“So if the uncircumcised man keeps the the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?”
Paul now reverts back to the Gentile believer who now walks in accordance to the Spirit. He’s telling the Jewish reader that even the Gentile has the ability to meet the requirements of the Law even though he is not circumcised Matthew 22:37-40 “And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”” Even the Gentile could live up the basic standard of God’s Law while living in the Spirit. This is one aspect of Paul’s mission to break down the barrier of Jew and Gentiles. Even after Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, there is still this tension between Jews who believe in Jesus and Gentiles who are graphed into the family of God. One of the main contentions the Jewish believers had was that the Gentiles were not abiding by the Mosaic and Levitical Laws. They weren’t observing the feasts and even pushed back on the idea of being circumcised (Acts 15). But the consensus from the Apostles and the elders was that Gentile believers did not need to adhere to circumcision or following the Law like the Jews did. The Gentiles were fulfilling the Law by living in the Spirit and adhering to the commandments of Jesus. This new concept was frustrating for the Jewish believers to accept but this was God’s plan. The Law was a signpost to point our sin, Jesus fulfills the Law and breaths out a new covenant that includes people from all walks of life and all nations of the world. What use is circumcision when you are already fulfilling the obligations Jesus has set before you? It’s pointless and Paul needed his Jewish readers to understand that it isn’t through circumcision that we are in covenant with God but through circumcision of the heart. It’s not that circumcision wasn’t important. God made it very clear to Abraham that it was! In one story of Moses, God was about to kill Moses because he hadn’t circumcised his son yet. Zipporah (Moses’ wife) rebuked Moses and circumcised their son to prevent the wrath of God coming upon them. It’s a scary passage and almost feels out of place especially since Moses was God’s chosen vessel to deliver the Hebrew people out of Egypt. However, it should signify just how important circumcision is to God. So much so, that He was willing to cut Moses out of His great plan. Circumcision is very important to God, but circumcision of the flesh is no longer the sign of the covenant between God and His people, it is circumcision of the heart. Without being circumcised of the heart your circumcision of the flesh is meaningless and you will be cut off from God.