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Holy Scripture provides proof that the apostle Paul observes and preaches the commandment of circumcision in Galatians 5:11;
And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.
Galatians 5:11 KJV
Here, Scripture confirms that the apostle Paul preached circumcision with this faith whilst on earth.
With this, Scripture also confirms that though the apostle diligently upholds the law (Rom 3:31), by living in complete observance of it (Acts 21:24, Acts 28:17), he still suffered persecution though and this persecution was because of, and is known as ‘…the offence of the cross…’ (Galatians 5:11 KJV).
So, what is the ‘offence of the cross’?
The offence of the cross is summarised plainly in Romans 3:28.
The offence of the cross that the apostle was being persecuted for is this; ‘justification by faith apart from works of Torah law, and with this understanding and approach; one gets circumcised.’;
‘For we hold that one is justified by faith apart from works of the law….
Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law.‘
(Romans 3:28, 3:31 ESV)
A person can be justified by faith, and faith alone; by believing in the risen Christ (Messiah). One then upholds the commandments.
An Example of Righteousness by Faith
Being accounted righteous by faith, is something we can see in the example of faithful Abraham;
Abraham was accounted righteousness by faith, while he was uncircumcised in Genesis 15;
And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness.
Genesis 15:6 ESV
Later we read that Abraham got circumcised in an effort to keep God’s commandments;
Abraham and his son Ishmael were circumcised on the same day.
Genesis 17:26 ESV
‘…Abraham obeyed my voice and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.”’
(Genesis 26:5 ESV)
This formula and example of Abraham are expounded upon in Romans 4:11.
The ‘offence of the cross’ thus follows this formula, a person is justified (accounted righteous) by faith alone; by believing in the risen Christ (Messiah). With this faith, a believer upholds God’s commandments.
Christ’s resurrection is a fulfilling of the law and the prophets as per Holy Scripture (e.g. Deut 18:18-19, Isaiah 28:16, Eph 2:20, John 3:16) – it’s the good news.
This news however may sadly be offensive, intolerable, or deemed as strange talk in the ears of a person who currently does not believe the truth – and it is this good news (the gospel) that the apostle Paul suffered persecution for, and this persecution is referred to as ‘…the offence of the cross…’ (Galatians 5:11 KJV).
For reference, an excerpt from the Torah with regard to the commandment of circumcision can be found in Genesis 17:10-14.
May the Holy G-d bless you, believing in His risen Son the risen Lord Jesus Christ (Adonai Yehoshua HaMoshiach). Omayn (Amen).