Living in the Stronghold of Deception (Part 3 of 8)
By David Wickey
September 1, 2017
Part three of an eight-part series called Living in the Stronghold of Deception.
Circumcision of the Heart
If we don’t allow the cross to work in our lives, the foreskin of our heart remains. This causes us not to see or understand God’s ways. We then keep eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and we stay in our worldly wisdom. Let me explain.
Under the Abrahamic covenant, every male child had to be circumcised on the eighth day. Why the eighth day? Eight represents new beginning. This represents the new covenant, which is the circumcision of the heart. Genesis 17:14 says, The uncircumcised man child whose flesh of the foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
Under the new covenant, which is Jesus Christ and Him crucified, there has to be the circumcision of the heart. If the work of Jesus Christ is not taking place in our lives, we will remain in the wisdom of this world and will be cut off from the blessings and understanding of the wisdom of God. Faith that does not have these works will be a dead faith and will not please God. This faith will never fight the good fight, because it does not know how. It has no wisdom of God, because our hearts are closed to this wisdom and will stay uncircumcised.
Jeremiah 31:33-34: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I remember their sin no more. This is confirmed in Hebrews 8:10-12. This is for us today.
In the early church, the believing Jews still wanted to put the old covenant into the new covenant. They wanted the circumcision of the old covenant, which was the cutting of the foreskin of the flesh, to continue in the new covenant, which is the circumcision of the heart. The two do not mix. You cannot mix law and grace. This was very new to them. You cannot put new wine into old wineskins.
How does this concern us? If we don’t allow the work of the cross by the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us, we cut ourselves off from the new covenant (or cut ourselves off from Jesus Christ, who is the new covenant). We will continue in self-righteousness and in all kinds of evil religious works, and in the end this will destroy us. It will bring to naught the living reality of the life of Christ in the church.
Now this circumcision of the heart is painful indeed. We don’t like it; that is, our flesh doesn’t like it. We were all born in sin and apart from God. We all fall short of the glory of God. Without the circumcision of the heart it is impossible to come into the glory of God. It is impossible to please God outside of the painful circumcision of the heart. Somebody might say that you make it sound so hard; yes, it is difficult if you fight against God’s work. Romans 8:17-18: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. If we allow that cutting to take place, we are dying the death of the flesh, and are being raised with Christ. This is truly the work of the cross in our lives. If we are true children of God, we will never get away from the cross or the work of the cross in our lives, which brings us into the full glory of God in this life and the life to come. This is God’s purpose for our lives.
Jesus Christ is doing the work. He is the one saying to us, There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 8:1). Let’s bring this down to where you and I live. We are like the believing Jews who had a powerful experience of being born again. They recognized that Jesus is their Messiah, but they had to let go of the old covenant and change their way of thinking. It was very hard for them to do that. In other words, the cross became a stumbling block to them because the Holy Spirit began to teach them, mostly through Paul, that all the law of the old covenant was completely fulfilled in what happened on the cross of Christ and was no longer applicable.
This was a hard pill to swallow. It became a stumbling block to them. So it is with us. Maybe we were raised in churches with many rules, laws, and ordinances. It was a part of us. Then when truth, light, and life came to us, we were offended, because we had to completely change our way of thinking.
In fact, it is impossible with man, but possible with God. Our fathers and forefathers were like this, and do we have to change our thinking? I was raised in a church with many rules, laws, and ordinances. I was born into it and grew up in it. It was a part of me and I was a part of it. It was unthinkable to own and drive an automobile or have electricity in our homes. The idea was to separate ourselves from the world. This is the work of an uncircumcised heart, comparable to eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
I had the born-again experience in my barn one night. I cried out to the Lord for help, because I was in such a miserable state. Everything changed for me. It was then I started experiencing the cross. At first, the work of the cross was a stumbling block to me. I had a choice: follow Christ or go back to all the rules and laws that couldn’t save me. Somebody might say that would be an easy choice. If you have never been in this situation, you don’t know what it is like. It causes family divisions and you will be cut off from any family inheritances. You will be excommunicated from the church and shunned. The early Jewish believers were in this same situation. It is so easy to learn the Word of God with the natural mind, but when the working of the cross becomes a reality in our lives, it is a completely different ball game. You will be persecuted, mostly by religious people, just like the early church was. If we are not suffering some kind of persecution today, we need to examine ourselves to see if we are in the true faith. I’m not talking about arguments in the church. I’m talking about spiritual wickedness in high places coming against what God is doing in you and through you by the power of the cross through the Holy Spirit. Please read Galatians 4:21-31 with spiritual understanding.
