He executes justice for the fatherless and widow, and He loves the foreigner, giving him food and clothing.
I. HEART CIRCUMCISION IN ITS IMPORT.
1. Betokens the existence of natural impurity. The rite of circumcision, as the initiatory rite of the covenant, taught that man, in his natural, unpurified state, is unfit for fellowship with God. "In us, that is, in our flesh, dwells no good thing" (John 3:6; Romans 7:18). It was a symbol of the putting away of "the filth of the flesh" - a truth now signified in baptism (Colossians 2:11; 1 Peter 3:21).
2. Illustrates the painful nature of the renunciation of fleshly lusts. The operation was sharp, painful, bloody. It vividly set forth at once the necessity of renouncing the lusts of the flesh, and the pain attendant on the act. We are called on to mortify our members which are upon the earth (Colossians 3:5). The process is described as a crucifying of the flesh, with its affections and lusts (Galatians 5:24). The deepest form which this renunciation can assume is the renunciation of the principle of self-will in its entirety, the sharp excision of evil in its root.
3. Implies the grace of the covenant. The reception of God's grace as exhibited in the covenant is the condition of the possibility of this renunciation. We achieve it, not in our own strength, but through the impartation of a new principle of life. Paul makes it a result of faith in the risen Christ (Colossians 2:12). The circumcised heart marks the accepted and restored recipient of the grace of God - a child of the spiritual covenant, one born again.
II. HEART CIRCUMCISION IN ITS NECESSITY.
1. As distinguished from outward circumcision. The latter was valueless without the former. Being but a symbol, its sole worth lay in that which it represented. The true Jew was he who was one inwardly, whose circumcision was "that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter" (Romans 2:28, 29). The remark applies to baptism. It also is but a symbol, and without the grace which it exhibits, and the inward renewal which it betokens, it is a dead work, a valueless rite, leaving its subject as little a Christian as at first. So with all ceremonies.
2. As a positive qualification for God's service. Pure obedience can flow only from a pure heart, a renewed will. It is not a fruit of the flesh. The flesh must he renounced, and a new and spiritual nature begotten in us before we can render it. What is needed is not reformation, but regeneration - a new birth, a new creation, a new heart (John 3:3; Romans 7:18-25; Romans 8:7; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:16-25). - J.O.
He chose...you above all people.I. IN SETTING FORTH ELECTION, I must have you observe, first of all, its extraordinary singularity. God has chosen to Himself a people whom no man can number, out of the children of Adam. Now this is a wonder of wonders, when we come to consider that the heaven, even the heaven of heavens, is the Lord's. If God must have a chosen race, why did He not select one from the majestic order of angels, or from the flaming cherubim and seraphim who stand around His throne? Why was not Gabriel fixed upon? What could there be in man, a creature lower than the angels, that God should select him rather than the angelic spirits? I have given you, then, some reason at starting, why we should regard God's Election as being singular. But I have to offer others. Observe, the text not only says, "Behold, the heaven, even the heaven of the heavens is the Lord's," but it adds, "the earth also, with all that therein is." Yet one other thought to make God's Election marvellous indeed. God had unlimited power of creation. Now, if He willed to take a people who should be His favourites, who should be united to the person of His Son, why did He not make a new race? When Adam sinned, it would have been easy enough to strike the world out of existence. But no! Instead of making a new people, a pure people who could not sin, He takes a fallen people, and lifts these up, and that, too, by costly means; by the death of His own Son, by the work of His own Spirit; that these might be the jewels in His crown to reflect His glory forever. Oh, singular choice! My soul is lost in Thy depths, and I can only pause and cry, "Oh, the goodness, oh, the mercy, oh, the sovereignty of God's grace." Having thus spoken about its singularity, I turn to another subject.
2. Observe the unconstrained freeness of electing love. In our text this is hinted at by the word "only." Why did God love their fathers? Why, only because He did so. There is no other reason. I come to the hardest part of my task. Election in its justice. Now, I shall defend this great fact, that God has chosen men to Himself, and I shall regard it from rather a different point of view from that which is usually taken. You tell me, if God has chosen some men to eternal life, that He has been unjust. I ask you to prove it. The burden of the proof lies with you. For I would have you remember that none merited this at all. God injures no man in blessing some. I defend it again on another ground. To which of you has God ever refused His mercy and love, when you have sought His face? Doth not His Word bid you come to Jesus? and doth it not solemnly say, "Whosoever will, let him come"? You say it is unjust that some should be lost while others are saved. Who makes those to be lost that are lost? Did God cause you to sin? Has the Spirit of God ever persuaded you to do a wrong thing? Has the Word of God ever bolstered you up in your own self-righteousness? No; God has never exercised any influence upon you to make you go the wrong way. The whole tendency of His Word, the whole tendency of the preaching of the Gospel, is to persuade you to turn from sin unto righteousness, from your wicked ways to Jehovah.
