In conclusion, my brethren, be joyful in the Lord. For me to give you the same warnings as before is not irksome to me, while so far as you are concerned it is a safe precaution.
Beware of `the dogs,' the bad workmen, the self-mutilators.
For we are the true circumcision--we who render to God a spiritual worship and make our boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in outward ceremonies:
although I myself might have some excuse for confidence in outward ceremonies. If any one else claims a right to trust in them, far more may I:
circumcised, as I was, on the eighth day, a member of the race of Israel and of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew sprung from Hebrews; as to the Law a Pharisee;
as to zeal, a persecutor of the Church; as to the righteousness which comes through Law, blameless.
Yet all that was gain to me--for Christ's sake I have reckoned it loss.
Nay, I even reckon all things as pure loss because of the priceless privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. And for His sake I have suffered the loss of everything, and reckon it all as mere refuse, in order that I may win Christ and be found in union with Him,
not having a righteousness of my own, derived from the Law, but that which arises from faith in Christ--the righteousness which comes from God through faith.
I long to know Christ and the power which is in His resurrection, and to share in His sufferings and die even as He died;
in the hope that I may attain to the resurrection from among the dead.
I do not say that I have already won the race or have already reached perfection. But I am pressing on, striving to lay hold of the prize for which also Christ has laid hold of me.
Brethren, I do not imagine that I have yet laid hold of it. But this one thing I do--forgetting everything which is past and stretching forward to what lies in front of me,
with my eyes fixed on the goal I push on to secure the prize of God's heavenward call in Christ Jesus.
Therefore let all of us who are mature believers cherish these thoughts; and if in any respect you think differently, that also God will make clear to you.
But whatever be the point that we have already reached, let us persevere in the same course.
Brethren, vie with one another in imitating me, and carefully observe those who follow the example which we have set you.
For there are many whom I have often described to you, and I now even with tears describe them, as being enemies to the Cross of Christ.
Their end is destruction, their bellies are their God, their glory is in their shame, and their minds are devoted to earthly things.
We, however, are free citizens of Heaven, and we are waiting with longing expectation for the coming from Heaven of a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ,
who, in the exercise of the power which He has even to subject all things to Himself, will transform this body of our humiliation until it resembles His own glorious body.