Paul writes in Philippians 3:7-9: But what things were gain to me [What was gain for Paul? It was the old Mosaic Law that showed people their sin, but could never bring them into this great salvation we have in Jesus Christ], those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
I had to come into and am still coming into what Paul writes about in Colossians 2:11: In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. The laws I was trying to follow did not free me or keep me from sinning. Again, the law cannot free me from my sin nature. When Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, started to circumcise my heart by cutting away the flesh of my heart, I was set free to worship God in spirit and in truth. The sins of the flesh, which were produced by my sin nature, no longer had dominion over me. Romans 6:14: For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under law, but under grace. We have to know and understand that the cutting away of our flesh is a painful circumcision of the heart, because it costs us our lives. The grace of God cannot be understood except by the operation and understanding of the cross working in our lives.
This circumcision, or the work of the cross, becomes a reality in our lives. Grace is not given to the proud, but to the humble – to the one who allows this circumcision to take place. Today much grace is being preached, but it is not being understood because of the wisdom of this world. We leave the work of the cross out of it, and therefore it cannot be understood. It makes us feel good, but when it is tried by fire, it is no longer by feeling, but by truth.
What I am writing about doesn’t come by head knowledge, but by walking with Christ in the Holy Spirit. It takes years of walking with Christ to start to understand this from the heart. Romans 2:29 tells us circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God. This costs us our lives. Young Christians, stay the course. I encourage you to stay with Jesus, who will never leave or forsake you. It may seem like He does, because of all the training He does in you, but He never will leave you, for He loves you and has a great plan for your life, preparing you for the Master’s use.
Yes, we have a choice to walk in our own way, our own understanding, and our own opinions – which will destroy us. Or we can walk the way of the Holy Spirit and be led by the Holy Spirit, which is God’s way, and which in the end will be glory for us. Yes, Jesus will be glorified in His saints (2 Thessalonians 1:10). My friend, this is the work of the Lord in us. Ephesians 2:8-10: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. If we do not allow the circumcision of the heart to take place, it will be our workmanship. We will continue to boast in our keeping of laws and ordinances of self-righteousness, and in all kind of evil religious works, which in the end will destroy us. I have seen it happen many times in my own life and in the lives of others. May God deliver us from this evil, and it is very, very evil.
The work of the cross begins to change us into the image of Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:45-50: And so it is written, the first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Christ] was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterwards that which is spiritual. The first man [Adam] is of the earth, earthy; the second man [Christ] is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as the heavenly such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.
After we, as corrupted human beings, have cried out to God and are born again, a work of God has to take place to bring us into incorruption, to bear the image of the heavenly, which is Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Why is this? It is so the will of God will be done on earth as it is in heaven! My friends, this very thing has been given to the church, God’s people, after God’s ordained order and not after man’s order. When we have done the will of God on earth as it is in heaven, and our time comes to enter the next life, corruption will put on incorruption in its fullness. We will never die. How does God bring us into this? We in our fleshly ways do not choose God’s ways. Our heavenly Father deals with us as His children, to bring us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. We begin this intimate relationship with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit; yes, all three. We begin to hear His voice as we begin to walk with Him. We do have fellowship with the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, and this is a glorious fellowship. Read John chapter 17.
— D. Wickey
To read other parts of this eight-part series, please click on the links below:
Part 1: Fighting the Good Fight
Part 2: God’s Wisdom
Part 3: Circumcision of the Heart
Part 5: True Judgment
Part 6: Pride and Humility
Part 7: The Unlimited Power of God
Part 8: True Healing of the Churchcomments powered by Disqus« Back to Articles