3 It is time that I wrap up these thoughts to you, my brothers and sisters. Rejoice in the Lord! (I don’t mind writing these things over and over to you, as I know it keeps you safe.)
2 Watch out for the dogs—wicked workers who run in packs looking for someone to maul with their false circumcision.
Circumcision has become a flash point for the early church. Some are teaching that non-Jews have to become Jews to follow Jesus completely, including circumcision, dietary regulations, keeping weekly and annual holy days, and other Jewish practices. Since the time of Abraham, circumcision has been the mark of the covenant with Abraham’s spiritual children. Things are changing: outsiders, non-Jews, are entering into the new covenant.
Do they enter by faith alone, or is it faith plus following God’s law for Israel? Paul’s answer is clear: it is faith alone that makes Jews and outsiders right with God. So he cautions the Philippians to watch out for those who would chastise them into a false circumcision. Real followers of Jesus know that salvation doesn’t come from the blade of a knife but from His cross.
3 We are the true circumcision—those who worship God in Spirit and make our boast in Jesus the Anointed, the Liberating King—so we do not rely on what we have accomplished in the flesh.
4 If any try to throw around their pedigrees to you, remember my résumé—which is more impressive than theirs. 5 I was circumcised on the eighth day—as the law prescribes—born of the nation of Israel, descended from the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Hebrew born of Hebrews; I have observed the law according to the strict piety of the Pharisees, separate from those embracing a less rigorous kind of Judaism. 6 Zealous? Yes. I ruthlessly pursued and persecuted the church. And when it comes to the righteousness required by the law, my record is spotless.
7 But whatever I used to count as my greatest accomplishments, I’ve written them off as a loss because of the Anointed One. 8 And more so, I now realize that all I gained and thought was important was nothing but yesterday’s garbage compared to knowing the Anointed Jesus my Lord. For Him I have thrown everything aside—it’s nothing but a pile of waste—so that I may gain Him. 9 When it counts, I want to be found belonging to Him, not clinging to my own righteousness based on law, but actively relying on the faithfulness of the Anointed One. This is true righteousness, supplied by God, acquired by faith. 10 I want to know Him inside and out. I want to experience the power of His resurrection and join in His suffering, shaped by His death, 11 so that I may arrive safely at the resurrection from the dead.
The crucified and risen Jesus is the model that Paul desires to embody by walking deep in His pathway of death and life—suffering and resurrection.
12 I’m not there yet, nor have I become perfect; but I am charging on to gain anything and everything the Anointed One, Jesus, has in store for me—and nothing will stand in my way because He has grabbed me and won’t let me go. 13 Brothers and sisters, as I said, I know I have not arrived; but there’s one thing I am doing: I’m leaving my old life behind, putting everything on the line for this mission. 14 I am sprinting toward the only goal that counts: to cross the line, to win the prize, and to hear God’s call to resurrection life found exclusively in Jesus the Anointed. 15 All of us who are mature ought to think the same way about these matters. If you have a different attitude, then God will reveal this to you as well. 16 For now, let’s hold on to what we have been shown and keep in step with these teachings.
17 Imitate me, brothers and sisters, and look around to those already following the example we have set. 18 I have warned you before (and now say again through my tears) that we have many enemies—people who reject the cross of the Anointed. 19 They are ruled by their bellies, their glory comes by shame, and their minds are fixed on the things of this world. They are doomed. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, exiles on earth waiting eagerly for a Liberator, our Lord Jesus the Anointed, to come and 21 transform these humble, earthly bodies into the form of His glorious body by the same power that brings all things under His control.