Circumcision is not just a guy thing. God calls both men and women into a wholehearted covenant with Himself, and there should be an outward sign of an inward commitment. Circumcision and beauty are those outwards signs. Unfortunately, tough circumstances in our lives reveal to us that circumcision and beauty are often only skin-deep – neither gets down into the heart.
In Peter’s first letter, he encourages women to let their adornment be the hidden person of the heart. Along with men, women should be circumcised in their hearts and be in covenant with God with their whole being. Both men and women are not supposed to have confidence in the flesh, but be dependent on the Spirit to manifest that covenant from the inside out.
Peter encourages women to be in covenant with God on the inside and it will manifest itself in beauty and all the fruit of the Spirit. It will also be evident in their trust of God – doing good and walking in His will without any fear that things will go horribly wrong, no worry that God isn’t big enough to keep his daughters from being hurt.
The example Peter uses is Sarah and Abraham. Remember, Abraham is the father of faith; he is highly praised for his faith in God. Now, you might think it easy for Sarah to submit to someone like him, right? Wrong! Do you have any idea what Abraham did? He gave his wife away to another man – not once, but twice in order to protect his own skin! So who was Sarah trusting – Abraham or God?
It was God she looked to for faithfulness and the ability to deliver her. It was God she trusted to make the situation right. God rescued her and put her back where she belonged.
This is a lesson not just for women. Men also need to learn to trust God and to lean on Him in tough situations. Think about Abraham’s situation: he was afraid that Pharaoh was going to kill him to get Sarah. So he gave her away!
Why did he do it? He was afraid – afraid for himself and afraid of the circumstances. He did not think God was able to protect him.
So Peter, after letting the women know that they need to be circumcised in their heart, to not be afraid but to submit to their husbands, which is actually submitting to God, he turns to the men and says, “Guys? You too, must be circumcised in your heart. You too must trust God and show it by protecting the woman He gave you, not giving her away to protect yourself. Make sure you don’t do anything that is going to harm her, because she is going to do what you ask, trusting God to take care of her. Buddy, you will have to answer to God.”
Both men and women will have to answer to God for their actions because our actions speak volumes of our trust in God in the depth of our heart. As do our re-actions, which is why Peter then calls us to have compassion for each other, not returning evil for evil but instead blessing, understanding and submitting.
All this speaks of the condition of our heart. Do we really trust God? Are we circumcised in our heart? Do we truly believe, in the depth of our being, that we are in covenant with God and He with us? Or is it just a ritual of the flesh?