In Matthew 3:8-9, a group of Pharisees and Saducees came down to the Jordan to be baptized by John. John rebukes them saying, “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘we have Abraham as our father,’ for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham.” God told Abraham that He would make of him a great nation–Israel. The Jews took great pride in that fact that they were the offspring of Abraham, the chosen people of God. However, the Jews went too far in their pride, believing that they were justified before God simply because of their lineage, not because of their love and obedience to God.
Jesus challenged this thinking in John 8:39 where He said, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would be doing the works Abraham did.” Simply being a descendent was not enough, they had to act like Abraham as well. In Colossians 2:11, Paul says that we have a circumcision made without hands; a circumcision of the heart, which is baptism. Just like the Jews in Jesus’ time, I believe that there are some christians today that believe that they are justified because they are members of the church who have been spiritually circumcised (baptized), but don’t seek to live like their Father (God). Their confidence is in who they are, not whose they are.
I think we need to keep what Paul said in Romans 2:28-29 in mind– “for no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” Salvation isn’t about what we do, but what God has done for us.