I ran across a new blog recently entitled “In Spirit and Truth.”  The author has quite a few interesting posts up.  Here’s a selection from his discussion of a Baptist panel’s discussion of Baptism:

Finally, Thomas Nettles said “The Old Covenant was promising that the New Covenant would be a circumcision of the heart,” in an effort to emphasize his belief “that circumcision under the Old Covenant is fulfilled in the New Covenant not by baptism, but by regeneration.”

 

This is an interesting position, although I believe Holy Scripture soundly undermines such a view. The distinction between a circumcision of the “flesh” and a circumcision of the “heart” is not exclusively a new covenant emphasis — it is an old covenant one. The Old Covenant did not “promise” that, someday, the New Covenant would be a circumcision of the heart — it exhorted to Israel that it should be of the heart, right then and there. The sign should always correspond to the reality of what the Sacrament signifies about the person. This is why Moses says to a circumcised Israel in his second giving of the Law, “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul (Deuteronomy 10:12),” emphasizing a holistic faith, along with “Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn (Deuteronomy 10:16).”  The promise of Abraham, fulfilled with the incarnation of Jesus Christ when the Word became flesh (John 1:14), was not annulled by the Old Covenant, as Paul teaches so plainly in his Epistle to the Galatians (Galatians 3:17-18). The Old Covenant very much emphasizes the everlasting covenant that God made with Israel (cf. Genesis 9:16; 17:7,13,19; 2 Samuel 23:5; 1 Chronicles 16:17; Psalm 105:10; Isaiah 24:5; 55:3; 61:8; Jeremiah 32:40; 50:5; Ezekiel 16:60; 37:26), so that Moses could say with full confidence to the people of Israel, “And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live (Deuteronomy 30:6).”

 

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