26 So if the uncircumcised man keeps the requirements of the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? 27 And he who is physically uncircumcised, if he keeps the Law, will he not judge you who though having the letter of the Law and circumcision are a transgressor of the Law? 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. 29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God (Romans 2).
Outward — what can be seen; Inward — what is secret and hidden from sight (same word in verse 16). It is the difference between what man can see about us, and what God can see in us — and, of course, God can see what man cannot — He sees our hearts, and that is what really counts. God is more concerned about an inward removal of fleshly desires, than He is about an outward removal of skin. In the end, a purity of heart with a submissive conformity to God’s ways through a relationship with Him, is much more important than anything we could do to conform to outward submission to religious appearances of purity.
Help us This Day, Lord, to take care that we are not more concerned with how the people around you see us, than with how You see us. Let us never measure ourselves on a broken and deceptive scale of outward praises of men for our outward religious actions, but rather on the better and most accurate scale of sensing Your pleasure with our hearts for any inward purity You are working in us. Amen.