Q: I am slightly confused over the issue of circumcision in the Abrahamic covenant. Genesis 17, verse 14 says: “And the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.” I understand that circumcision is still in effect for male Jewish children under the Abrahamic covenant today. What I do not understand from the above verse is what constitutes being “cut off from his people”? Are those who are “cut off” beyond salvation (yet I know this would imply that salvation would be dependant upon a work of the flesh which is contrary to Scripture)?
A: The meaning of “to be cut off from his people” has the basic meaning of just physical death, either by execution or by divine providence. Thus Moses, who failed to circumcise his second son, was stricken with a plague on his way to Egypt and he was saved from physical death only when his wife circumcised that son (Exodus 4).
So no, it has nothing to do with an individual's salvation since salvation is not based upon works, but it is based upon the issue of physical life of retaining it or not retaining it.