Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 136 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Romans 2 today and our focus is on How Can We Have a New Heart – Circumcision of the Heart. We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Quang Tri, Vietnam, Dubai, UAE, Gujarat, India, Parts unknown, Morocco, San Francisco, California, St. Louis, Missouri, Peoria, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
We open with a couple of comments from WhereWhatHuh on our Youtube page:
“His blood be on our heads, and on our children’s heads…” Some have read this as an excuse for anti-semitism, which, of course, it is not. The Pharisees were not taking responsibility on behalf of the Jews as a whole, but on their own families. We must keep in mind, as well, that Jesus, the disciples, and all the early converts to Judaism were Jewish. If the statement of the Pharisees were a general curse on Jews as a race, then all of these would have been under that curse. But in fact, all of humanity is under the curse of sin, and all of humanity … each of us severally … can be redeemed by the blood of Jesus….Sin causes oppression and pain; Grace relieves oppression and pain. It strikes me more and more how these two “forces” seem to work throughout human history. Justice demands that sin be punished, Grace demands that sin be forgiven. And only in Christ can these two, Justice and Grace, be united. You are right to say that this is a very powerful passage.
Thank you for that, my friend!
Today our focus is on circumcision, but not the kind that makes men wince a little bit when they hear that particular word. Today we aren’t talking about literal and physical removal of the flesh, but what the Bible calls the circumcision of the heart in today’s passage, and all the way back in Deuteronomy 30:6:
6 The Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the hearts of your descendants, and you will love him with all your heart and all your soul so that you will live. Deuteronomy 30:6
and also Romans 2:28-29: 28 For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, and true circumcision is not something visible in the flesh. 29 On the contrary, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart—by the Spirit, not the letter. That person’s praise is not from people but from God.
What is this circumcision of the heart that both the Old and New Testament speaks of – is it painful? Theologian and saint, J.I. Packer helps us to understand, writing:
The Christian is a regenerate man, a new creature in Christ. A new principle of life, and habit of obedience, has been implanted in him. This is the prophesied ‘circumcision of the heart’. ‘Whereas the blindness, obstinacy, and stubbornness in sin, that is in us by nature, with the prejudices which possess our minds and affections, hinder us from conversion unto God, by this circumcision they are taken away’,21 and man’s first act of true, saving faith in Jesus Christ, his conscious ‘conversion’, is its immediate result. This act, though directly caused by the Spirit’s regenerative operation in the depths of his being, is perfectly free …
Regeneration makes man’s heart a battlefield, where ‘the flesh’ (the old man) tirelessly disputes the supremacy of ‘the spirit’ (the new man). The Christian cannot gratify the one without interference from the other (Gal 5:17; Rom 7:23). Sin, from which by repentance he has formally dissociated himself, seems to take on a life of its own; It is always at work in the heart; a temporary lull in its assaults means, not that it is dead, but that it is very much alive. ‘Sin is never less quiet, than when it seems to be most quiet, and its waters are for the most part deep, when they are still.J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1990), 196–197.
Let’s read our passage.
Today let us take the unusual step of closing with a prayer – a prayer authored by George Whitefield, one of my heroes of the faith:
BLESSED JESUS, thou hast told us in thy gospel, that unless a man be born again of the Spirit, and his righteousness exceed the outward righteousness of the scribes and pharisees, he cannot in anywise enter into the kingdom of GOD. Grant me therefore, I beseech thee, this true circumcision of the heart; and send down thy blessed Spirit to work in me that inward holiness, which alone can make me meet to partake of the heavenly inheritance with the saints in light.
Create in me, I beseech thee, a new heart, and renew a right spirit within me. For of whom shall I seek for [comfort] but of thee, O LORD, with whom alone this is possible? LORD, if thou wilt, thou canst make me whole! O say unto my soul, as thou didst once unto the poor leper, I will, be thou renewed. Have compassion on me, O LORD, as thou once hadst on blind Bartimaeus, who sat by the way-side begging.
George Whitefield, The Works of the Reverend George Whitefield, vol. 4 (London: Edward and Charles Dilly, 1771), 457.
Bible Memory verses for the month of May: Matthew 28:18-20 18 Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.19 Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
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