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,