Galatians 2:3 – But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.
Take a moment and think of the very last thing you’d want to learn about today?
If it was circumcision, then I apologize.
In our study of Galatians, the issue of circumcision is a big point of conflict, controversy, and contention. When it comes to big, complicated, cultural and theological issues, most people get lost rather quickly and want the bottom line. Here’s the bottom line in Galatians – in churches comprised of both Jewish and Gentile people – the Jewish people were telling the Gentile men they had to be circumcised to go to heaven. I know this sounds crazy, but our culture has its own crazy additions to the gospel including the pastor who kicked everyone out of his church because they were not Republican.
Anyways, circumcision started with a guy named Abraham who was a regular old pagan like everyone else in that day. God revealed Himself to Abraham, Abraham trusted in God by faith, and then circumcised himself and his household as a sign outwardly pointing to the circumcision God did inwardly in his heart (Genesis 17, Romans 4). From that time on, people who trusted in God also had their male sons circumcised.
Long after, one of these boys was Paul. Paul was a religious zealot who did not know who God was until Jesus Christ saved him. Paul then become a preacher to the Gentiles who were uncircumcised unbelievers, and to the Jews, many of whom were circumcised unbelievers.
Paul had many spiritual sons – including Timothy and Titus. When Paul took Timothy to preach Jesus to Jewish folks, he had him circumcised. When Paul took Titus to preach Jesus to Gentile folks, he did not have him circumcised.
Because it does not matter whether or not your body is circumcised by man as all that counts is whether or not your heart is circumcised by God. Both Timothy and Titus had circumcised hearts, and only Timothy had a circumcised body.
Since the only way to get in to the Jewish synagogues to preach against law and for grace was to be circumcised, Timothy did this for the sake of being a good missionary. After all, it was not a sin and so he was free to do as he pleased, and it pleased him to serve God by enduring law so he could preach grace to the physical descendants of Abraham who did not yet know His God.
Are there any freedoms that God gives that you have turned into a law (e.g. all alcohol consumption is a sin, all secular music is a sin, etc.)?