3 My brothers, be full of joy in the Lord. It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again, and it will help you to be more ready. 2 Be careful of those who do evil. They are like dogs. They demand to cut[a] the body. 3 But we are the ones who are truly circumcised. We worship God through his Spirit. We are proud to be in Christ Jesus. And we do not trust in ourselves or anything we can do. 4 Even if I am able to trust in myself, still I do not. If anyone thinks that he has a reason to trust in himself, he should know that I have greater reason for trusting in myself. 5 I was circumcised eight days after my birth. I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Hebrews, and my parents were Hebrews. The law of Moses was very important to me. That is why I became a Pharisee. 6 I was so enthusiastic that I tried to hurt the church. No one could find fault with the way I obeyed the law of Moses. 7 At one time all these things were important to me. But now I think those things are worth nothing because of Christ. 8 Not only those things, but I think that all things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of Christ, I have lost all those things. And now I know that all those things are worthless trash. This allows me to have Christ 9 and to belong to him. Now that I belong to Christ, I am right with God and this being right does not come from my following the law. It comes from God through faith. God uses my faith in Christ to make me right with him. 10 All I want is to know Christ and the power of his rising from death. I want to share in Christ’s sufferings and become like him in his death. 11 If I have those things, then I have hope that I myself will be raised from death.
Continuing Toward Our Goal
12 I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that. That is the reason Christ made me his. 13 Brothers, I know that I have not yet reached that goal. But there is one thing I always do: I forget the things that are past. I try as hard as I can to reach the goal that is before me. 14 I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize. That prize is mine because God called me through Christ to the life above.
15 All of us who have grown spiritually to be mature should think this way, too. And if there are things you do not agree with, God will make them clear to you. 16 But we should continue following the truth we already have.
17 Brothers, all of you should try to follow my example and to copy those who live the way we showed you. 18 Many people live like enemies of the cross of Christ. I have often told you about them, and it makes me cry to tell you about them now. 19 The way they live is leading them to destruction. Instead of serving God, they do whatever their bodies want. They do shameful things, and they are proud of it. They think only about earthly things. 20 But our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. 21 He will change our humble bodies and make them like his own glorious body. Christ can do this by his power. With that power he is able to rule all things.
3:2cut The word in Greek is like the word “circumcise,” but it means “to cut completely off.”
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