II. We now turn to ELECTION IN ITS PRACTICAL INFLUENCES. You will see that the precept is annexed to the doctrine; God has loved you above all people that are upon the face of the earth; therefore, "circumcise the foreskin of your hearts and be no more stiff-necked." It is whispered that Election is a licentious doctrine. It is my business to prove to you that it is the very reverse. "Well, but," cries one, "I know a man that believes in Election and yet lives in sin." Yes, and I suppose that disproves it. So that if I can go through London and find any ragged, drunken fellow, who believes a doctrine and lives in sin, the fact of his believing it disproves it. Singular logic, that! But I come back to my proof. It is laid down as a matter of theory that this doctrine is licentious. The fitness of things proves that it is not so. Election teaches that God has chosen some to be kings and priests to God. When a man believes that he is chosen to be a king, would it be legitimate inference to draw from it — "I am chosen to be a king; therefore I will be a beggar; I am chosen to sit upon a throne, therefore I will wear rags"? Why, you would say, "There would be no argument, no sense in it." But there is quite as much sense in that as in your supposition, that God has chosen His people to be holy, and yet that a knowledge of this fact will make them unholy. No! the man, knowing that a peculiar dignity has been put upon him by God, feels working in his bosom a desire to live up to his dignity. Again, not only the fitness of things, but the thing itself proves that it is not so. Election is a separation. God has set apart him that is godly for Himself, has separated a people out of the mass of mankind. Does that separation allow us to draw the inference thus: — "God has separated me, therefore I will live as other men live"? No! if I believe that God has distinguished me by His discriminating love, and separated me, then I hear the cry, "Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing, and I will be a Father unto you." It were strange if the decree of separation should engender an unholy union. It cannot be.
( C. H. Spurgeon.)
(H. W. Beecher.)
I. HOW GREAT AND MIGHTY IS THE GOD WHO CALLS US TO HIMSELF — how wise and solicitous for men's good, and how He has proved this in all the regions of the creation which belongs to Him.
II. HE WHO HOLDS ALL THINGS IN HIS HAND AND CARES FOR ALL, CAN HAVE A SPECIAL AND PECULIAR CARE FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL: and thus we may have fullest confidence in Him.
III. IT SHOULD MAKE US ASTONISHED AND CONFUSED BEYOND MEASURE TO THINK THAT THE GREAT GOD SHOULD HAVE CALLED US WEAK AND PUNY CREATURES TO SO GREAT GRACE AND FAVOUR; that He should even have sent His Son for our redemption, and that He would have us become temples of the Holy Ghost. Many indeed find it inconceivable that God should have destined our globe — one of the smallest of the worlds — for such high honour. This appears to them so absurd, that on this account they would throw over Christianity. They forget that the greatness of God lies in this, that He attends to and cares for the small as well as the great. To the infinite Jehovah the distinction between small and great is not as it appears to us. Moses understood this.
IV. IN THESE WORDS THERE APPEARS THE HINT OF A COMPREHENSIVE DIVINE PLAN WHICH GOD DESIGNED WITH REGARD TO THE CREATION THROUGH THAT WHICH HE ACCOMPLISHED TOWARD THIS LOWER PORTION OF IT. So had He already proclaimed to that people chosen before all others. "As truly as I live, saith the Lord, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of the Lord" (Numbers 14:21). He thus proclaimed that through the choice of Israel He had in view the salvation of all the peoples; a truth already revealed in the blessing of Abraham, in whose seed all nations are to be blessed. Even so we may say that, in the choice of our globe for this special design, He contemplates the renewal and glorification of the universe. "In Christ, in the fulness of time, He will gather together all things, both which are in heaven and which are on earth" (Ephesians 1:10; Colossians 1:20). How this is to be accomplished we must leave to the care of Him whose are "the heaven and the heaven of heavens."
V. THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE SO HIGHLY FAVOURED WILL BE THE GREATER IF THEY SHOULD TURN AWAY TO UNBELIEF AND DISOBEDIENCE. If these things be so, Moses' words give us sufficient inducement to hold fast with decision and faithfulness what is offered us in the Gospel and in the revelation of God's will. Let us not fail in our part, as we may be assured He will not fail who has come down so far in Christ unto us.
(J. C. Blumhardt.)
Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-neckedI. SPIRITUAL CIRCUMCISION — its meaning.
1. Declared in the Old and New Testaments, as, in the text, also in Jeremiah 4:4, and elsewhere.
2. Spoken of as a seal of the righteousness of faith (Romans 4:11).
3. Spoken of as representing the renunciation of, and cutting off of, the superfluity of the flesh (Colossians 2:11).
4. Therefore true circumcision is of everlasting and universal obligation.
II. LITERAL CIRCUMCISION. Temporary and preparatory.
1. For males only.
2. Superseded by baptism.
III. CIRCUMCISION AND BAPTISM.
1. Two points in which they differ.(1) Baptism, in its literal sense, taken as an outward rite, is of universal and continual obligation — continual, that is, as long as this dispensation lasts.(2) Taken in its literal sense, circumcision was the initiatory rite of the old covenant, as baptism is of the new.
2. Three points of resemblance.(1) In a spiritual sense, both have the same signification. Both point to the renewal of heart which is required of all.(2) Neither circumcision nor baptism are of value as mere rites, unaccompanied by the spiritual grace which they typify (Galatians 5:6; 1 Peter 3:21).
