In Romans 3 and 4 we find Paul talking about faith and circumcision. God instituted this ceremony for his children, the Jews, starting with Abraham. Paul explains that circumcision was not the instrument that made Abraham holy; it was his faith that he demonstrated before hand that justified him. The act of circumcision was only an outward sign of Abraham’s faith.
Today there are those that sometimes think that the ceremonies of baptism, catechism, and confirmation make us a child of God. We sometimes get confused as to what they represent. God asks us to have the faith of Abraham. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” Romans 4:3 So, we see that faith in God is a prerequisite to our walk with him and not the ceremonies that make us holy. Without faith in God and a belief that he has a plan for our lives, we are not walking with him, but walking to the beat of our own drummer instead. One then can see that these previously mentioned ceremonies mean nothing if our hearts are not right with God.
These rituals are only representations of our faith in God, not the other way around. Ceremonies are good for they proclaim our faith, but they do not make us holy, it is our heart and our faith in God that do just that. “For we maintain that a man is justified by faith. . .” Romans 3:28