Paul and the Galatians
Paul was shocked when the news reached him in Ephesus that some Jewish Christians from Antioch had visited the Christian community he founded in Galatia and told the Galatians that they had to submit to circumcision. In a fiery letter Paul reprimanded the Galatians for even thinking about it (cf. Gal 3:1-3). Circumcision had been the mark of the covenant between God and Abraham. Paul had taught these Gentile Christians that their salvation came not from observance of Jewish law, but from faith. He told them they did not need circumcision. He explained that they belonged to Abraham and were heirs to his promise simply because they belong to Christ. It was not required in the covenant with Christ. In fact, Paul said, “If you have yourselves circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you” (Gal 5:2).