Breaking with the Past
1Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not irksome to me, and is safe for you.
2Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit,a and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh. 4Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee, 6as to zeal a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law blameless. 7But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I may gain Christ 9and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; 10that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
Pressing toward the Goal
12Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you. 16Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us. 18For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20But our commonwealth is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21who will change our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself.