Bulletin for 6-18-23

Birthdays and Anniversaries

None this week

Prayer requests:

Emma Reames new doctor, working it out

Chaney Reames is undergoing extensive dental work.

Gladys Ramirez tests on stomach.

Paul Tyler has a bad sort Parkinson’s. Got stem cell treatments. Pray for their success.

Shirley Weeks, Steve’s mom, continues to have trouble.

Teresa Weeks, Steve’s sister, having age related issues. She has Down’s Syndrome. Also a fractured shin.

Sarah, Chris Girvin’s sister, on hospice care and not doing well

Robert and Sue Waller, health issues

Darla Nitti, recovering from a fall

Leta, has a recurring cancer, prayer request from her granddaughter via our website.

Tammy Jones, Weeks’ neighbor, kidney failure/dialysis

James Jones, friend of Steve’s, blood sugar issues seeming connected to covid.

Christ the means. God the doer.

“Jesus saves!” This exclamation is absolutely true. I have also come to realize that merely affirming “Jesus saves” is ambiguous and could promote misunderstanding.

In my reading of scripture, it is Jesus who has made our salvation possible while God is responsible for causing us to enter salvation. Such an understanding aids in interpreting at least one ambiguous text.

But first things first. Is this dichotomy of roles accurate?

A sample of scripture reveals a unified voice. God’s transformative power takes us from death to spiritual life.

  • “The immeasurable greatness of his (God’s) power toward us who believe. ….you were  dead in the trespasses and sins …. But God …made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved” Ephesians 1:19;2:1,4,5
  • “And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him (Christ), having forgiven us all our trespasses” Colossians 2:13.
  • “The Lord added to their number day by day those who  were being saved” Acts 2:47. In verse 39 the Lord is identified as being “the Lord our God.”
  • “He (God) has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to  the kingdom of  his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” Colossians 1:13-14.
  • “When  the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us,   according to his own mercy” Titus 3:4,5.
  • “He (God) is the one who saved us and called us with a holy calling, not based on our works but on his own purpose and grace, granted to us in Christ Jesus” 2 Timothy 1:9.

While it is God who makes us alive with Christ, salvation is possible because of Jesus. It is through Christ’s blood and death that salvation exists (Matthew 26:28Ephesians 1:7Romans 3:24-251 Peter 1:18-19). In other words, Jesus’ sacrificial death created atonement, adoption, being right with God, etc.

In view of the above, I would suggest that texts like John 3:1712:47 and 1 Timothy 1:15 teach us Jesus is the means making salvation possible, not that he will personally transform us from being dead in sin into being spiritually alive with himself.

If all of the foregoing reasoning is accurate, then we have a tool for understanding the ambiguous phrase, “the circumcision of Christ” in Colossians 2:11. What was Paul trying to communicate?

What is clear is Paul associates a spiritual circumcision somehow to Christ and the moment of baptism. But how? Who performs(ed) this surgery?

Some commentators propose Christ is the surgeon who performs a spiritual surgery upon us. Others assert God performs or has performed this surgery. Which is it?

If this surgery is upon us, then because scripture repeatedly touts God as being the one responsible for causing us to enter salvation this would identify God as the surgeon. This understanding is confirmed three verses later. Colossians 3:14 describes God as taking us from being dead in our trespasses and the uncircumcision of the flesh to making us alive together with Christ and forgiven. God is the surgeon who works on us.

This still doesn’t fully explain the phrase “circumcision of Christ.” How is Christ related to the surgery?

It would appear Paul is teaching us that it is Christ who has made this spiritual circumcision possible, hence it is the circumcision of Christ. Accordingly the apostle was reminding his readers that at baptism God performs a spiritual surgery upon us made possible by Christ.

Barry Newton, link to original article