1 Now, my brothers, I say be glad for what the Lord has done for you. It is not hard for me to write the same things to you over and over. And it is good for you.
2 Watch out for those teachers who are like dogs. Watch out for those teachers who do wrong things. And watch out for those teachers who want you to have the mark of a Jew cut in your bodies.
3 We have Gods Spirit and we worship God in the Spirit. So we are the people who have the mark of God. Christ Jesus is our reason for being joyful. We do not trust in having a mark cut in our bodies.
4 And yet I could trust in things about myself if I wanted to. If any other man thinks that he has something about himself to trust in, I have more things.
5 I had the mark of a Jew cut in my body when I was eight days old. I was born of the people of Israel. I belong to the family of Benjamin, so I was born a true Jew. I was a Pharisee, so I obeyed the Jewish law very carefully.
6 I was so full of my own ideas that I sent Christians to prison. But I was a good man in the way the Jewish law calls a man good.
7 But all these things that might have helped me, I call them all nothing, because of Christ.
8 Yes, I call them all nothing, because to know Christ Jesus my Lord is much better. It is for his sake that I have given them all up and call them just dirt. I have lost them but gained Christ.
9 I do it so that I will belong to him. I do not want to be called good because of the Jewish law. But I want to be made good by believing in Christ. I want to be put right with God through faith alone.
10 I want to know Christ. I want to know the power that raised him from death. I want to have a part in his trouble. I want to be like him in his death.
11 Then I hope to be raised from death.
12 I do not mean to say that I have got there yet, or that I am perfect yet. But I am trying hard to get there, because that is why Christ saved me.
13 My brothers, I do not yet think that I have got all the things of Christ. But there is one thing that I am doing. I forget what is behind me and reach out to what is ahead of me.
14 Like a man running a race, I try hard to reach the line so that I will receive the prize. Because we belong to Christ Jesus, God is calling us to receive this prize that he has for us in heaven.
15 All of us who are grown-up Christians should feel this way. And if you do not think this way, God will show you the right way.
16 But no matter how far we have gone, we must keep on going that way. And let us do it together, having the same things in mind.
17 My brothers, do as I do, all of you. Look at the people who live the way we have lived.
18 Many people live as if they hated the cross of Christ. I have often told you about them, and I tell you now with tears.
19 They will be lost for ever. Their belly is the god they worship. They boast about things they should be ashamed of. They think only about things of this world.
20 But we belong to heaven. And we are waiting for the Saviour to come from heaven. He is the Lord Jesus Christ.
21 He will change our body which was made for this world. He will make it like his own wonderful body. He will do this by his power to make all things obey him.