There was a period once, when the Lord would meet me quite often in the wee small hours of the morning. I am reminded of one occasion in particular: I was reading through Ezekiel 16, and was overwhelmed with the revelation that the whole Bible was a love letter from God. At the time I felt like it was His love letter to me. I must have sat there sobbing for hours.
It was in those years that He showed me the significance of circumcision. And that we are not to dress ourselves to come into God’s presence, but to undress in order to put on the righteousness which is Jesus Christ. Only the righteousness of Jesus Christ is suitable apparel in which to enter God’s presence. If Christ is to be our covering, we must expose our nakedness only to Him.
Two things are clear: first, we must be exposed; and second, we must be intimate only with Christ. Love takes care of this. Love desires intimacy, and true love desires it with one alone. This relationship is so real, so important, and so intimate that God gave circumcision as a token of the relationship between himself and His people (Gen. 17:11).
God took the organ of the body most involved in the physical expression of the most intimate and compelling love which man can know, and He made it naked as a token of the love relationship which He invites with us. This is a token which is drawn upon throughout the rest of the Bible:
Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem (Jer. 4:4).
To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken (Jer. 6:10).
What began as a literal token, has become a symbolic and necessary condition of the heart and ear. A naked heart, that it might receive Him, and a naked ear that it might hear His Word. God requires an attitude of nakedness, but only with Him, so that we might receive Christ. An attitude of hiding, covering up, or defensiveness with God is just as ridiculous as a bride on her wedding night refusing to remove her coat. Whether or not you have a particularly fancy coat really doesn’t matter.
As for God’s part, the crucifixion of Christ is the circumcision of God. The cross of Christ is the point of our greatest intimacy. The cross is how we know the love of God, and how we are made one with Him and each other. (Eph. 2:14-16, Col. 2:11-15)
Nor does it matter to Jesus if you haven’t had a chance to freshen up, for “we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags.” (Isa. 64:6) Christ doesn’t care about your junk. He doesn’t want your stuff, but you. He doesn’t need or require anything but you, and your openness to Him as Lord of your life.
Well, that much is already on record so to speak; it’s the rest which might cause people to be scandalized.
By Jay Ferris