The Importance of Christ
1My brothers and sisters, 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. 2Watch out for those who do evil, who are like dogs, who demand to cut the body. 3We are the ones who are truly circumcised. We worship God through his Spirit, and our pride is in Christ Jesus. We do not put trust in ourselves or anything we can do, 4although I might be able to put trust in myself. If anyone thinks he has a reason to trust in himself, he should know that I have greater reason for trusting in myself. 5I was circumcised eight days after my birth. I am from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin. I am a Hebrew, and my parents were Hebrews. I had a strict view of the law, which is why I became a Pharisee. 6I was so enthusiastic I tried to hurt the church. No one could find fault with the way I obeyed the law of Moses. 7Those things were important to me, but now I think they are worth nothing because of Christ. 8Not only those things, but I think that all things are worth nothing compared with the greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. Because of him, I have lost all those things, and now I know they are worthless trash. This allows me to have Christ 9and to belong to him. Now I am right with God, not because I followed the law, but because I believed in Christ. God uses my faith to make me right with him. 10I want to know Christ and the power that raised him from the dead. I want to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death. 11Then I have hope that I myself will be raised from the dead.
Continuing Toward Our Goal
12I 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, which is the reason he made me his. 13Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, 14I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.
15All of us who are spiritually mature should think this way, too. And if there are things you do not agree with, God will make them clear to you. 16But we should continue following the truth we already have.
17Brothers and sisters, all of you should try to follow my example and to copy those who live the way we showed you. 18Many 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. 19In the end, they will be destroyed. They do whatever their bodies want, they are proud of their shameful acts, and they think only about earthly things. 20But our homeland is in heaven, and we are waiting for our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, to come from heaven. 21By his power to rule all things, he will change our humble bodies and make them like his own glorious body.