Word for the day by Christian Education Forum

Marked by the Wounds of Christ

Jocelyn Chacko
St. Thomas MTC, NY
15 For neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is anything; but a new creation is everything!

“Call me Caitlyn. “ This headline held the attention of the American people for a few days as Bruce Jenner revealed that he now wanted to be called Caitlyn. Not long after, Rachel Dolezal stole the headlines as a white woman who had claimed to identify as African American.

Who am I? This is a question all people continuously ask themselves. 

Biblically, we see that God forms man with an identity and carries this idea throughout the Bible. He creates Adam and Eve saying, “Let us make man in our image’. Therefore, we are given an identity from our inception—we belong to God. We are created to be like Him. 

Fast forward. God establishes a covenant with Abraham, promising to be their God and that Abraham’s offspring will be His chosen people. Through this covenant, Jews begin the practice of circumcision as a physical sign of this relationship or identity of belonging to God. The Israelites, though often tempted by pagan gods, manage to keep up this physical tradition.  

Fast forward. Jesus’ teachings, death and resurrection are being spread by the disciples and have been accepted by some Jews, but also many Gentiles.  This creates conflict. Paul writes this letter to the Galatians to address cultural barriers between the two groups, namely circumcision. Jews who have accepted the teachings of Jesus and are now Christians insist that the Christian identity requires the Abrahamic symbol of circumcision. Paul clearly expresses that Jesus has fulfilled the prophesy in Jeremiah 31:31-34 of the establishment of a new covenant. Furthermore, he states that circumcision in the flesh is not what will be the symbol of this new covenant. 

Paul teaches the early Christian community and us today, that Jesus gives us an identity through his crucifixion. Marked by the wounds of Christ, we have been claimed as His and our debt has been paid. He is our physical sign of the new covenant. Our physical response in this covenant is not about circumcision; rather it requires a transformation of our hearts—making us “new creation.”

The headlines we see these days show us that we are all seeking an identity and seeking acceptance among other people. Male or female, black or white, circumcised or not, we should remember first and foremost, the Lord has claimed us as His children and redeemed us from sin. This relationship is maintained only if we acknowledge this and live accordingly. 


Help us O Lord to be living representations of the covenant you have established with us as your people. Amen

Marked by the wounds of Christ, we have been claimed as His and our debt has been paid. 

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