3 So then, my dear family, it comes down to this: celebrate in the Lord! It’s no trouble for me to write the same things to you, and it’s safe for you.
2 Watch out for the dogs! Watch out for the ‘bad works’ people! Watch out for the ‘incision’ party, that is, the mutilators! 3 We are the ‘circumcision’, you see – we who worship God by the spirit, and boast in King Jesus, and refuse to trust in the flesh.
4 Mind you, I’ve got good reason to trust in the flesh. If anyone else thinks they have reason to trust in the flesh, I’ve got more. 5 Circumcised? On the eighth day. Race? Israelite. Tribe? Benjamin. Descent? Hebrew through and through. Torah-observance? A Pharisee. 6 Zealous? I persecuted the church! Official status under the law? Blameless.
Gaining the Messiah
7 Does that sound as though my account was well in credit? Well, maybe; but whatever I had written in on the profit side, I calculated it instead as a loss – because of the Messiah. 8 Yes, I know that’s weird, but there’s more: I calculate everything as a loss, because knowing King Jesus as my Lord is worth far more than everything else put together! In fact, because of the Messiah I’ve suffered the loss of everything, and I now calculate it as trash, so that my profit may be the Messiah, 9 and that I may be discovered in him, not having my own covenant status defined by Torah, but the status which comes through the Messiah’s faithfulness: the covenant status from God which is given to faith. 10 This means knowing him, knowing the power of his resurrection, and knowing the partnership of his sufferings. It means sharing the form and pattern of his death, 11 so that somehow I may arrive at the final resurrection from the dead.
Chasing on to the Finish
12 I’m not implying that I’ve already received ‘resurrection’, or that I’ve already become complete and mature! No; I’m hurrying on, eager to overtake it, because King Jesus has overtaken me. 13 My dear family, I don’t reckon that I have yet overtaken it. But this is my one aim: to forget everything that’s behind, and to strain every nerve to go after what’s ahead. 14 I mean to chase on towards the finishing post, where the prize waiting for me is the upward call of God in King Jesus.
15 Those of us who are mature should think like this! If you think differently about it, God will reveal this to you as well. 16 Only let’s be sure to keep in line with the position we have reached.
Citizens of Heaven
17 So, my dear family, I want you, all together, to watch what I do and copy me. You’ve got us as a pattern of behaviour; pay careful attention to people who follow it.
18 You see, there are several people who behave as enemies of the cross of the Messiah. I told you about them often enough, and now I’m weeping as I say it again. 19 They are on the road to destruction; their stomach is their god, and they find glory in their own shame. All they ever think about is what’s on the earth.
20 We are citizens of heaven, you see, and we’re eagerly waiting for the saviour, the Lord, King Jesus, who is going to come from there. 21 Our present body is a shabby old thing, but he’s going to transform it so that it’s just like his glorious body. And he’s going to do this by the power which makes him able to bring everything into line under his authority.
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