Christ is more important than anything
1 Now, friends, I want to say this to you. Be happy because you are united to the Lord. It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again. And it will be safer for you. 2 Some people are teaching wrong things. They say that you must cut your bodies. They are like dangerous dogs. Be very careful that you do not believe them. 3 They are not really God's people. But we are God's people, because God himself has circumcised us. We are really his people, because we worship him by his Spirit. We thank God because of what Christ Jesus has done for us. We do not need to have marks on our bodies. We are sure that we cannot save ourselves from the results of sin.
3:3If we believe in Christ, God ‘circumcises’ us in our spirits. Our spirits are God's. We are God's people because Christ died for us. So we have something much better than a mark on our bodies. Some false teachers were saying that Christians had to cut themselves. They were saying, ‘Unless you cut yourselves, like the Jews, you cannot really be God's people.’ That is what they were teaching. So Paul is telling the Christians at Philippi that they must not believe these bad teachers.
4 I could think that I was good. I could think that I could save myself from the results of sin because of that. I have good reasons to think like that. I have better reasons to think like that than anyone else could have. 5 I belong to Israel's people, to Benjamin's family group. I am a Jew completely. They circumcised me when I was 8 days old. God's rules, that he gave to Israel's people, were very important to me. I was a Pharisee. 6 I wanted very much to be a good Jew. So I caused a lot of trouble and pain for the Christians. I obeyed all God's rules very carefully. I did everything right, as the rules said.
7 But all the things that were very important to me before are worth nothing to me now, because of Christ. 8 And it is not only those things that are worth nothing to me. Now I think that all things are worth nothing, because of Christ. The only thing that is really important to me is to know Christ Jesus, my Lord. That is the most important thing. I have lost everything for him. But all the things that I have lost are only like dirt to me. I think about them like that, so that I can have Christ. 9 I can be united to him, so that I am completely right with God. If I obeyed all God's rules completely, I could never become right with God. Only God can make me right with himself, because I believe Christ.
10 The only thing that I want is to know Christ. He rose, to become alive again, after he had died. And I want to know in myself how powerful his new life is. Also, I want to have troubles and pain, as he did. I want to become like him in his death. 11 That is how I hope to rise from death myself. I hope to become alive again after death, so that I will live with God always.
Christians do not belong to this world
12 I am not saying that I have already got all those things. I have not yet become completely as God wants me to be. I am not saying that I have become like that already. But Christ Jesus has made me his own. And it is my whole purpose to become completely what he wants me to be. I am like someone who is running strongly to reach a certain point. 13 My friends, I do not think that I have reached that point yet. But this one thing is what I do. I forget past things, which are behind me. And I try very much to reach the things that are in front of me. 14 I run straight towards that point, so that I can win God's gift. God has chosen that I should live in heaven. Then I will be united to Christ Jesus. That is his gift to me.
15 So all of us who have learned to live properly for Christ should think like this. And if you think differently about anything, God will make it clear to you. 16 But we should continue to live as we have lived until now. I mean that we must continue to obey God. We must continue to do what God wants. As far as we understand it, we must do that.
17 My friends, all of you should try to do what I do. Also, watch everyone else who, like me, obeys God. And try to do what they do. Try to be like us. 18 Many people live like enemies of Christ's death on the cross. I have told you about these people many times before. And I am crying when I tell you about them now. 19 God must destroy them. Their god is their stomach. They do bad things that should make them ashamed. But they are not ashamed. Instead, they are happy because they do those bad things. They do bad things like that. And they think that they are clever because of it. They think only about the things that belong to this world. 20 But we belong to heaven. Our home is not really in this world. We are waiting for the Lord Jesus Christ, who saves us from the results of sin, to come from heaven. We very much want him to come. 21 He will change these poor bodies that we have now on this earth. He will make our bodies like his own beautiful body in heaven. Christ can do this because he is so powerful. He is so powerful that he can rule over everything.