Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised. (Jeremiah 9:25)
By being circumcised, men declared that they belong to Yahweh. They were people chosen by God for Himself, that they may bring praise, renown, honor, and glory to His name (13:11). Circumcision was the sign of covenant: God would take care of them and bless them and in return they devoted their worship and obedience to the only true God, the LORD—Yahweh. All the pagans and the Gentiles would look at the circumcised and search for signs that they were different, and the difference was supposed to be apparent in their ways of life, their devotion and worship. But what about those whose flesh were circumcised but their lives spoke of their idolatries?
Many of the sons of Israel had assumed that their circumcision was limited to their flesh and that this was enough to make them part of the household of God. They paid no attention to commands such as: “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of your heart” (Jer.4:4) that emphasized that circumcision was supposed to be primarily a transformation of spirit. The circumcised flesh was just a sign to point at the circumcised spirit and heart. But most people did not go that far!
How would our own human fathers react if we profaned the name of the family, by being known as so and so’s son or daughter, but acting profanely, rebelliously, and bringing shame to our family? Every good, loving, caring human father would step in and discipline such a child (Heb.12:9). So does our heavenly Father! He may let people live in their sins happily, as long as they don’t carry His name on their forehead. He will never allow His covenant people to walk to their destruction without disciplining them and calling them back to the right path.
The same principle applies to the Church. Those who call themselves Christians are under a much closer scrutiny of the Lord than those who reject Him upfront. If we are truly part of His elect family, if we are His chosen children, He will not allow us to go on destroying ourselves and make a mockery out of the family of God. “My son, do not reject the discipline of the Lord, or loathe His reproof, For whom the Lord loves He reproves, Even as a father, the son in whom he delights” (Prov.3:11-12).
Are you experiencing His disciplining hand in your life today? Then rejoice! For that is a sign of sonship and daughtership—a sign that you belong to the family of God (Heb.12:8). It is a sign of God’s grace at work, sanctifying you and leading you to eternal life (Rom.6:21); for you are His.