ESV - 11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ.
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The rite of circumcision made by human hands was an external sign of an inward state of faith and grace. (Deut. 10:16; 30:6.) It was an external sign by which Abraham showed his faith and reliance on God. This sign was to distinguish all men of Israel and pointed to Israel's commitment to God and obedience to all His requirements. The circumcision received by the Colossians was not an external sign in the flesh - it was an inward change of heart and life symbolized by their baptism (Col 2:12).
I would say that the verse cited in the question is likening the placement of faith in Christ for salvation to the ritual of circumcision (Genesis 17:9-14) in the respect that, as circumcision involves physical removal of a portion of the flesh, faith in Christ spiritually "cuts away" at the individual's former fleshly (that is, sinful) nature, and replaces it with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, marking the individual as a Christian in the same way that physical circumcision identified an Israelite as a descendant of Abraham.
I concur with Aurel Gheorghe who discussed Deuteronomy (Deut. 10:16; 30:6.) See his remark above. Furthermore, frequently in the Old Testament, God cautioned His people to abandon their transgressions and experience circumcision of the heart (Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4; 6:10; Ezek. 44:7). I.e., it had profound importance. It implied purification of the heart, internal circumcision effected by the Spirit (Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Ezek. 44:7; Acts 7:51; Rom. 2:28; Col. 2:11).
There is no question that PHYSICAL circumcision under the old covenant became SPIRITUAL circumcision of the heart under the new covenant. Many, many passages of scripture attest to this truth. In fact, Exodus 4:24-26 describes physical circumcision as a BLOOD SACRIFICE for sin.. What I would like to add here is that it is not enough to acknowledge that circumcision is no longer required of Christians. We Christians should also be teaching that it is contrary to the teaching of the new testament to continue to routinely circumcise our children. The Apostle Paul states in Philippians 3:2 that circumcision is MUTILATION (the word CONCISION used in the King James version is shown to mean mutilation in Strong's Concordance). Furthermore, the Apostle Paul states in Galatians 5:2 "If you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing." No Christians practiced circumcision for over 1,800 years until the late 1800s when quackery theologians and physicians such as John Harvey Kellogg, inventor of Corn Flakes, began teaching that circumcision was a cure for masturbation. God bless!
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