1 Well then, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. I am repeating this word 'rejoice' in my letter, but that does not tire me and it is the safe course for you. ??2 Beware of these dogs, these wicked workmen, the incision-party! 3 We are the true Circumcision, we who worship God in spirit, we who pride ourselves on Christ Jesus, we who rely upon no outward privilege. 4 Though I could rely on outward privilege, if I chose. Whoever thinks he can rely on that, I can outdo him. 5 I was circumcised on the eighth day after birth; I belonged to the race of Israel, to the tribe of Benjamin; I was the Hebrew son of Hebrew parents, a Pharisee as regards the Law, 6 in point of ardour a persecutor of the church, immaculate by the standard of legal righteousness.
7 But for Christ's sake I have learned to count my former gains a loss; 8 indeed I count anything a loss, compared to the supreme value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have lost everything (I count it all the veriest refuse) in order to gain Christ 9 and be found at death in him, possessing no legal righteousness of my own but the righteousness of faith in Christ, the divine righteousness that rests on faith. 10 I would know him in the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, with my nature transformed to die as he died, 11 to see if I too can attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already attained this or am already perfect, but I press forward to appropriate it, because I have been appropriated myself by Christ Jesus. 13 Brothers, I for one do not consider myself to have appropriated this; my one thought is, by forgetting what lies behind me and straining to what lies before me, 14 to press on to the goal for the prize of God's high call in Christ Jesus. 15 For all those of our number who are mature, this must be the point of view; God will reveal that to any of you who look at things differently. 16 Only, we must let our steps be guided by such truth as we have attained. 17 Copy me, brothers, one and all of you, and notice those who live by the example you get from me. 18 For many ??as I have often told you and tell you now with tears ??many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Destruction is their fate, the belly is their god, they glory in their shame, these men of earthly mind! 20 But we are a colony of heaven, and we wait for the Saviour who comes from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform the body that belongs to our low estate till it resembles the body of his Glory, by the same power that enables him to make everything subject to himself.