Apostle Don Meares
The Bible is the story of the Old and the New Covenant. When we understand what God has accomplished for us in Christ through the covenant, the Bible will begin to open and take on new insight for us. We will begin to understand what He has done for all mankind. The good news of the Gospel is that God has entered into a covenant for you and me. It is not something that you or I have to do for God. It’s what He has done for us.
The good news is that God cut a unilateral covenant, a one-sided covenant, with Himself and with us. It was a blood covenant where He pledged allegiance to mankind that He would be our God and that we would be His people. In this covenant, God’s purpose is that we would come into unity or oneness with Him because a covenant demands that two people be alike. A covenant requires the two parties to come into an agreement. God wants us to come into one spirit where He can bring us into a spiritual union with Himself.
In relation to this, we must ask: What is the relationship between circumcision of the heart and water baptism? Let us look at Colossians 2:11 (AMP).
“ In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but by the [spiritual] circumcision of Christ in the stripping off of the body of the flesh [the sinful carnal nature],”
We were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands but in a spiritual circumcision performed by Christ. He did it by stripping the physical body of the whole corrupt carnal nature with its passions and lusts. Thus, you were circumcised when you were buried with Him in your baptism. And you were also raised with Him to a new life through your faith. So the working of God was displayed when He raised Him up to a new life through faith in the working of God as displayed when He raised Him from the dead.
Understanding the Gospel
The Gospel is that Jesus came as God upon the earth, taking upon Himself the form of a man and God at the same time. When we read about Jesus growing from being an infant until He entered into His ministry and moved toward His death, we see clearly that Jesus’ purpose in coming to earth as a man was to cut a blood covenant with His Father. For this covenant, God the Father needed someone that could be equal to Himself. In the Old Testament, God the Father never cut a blood covenant with any man. He had to cut a blood covenant with Himself because no man is acceptable to Him. All men and women have sinned in their life. When Jesus came, there was now a man who hadn’t sinned in His life. He is perfect and can fulfill all of the law. He also belongs to the family of the first Adam but is nothing like Adam. This is why the Bible calls Him the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45). With Jesus, God the Father can establish a better covenant, a new covenant that is complete.
In Christ Jesus, God can cut a covenant with mankind. And when Jesus went to the cross 2,000 years ago, we were crucified with Him. In other words, everything that happened to Jesus, if you are in Him, it happened to you. When Jesus said it was finished, it was finished (John 19:30). We are in Him because Jesus is our representative. When He rose from the grave, you also rose from the grave with Him. When He ascended into the heavenly place, you also ascended with Him. When Jesus was crowned Lord of the Universe, you were in Him.
When a sinner hears the Gospel, of the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and coronation, now they can know that this is for them to experience. When we hear the Gospel, we recognize all that God has done for us through Jesus. What is now required on our part is to have faith. When we hear the Gospel, God, by His Spirit, will quicken us where we can receive His gift of faith.
Repentance is a gift from God, even though God demands that we walk by faith. Divine faith is a gift of God. When we think of the concept of the Gospel, it is what God has done for me and what God has done for you. It is not something we do for God. It’s what He’s done for us. And if you limit the Gospel to just the crucifixion and the death of Jesus, you do a great injustice to the Gospel. Jesus is the King of kings and the Lord of lords.
He wants you to share even in His ascension and coronation.
We experience death, burial, and resurrection through the foundation of water baptism. But, to be baptized in water, you must also experience repentance. When we are immersed, we will arise to come into a new flow of life in Christ. We become citizens of a new Kingdom and Heaven (Hebrews 12:28). Our calling is now to sit in heavenly places, and only by the Holy Spirit can you call Him Lord and Master anytime.
The order is very clear: repent, receive God’s faith, be water baptized, and receive the Holy Ghost. We see this in Acts 2:38:
“Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
John the Baptist came to preach repentance. John the Baptist couldn’t preach repentance without baptizing people in water because if you teach repentance, there has to be a baptism for the remission of sins. When John baptized people in the water, he said that everything he did was for one purpose. He says in Luke 3:16:
“John answered, saying to all, “I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
As we are baptized, we need to ask God to prepare our hearts as we ask forgiveness. We must ask it by faith, seal it with water baptism, and prepare our whole being to receive Him when He comes.
After being baptized, we are responsible for taking the good news of what God has done to the world. You get a new spirit when the blood has been applied to your heart. You will enter the Kingdom of God when you’ve been born of the water and spirit (John 3:5).
The Circumcision of the Heart in the New Covenant
The word saved means “delivered .” There are many phases that God wants to deliver you. And so, He initiates different phases for your salvation and deliverance. When you repent and have godly sorrow for your sins, He delivers you from yourself. He washes you of your sin. He gives you a new spirit. He’s delivered you. You had your old spirit, but He gave you a new spirit. He forgives you of your sins and cleanses you and washes you by the blood. You have been delivered.
There are many phases of being initiated into God’s covenant. The first one has to be the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, who cut the covenant for us. After that, we experience repentance with His blood by faith applied to our hearts, but you have also to understand now that circumcision is also an initiation, which means the covenant has been approved.
In the New Testament, circumcision is through water baptism of the heart. Unlike in the Old Testament, it’s not where God takes a knife and cuts something literally around your heart. It is rather a spiritual operation. In the New Testament, we also see separation. When the blood has been applied, you are saved and delivered. You are born again. Water baptism separates you from the world.
If you’re going to have a covenant relationship, the New Testament says you need to have a seal and that only happens through circumcision of the heart. Water baptism separates you from the world. It separates you from the Spirit of this age. It separates you from the first Adam. And it immerses you into the last Adam. It’s a corporate thing. When you get baptized, you become part of the family of God. When it comes to your personal life, you are delivered from yourself and the world.
In the new covenant, you now belong to the church. Now that you have been baptized, your act of obedience separates you from the old man, the body of sin, and the spirit of this age. When you are baptized, the world is going to be buried while you will be raised to walk in the newness of life because sin no longer has control over you. You are no longer in bondage. You’ve been separated to live the way God wants you to live. It’s an initiation, a deliverance.
God requires a further step of the Gospel. We have to go beyond repentance, beyond faith. If you say you believe in Jesus, you have to start walking by faith. Good works will follow because faith without works is dead (James 2:17). True and divine faith will always take action. People will know you believe through your obedience to whatever Jesus commanded.
When your faith is untested, it will not go anywhere and won’t be worth anything. Faith demands obedience to God’s requirements. In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
Galatians 3:29 says, “And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” God wants to separate His people from the world. You are a citizen of the Kingdom of God. Therefore, you need to constantly guard your spirit and not allow the spirit of this world to defile you.
Being born again cannot happen unless you have godly repentance. You need your spiritual eyes open to see what Christ has done for you. His Spirit has to draw you and give you the faith to believe that what Jesus did for you is true and experience it. Baptism without repentance is worthless. Baptism without faith is useless. Many people never experienced a valid baptism because they never repented, had faith, or truly believed in Jesus as the Son of God. If you are willing to follow God, you will no longer be bound. There’s coming a day that He’s going to circumcise your heart. When God does this, you will not only be free from the world but also be free to love God and live as He wants you to. This is the way to a full and abundant life in God.