What is the Circumcision of the Heart?

Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn (Deut. 10:16 ESV).

The circumcision of the heart showing a heart in leaves

As Israel prepared to enter the promised land, Moses urged them to circumcise the foreskin of their hearts. Circumcision of their male children was familiar to them; however, they had never heard about circumcising their hearts. What is this circumcision of the heart?

The circumcision of the heart, as Moses used it, is the removal of the foreskin of the heart responsible for the stubbornness of the people. It is rendering the hearts obedient or yielding to God. While Moses commanded the Israelites to circumcise their hearts, the New Testament presents a different picture of the circumcision of our hearts—one performed by the Holy Spirit.

In the New Testament, the circumcision of the heart is the removal of the sinful and hardened human spirit by the Holy Spirit at the new birth. The fallen human nature is hostile to God and is beyond repair ( Rom 8:7). God had to annihilate it (the death of the old man) and give us a brand new spirit. Ezekiel spoke about the circumcision of the heart in this way:

And I will give you a new heart and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26 ESV)

So God circumcised your heart when you received Christ. This circumcision is why you love Jesus and want to obey Him. The Lord has made your heart soft and yielding to Him. 

What is the circumcising of the heart as described above?

Apply the Word

The human heart has two parts: the spirit and the soul. God circumcised your spirit at the new birth. Today, He commands us to renew our minds, that is, make them yielding and soft. Therefore the flesh has been crucified(the spirit) and still needs to be crucified(the soul)! Continue to circumcise the foreskin of your soul every day as you renew your mind.

Thank the Lord for the gift of a new spirit in Christ.

Read & Watch

What is a hardened heart?
How to Yield to the Holy Spirit
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