What is the church? And what can we liken it to in Genesis 17?
"And God said to Abraham, “Now as for you, you must keep my covenant, you and your offspring after you, throughout their generations. This is my covenant which you shall keep, between me and you, and also with your offspring after you: Every male among you shall be circumcised. And you shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you."
A sign of the covenant. A sign no one except your wife may see. Not much of a sign. A cutting. Bloody. Male. A removal of something unnecessary between a man and his wife. Personal. Intimate. Yet it was there to distinguish God's chosen people from the rest of the world.
And as most signs back then, had nothing to do with the flesh which was actually cut. It points ahead, it points inward, a change of heart which can only be recognized by our actions; it points outward, forward, toward the Bridegroom who shed his blood for obedience, for his Bride: the Church...
"And now, Israel, what is Yahweh your God asking from you, except to revere Yahweh your God, to go in all his ways and to love him and to serve Yahweh your God with all your heart and with all your soul, to keep the commandments of Yahweh and his statutes that I am commanding you today for your own good. Look! For to Yahweh your God belong heaven and the highest heavens, the earth and all that is in it. Yet to your ancestors Yahweh was very attached, so as to love them, and so he chose their offspring after them, namely you, from all the peoples, as it is today. So you shall circumcise the foreskin of your heart, and do not be stubborn." Deut 10
"For the Jew is not one outwardly, nor is circumcision outwardly, in the flesh. But the Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter, whose praise is not from people but from God." Romans 2