Plain Sermons by Contributors to, Tracts for the Times.It is a thing much to be observed, that many of the outward and visible signs, which God has ordained His people to use in worshipping Him, have somewhat in them to remind us in some way of suffering, affliction, pain, self-denial, death. Thus the Holy Communion is the remembrance of our Saviour's death, His violent and bitter death. But of all Church ceremonies, there is none which so distinctly sets before us our call to suffer, as that which has from the beginning always gone along with baptism; the signing the newly baptised with the sign of the Cross. The Cross is the very height and depth of all suffering. Now such as the baptismal Cross is in the Christian life, such was circumcision among God's ancient people. It was His mark, made for life, in the very flesh of those who belonged to Him, setting them apart, in a manner, for suffering and self-denial. It was a foretaste of the Cross; add, as such, our Saviour Himself received it. Thus, whether we look to our Lord's own example, or to the sacramental ways which He has ordained, both of old and new, to bring His people near Him, either way we are taught to count them happy which endure; to consider affliction and trouble as God's seal, set upon those who particularly belong to Him, and to fear nothing so much as receiving our consolation in this world. But if this be so, then just in such measure as we are going on prosperously and at ease, have we need to mortify ourselves, and keep our passions in order; that by our own doing, if so please God, we may provide for ourselves something like that due chastening, which our afflicted brethren really have to endure. This, our self-denial, we must practise in little matters: it should accompany us in our everyday walk, as every Jew bore about with him the mark of circumcision, visibly impressed on his flesh. We must not keep our patience and self-command to be exercised only on great and solemn occasions; we must be continually sacrificing our own wills, as opportunity serves, to the will of others. There is no end, in short, of the many little crosses which, if quietly borne in a Christian way, will, by God's grace, do the work of affliction, and help to tame our proud wills by little and little. I say, tame our proud wills, because Holy Scripture sets forth this as one of the particular objects for which circumcision was appointed, that God's people might learn by it, not only to get over what are commonly called the lusts of the flesh, but the angry and envious, and proud feeling also; as the text seems specially to hint: Circumcise, therefore, the foreskin of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked. As if stubbornness and obstinacy, and, in one word, wilfulness (for that is the meaning of a stiff neck), were to be cured by the same kind of discipline as sensual passions, lust, and greediness. In short, it is not hard to understand how the body, which greatly affects the mind, may be tamed and brought into subjection, by a quiet and discreet method of fasting, accompanied, of course, with alms and prayer. And a little consideration will show that the same discipline must do great good to the passions of the soul too. If we abstain from indulging our bodily appetites, for the sake of pleasing God and obtaining His grace, is there not so far a better chance of our remembering Him, when we are tempted to indulge discontented, unkind, proud thoughts, wilful tempers of any sort? I do not of course mean that this benefit follows upon the mere outward exercise of fasting, but only if a person sets about it religiously, in the fear Of God, in desire to draw near to Christ, and in humble obedience to His will, made known in His Gospel and by His Church. Otherwise mere fasting, as well as mere prayer, or mere reading, or mere going to church, may be turned into a snare of the devil. But it is not therefore to be omitted, any more than those other holy exercises; but practised, as I said, in the fear of God, the want of which fear alone it is, which can ever make any person easy in depending on one or other holy duty, so as to leave out the rest.
(Plain Sermons by Contributors to "Tracts for the Times.)
PeopleAaron, Eleazar, Jaakanites, Jakan, Levi, Moses
PlacesBeeroth Bene-jaakan, Beth-baal-peor, Egypt, Jotbathah, Moserah, Sinai
TopicsAlien, Bread, Cause, Child, Clothing, Execute, Executes, Executeth, Fatherless, Foreigner, Giving, Judging, Judgment, Justice, Love, Loves, Loveth, Loving, Mercy, Orphan, Raiment, Shows, Sojourner, Strange, Stranger, Uprightly, Widow
Outline1. God's mercy in restoring the two tablets
6. in continuing the priesthood
8. in separating the tribe of Levi
10. in hearkening unto Moses' plea for his people
12. An exhortation to obedience
Dictionary of Bible ThemesDeuteronomy 10:18
LibraryElection and Holiness
Now, this morning it may be that some of you will not approve of what I have to say. You will remember, however, that I do not seek your approbation, that it will be sufficient for me if I have cleared my conscience concerning a grand truth and have preached the gospel faithfully. I am not accountable to you, nor you to me. You are accountable to God, if you reject a truth; I am accountable to Him if I preach an error. I am not afraid to stand before His bar with regard to the great doctrines which …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 6: 1860
Book iii. The Ascent: from the River Jordan to the Mount of Transfiguration.
a survey of the third and closing discourse of the prophet
Parable of the Importunate Widow.
Covenanting a Duty.
Thirtieth Lesson. An Holy Priesthood;'
Covenanting Confers Obligation.
Kadesh. Rekam, and that Double. Inquiry is Made, Whether the Doubling it in the Maps is Well Done.
An Appendix to the Beatitudes
Jesus Attends the First Passover of his Ministry.
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