Baptism and the Circumcision of Christ #1810

11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses (Colossians 2:11–13, NKJV)

The apostle of Christ treats physical circumcision as wholly inferior to “the circumcision of Christ,” which takes place when the sinner is “buried with Christ in baptism.” Cutting off the foreskin of flesh was a figure of what actually happens in the circumcision of Christ – a cutting off of sins performed by divine hands. God performs a spiritual operation (“the working of God,” v. 12) when the sinner is baptized by cutting away the sinner’s sins and giving that person newness of life (Rom. 6:4). This passage explains that the circumcision of Christ (the cutting away of sin) takes place when the sinner is buried with Christ in baptism, and results in the forgiveness of sins (v. 13). The circumcision of Christ is as real as the sinner upon whom the operation is performed. Without this operation of God the sinner remains dead in sin. With it, he or she is forgiven and alive in Christ. To deny the necessity of water baptism to be saved is to deny the removal of sins that occurs by the circumcision of Christ.