Is circumcision a requirement for salvation for male Christians?

QUESTION: “I am almost 21 years old, and a relatively new Christian. I haven’t read the Old Testament yet, but I have read the New Testament. I am confused on whether or not as a Christian you have to be circumcised, because I am not. The New Testament confused me though, I can’t figure out if I need to be physically circumcised… I guess the question short and sweet is: Do I need to get circumcised to get into heaven?”
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No, you most certainly do not have to be circumcised for admittance to Heaven. Circumcision was a distinguishing sign of Abraham descendants’ confirming their covenant with God—the OLD Covenant. It was forever abolished by the NEW Covenant of grace through Christ. It never applied to Christians.

This was confirmed long ago by the Apostle Paul and the early Church. Circumcision has absolutely nothing to do with your salvation. It is one of many Old Testament requirements that ended the moment that Jesus Christ died for our sins. Circumcision had to do with the Old Testament relationship between God and the children of Abraham. (See: Circumcision) It has never been a requirement for Christians.

The primary reason this subject is discussed in the New Testament is because of confusion in the early Church among some Jews that had become Christians. At one point, some tried to pressure Titus, a Greek Christian friend of Paul, into being circumcised. (See: Titus) In reality, this was only the beginning of the demands of the Judaizers; they wanted him and all other Christians to practice ALL the other requirements of Jewish law, as well.

In a council meeting in Jerusalem, Paul and Barnabas convinced the Jewish Christians of the very dangerous error in this kind of thinking (Acts 15). Thereafter, the Church took a strong stand against requiring circumcision.

First Corinthians 7 makes it clear that if an uncircumcised man becomes a Christian, he is not to have himself circumcised (at least not for religious reasons) (1 Corinthians 7:18). To do so would be a bad testimony to others, as it tends to indicate that the person believes that circumcision is a requirement of Christianity. It is not. To claim that any work of man is required for salvation is heresy. Salvation is by grace, not by works (Ephesians 2:8-9). Circumcision means nothing to God, since Christ’s death (see Acts 6:15; 1 Corinthians 7:19).

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV).

Author: Paul S. Taylor of Christian Answers

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