christ’s death. This is the gospel! Today, will you believe it or not? Perhaps you do not feel any change or any peace. However, I ask you to just believe. As long as you believe, you are victorious.
You should take note that the victory is in Christ and not in you. What is in you is still old. The victory is only in Him. You need to join yourselves to Him. He is the vine, and you are the branches. He is the Head, and you are the members. It is of God that you are in Christ. On the cross, Christ not only redeemed you and gave you eternal life, He also crucified the evil I on the cross. In Him, everything has been accomplished. This is the gospel!
God is not doing anything for you today. He has accomplished everything in Christ. If from today on you do not look at yourself anymore but only at Him, then you will say, "God! I thank and praise You!" This is the gospel! Do not be mistaken! It is not that you must crucify yourself. Nowhere in the New Testament does it tell you to crucify yourself. Instead, the Bible says you have been crucified, you have been circumcised, and everything has been accomplished. Brothers and sisters, the question today is whether or not you believe. Can you say that you have been circumcised on the day of Christ’s crucifixion? If you believe, this fact will become your experience.
You may look at yourself and ask why you are still the same, when the gospel you heard says that you have been circumcised. At this moment, Satan will come to tempt. He will say that you are just the same as you have always been and have not changed at all. He will say that the words God said about your circumcision are probably not true! Unconsciously, your faith begins to waver! Many think that, in order to overcome temptation and be above any contamination of sins, it is best if God can give them a proof in their hearts, so that they can feel that they are much better than they were before. However, let me tell you that there is no better proof than the Word of God. If you believe the Word of God, that is the proof. The biggest proof is what God has said, more than whether you become better or feel better! Therefore, brothers and sisters, God’s Word says that we have been circumcised in Christ with a circumcision not made with hands. If you believe it, that is good enough. Many will not believe the Word of God without first seeing a change in themselves. This is a big mistake. It is not faith. When you begin to waver in the midst of your daily problems, you should believe that the Word of God is still true. Regardless of your experience, it does not make the Word of God untrue, nor does it make it more true. If you think that what you have heard today is right and that you have really been circumcised because you are a little more patient, or if you think that you have really been circumcised once you have overcome temptation, then let me tell you that this is not faith. It is symptom watching; it is an introspection of your own experience. If this is the case, you will surely fail. It is my experience that whether I feel good or bad, if I believe the Word of God, I can be as firm as a mountain. My feet are upon a rock, and nothing can move me.
If you consider that you are all right and still have some self-confidence, you will stumble. If you truly believe God’s Word, considering whatever God says of you to be true, the inexhaustible power of God will be manifested in you, enabling you to overcome temptations and sins that were previously insurmountable. You will realize that this is not your work but the work of God. You will see all the filth fall away, even as a piece of skin falls away from those who are circumcised in the flesh.
God has accomplished everything in Christ. Whether you feel it or not is not the question. What is important is believing that you are circumcised because God said you have been circumcised in Christ. There is no need to hold on to anything. God cares for the faithfulness of His Word more than your desire for victory. Just take care of believing, and God will take care of success. Many young believers want to hold on to victory by their own strength, but once temptation comes, they fail. Satan then tells you that even after believing you are still the same as you were formerly. Once you consider that this is right, you will be discouraged. If there is a hero of faith who, from the time he believes to the time he experiences, will stand still and hold fast to the attitude that "God said, and it is so," then God will gain the glory. In all the circumstances which are contrary to the Word of God, if you still believe in the Word of God, God will gain the glory. Although there is a cloud above you, the sun above the cloud is still there. Although the circumstance is dark, God’s Word is still true. If you believe in God’s Word in any circumstance, no cloud can be above your head; your sun will be real. Not believing in God’s Word is the biggest sin in the whole world.
Brothers and sisters, today the gospel preached and the message delivered are that you can be victorious. If you cannot be victorious, it is because of your lack of faith. If you still have lust, it is not that Christ has not accomplished salvation, but it is that you do not want it; you refuse to open to it and do not believe. The fact is that you still harbor filth. Christ has accomplished salvation. If there is a sinner who is not saved, it is not because Christ has not saved him or not shed His blood to redeem him. It is because the sinner is unwilling to believe. If you go home and are not able to manifest the Word of God, then your understanding is merely mental; you do not really have faith. If you are seeking, are willing, and believe the Word of God, glorious days will soon be here. While walking on the earth, you will only see the sun; there will be no clouds. May God give us faith. May we all believe the Word of God today. When we believe, we will immediately obtain.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 08: The Present Testimony (1), Chapter 39, by Watchman Nee)