Paul said that they had received a spiritual circumcision in Christ. They were buried in baptism. Then they rose with Christ through faith and the power of God. They were dead with their trespasses and uncircumcision, but then God made them come alive. He forgave all their sins, erasing all their past record, as he nailed their sins to the cross. God also disarmed all the human rulers and triumphed over them.
“In Christ also,
You were circumcised
With non-human hands circumcision.
You put off
Of the human flesh
In the circumcision
ἐν ᾧ καὶ περιετμήθητε περιτομῇ ἀχειροποιήτῳ ἐν τῇ ἀπεκδύσει τοῦ σώματος τῆς σαρκός, ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ τοῦ Χριστοῦ,
Paul said, “In Christ also (ἐν ᾧ), you were circumcised (καὶ περιετμήθητε) with non-human hands circumcision (περιτομῇ ἀχειροποιήτῳ). You put off (ἐν τῇ ἀπεκδύσει) the body of the human flesh (τοῦ σώματος τῆς σαρκός) in the circumcision (ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ) of Christ (τοῦ Χριστοῦ).” Only this unique word ἀπεκδύσει, is found here in Colossians, that means stripping off, putting off, or casting off. Paul returned to one of his favorite topics, circumcision, with this battle over the value of Jewish human circumcision. Paul talked about a circumcision not done with human hands, a non-human or spiritual circumcision. There was no need to use the human fleshy body in this new spiritual circumcision of Jesus Christ. Paul continued to wail against those who demanded that Christian males have a bodily circumcision just like the Jewish males. Christ brought a spiritual circumcision that no longer needed a human body penis circumcision. Are you circumcised?
Is a Jew,
Who is one inwardly.
Is a matter of the heart,
And not literal.
Such a person
Not from others,
But from God.”
ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος, καὶ περιτομὴ καρδίας ἐν πνεύματι οὐ γράμματι, οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ.
Paul said that a person is a Jew (Ἰουδαῖος), who is one inwardly (ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ). Circumcision (καὶ περιτομὴ) is a matter of the heart (καρδίας), spiritual (ἐν πνεύματι), and not literal (οὐ γράμματι). Such a person receives praise (οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος) not from other men (οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων), but from God (ἀλλ ’ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ). Paul indicated that a true Jewish person was inwardly Jewish, because the circumcision of the heart was spiritual not merely literal. The Jewish people should not seek praise from other men, but from God. The Jews were privileged to have circumcision, but that assumed a circumcision that comes from the heart, not the mere fact of having the foreskin of the penis removed. Only God would judge or praise them for what they have done. It doesn’t matter what other humans think about this. Paul was following the Jewish tradition of Jeremiah, chapter 4:4, where they were to circumcise themselves to Yahweh by removing the foreskins on their hearts, and chapter 9:25-26, where the harshest treatment is for the house of Israel that is uncircumcised in the heart. Ezekiel, chapter 44:7, had Yahweh say that you admitted foreigners, the uncircumcised in heart, the uncircumcised in flesh, to be in my sanctuary. Thus, Paul continued the Israelite prophetic line about uncircumcised of the heart. Do you have a circumcised heart?