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. Chapter 3.

The True Righteousness

1 And now, friends, farewell; I wish you joy in the Lord.

To REPEAT what I have written to you before is no trouble to me, and it is a safeguard for you. 2 Beware of those dogs and their malpractices. Beware of those who insist on mutilation—'circumcision' I will not call it; 3 we are the circumcised, we whose worship is spiritual, [Some witnesses read: who worship God in the spirit; Others read: who worship by the Spirit of God.] whose pride is in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in anything external. 4 Not that I am without grounds myself even for confidence of that kind. If anyone thinks to base his claims on externals, 5 I could make a stronger case for myself: circumcised on my eighth day, Israelite by race, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born and bred; [Or: a Hebrew-speaking Jew of a Hebrew-speaking family.] in my attitude to the law, a Pharisee; 6 in pious zeal, a persecutor of the church; in legal rectitude, faultless. 7 But all such assets I have written off because of Christ. 8 I would say more: I count everything sheer loss, because all is far out-weighed by the gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I did in fact lose everything. I count it so much garbage, [Or: dung.] for the sake of gaining Christ 9 and finding myself incorporate in him, with no righteousness of my own, no legal rectitude, but the righteousness which comes [Or: and in him finding that, though I have righteousness of my own, no legal rectitude, I have the righteousness which comes ...] from faith in Christ, given by God in response to faith. 10 All I care for is to know Christ, to experience the power of his resurrection, and to share his sufferings, in growing conformity with his death, 11 if only I may finally arrive at the resurrection from the dead.

Pressing toward the Mark

12 It is not to be thought that I have already achieved all this. I have not yet reached perfection, but I press on, hoping to take hold of that for which Christ once took hold of me. 13 My friends, I do not reckon myself to have got hold of it yet. All I can say is this: forgetting what is behind me, and reaching out for that which lies ahead, 14 I press towards the goal to win the prize which is God's call to the life above, in Christ Jesus.

15 Let us then keep to this way of thinking, those of us who are mature. If there is any point on which you think differently, this also God will make plain to you. 16 Only let our conduct be consistent with the level we have already reached.

17 Agree together, my friends, to follow my example. You have us for a model; watch those whose way of life conforms to it. 18 For, as I have often told you, and now tell you with tears in my eyes, there are many whose way of life makes them enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are heading for destruction, appetite is their god, and they glory in their shame. Their minds are set on earthly things. 20 We, by contrast, are citizens of heaven, and from heaven we expect our deliverer to come, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transfigure the body belonging to our humble state, and give it a form like that of his own resplendent body, by the very power which enables him to make all things subject to himself.

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