Good Deeds Save Others More Than Ourselves
For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision. So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.
Whoa! Why do we need to be talking about circumcision so much?
In Paul’s day, this outward act served as ‘good enough’ to show you were religious and chosen by God. Like the people that show up out of nowhere, get their kids baptized, then you never see them again. It was viewed as all you needed to do to get to heaven.
It might sound harsh, but if the only reason we participate in such things is to get our Get Out Of Hell Free Card, then it won’t even count for that.
Granted, we are saved not by our acts, but by our faith, but our actions show what our faith is. Our deeds flow out of what we believe about the world and about God. If we act like a lost person but hide behind what happened at church camp in 1962, everyone’s going to wonder if we really are the Christian we think we are.
Jesus said to pray to our God who is in secret and that He would reward the things we do and ask for in secret. Salvation is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the rules we follow.
If we have the option to receive praise from men or praise from God, woe to the person that desires it from men. It’s what happens in our heart, in our innermost soul, that God uses to work salvation, purity, and righteous living. He works those things out in us to show off His goodness.
Like a cheap trophy is plastic on the inside and gold on the outside, God turns us into gold on the inside, no matter what material is on the outside. His work inside of us is what He looks at with delight. His work inside of us is what overflows to bring more people into the family.