Many wonder when they read Genesis 17:10 whether circumcision is necessary: "Every male child among you shall be circumcised." The ordinance of circumcision was an outward, physical sign of one's acceptance of the covenant with God and to obey Him.

Under the New Covenant, God is calling a spiritual nation composed of individuals converted and begotten by His Holy Spirit. God's people now are all to be "circumcised" spiritually. Physical circumcision is no longer necessary for religious purposes. It was only a forerunner or type of what God really wanted—circumcision of the heart (Deuteronomy 10:16; 30:6; Jeremiah 4:4). Notice Romans 2:28-29: "For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is that circumcision which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God."

Spiritual circumcision is a process of conversion. That Christ circumcises us spiritually is made plain in Colossians 2:10-11: ". . . you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ."

This is why the assembled apostles and elders of the New Testament church declared circumcision to be one of the physical requirements of the Old Testament that is not necessary for Christians (Acts 15:24, 28). The apostle Paul writes in Galatians 5:6, "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love." What God is looking for is not whether one is circumcised or not but if one is living by faith and practicing His way of outgoing concern.

It is for entirely nonreligious reasons—to promote cleanliness and health—that many physicians recommend circumcision of baby boys by a competent surgeon.