For circumcision is indeed profitable if you keep the law; but if you are a breaker of the law, your circumcision has become uncircumcision. Therefore, if an uncircumcised man keeps the righteous requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be counted as circumcision? And will not the physically uncircumcised, if he fulfills the law, judge you who, even with your written code and circumcision, are a transgressor of the law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose [b]praise is not from men but from God.Romans 2:25-29
Today’s reading shows us that outward appearances that don’t match inward behavior is useless. Circumcision was an outward appearance of being a Jew, which is God’s chosen people. But the Jews wanted praise from men but their hearts weren’t in it.
Jesus quoted Isaiah 29:13 when he corrected the Pharisees in Mark 7:7:
‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
What today’s reading illustrates to us today is that we can have an outward appearance of being right with God because we keep the traditions of men, but on the inside, we aren’t doing what we’re commanded to do. Just as our outward appearance appears circumcised, our hearts should be circumcised so we can be in right standing with the Lord.
See: Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4