Christ is more important than anything
1 Now, my Christian friends, I want to say this to you. You belong to the Lord, so be happy! It is no trouble for me to write the same things to you again. And it will help to keep you safe.
2 Be very careful! Some people are teaching bad things. They say that you must cut your bodies. They are like dangerous dogs. Do not believe them! 3 But we are truly God's people. And it is not because someone has circumcised us. It is God's own Spirit that leads us to worship God. We thank God because of what Christ Jesus has done for us. We know that it is not human ideas that can save us.
3:3If we believe in Christ, we become God's people because Christ died on our behalf. God gives us his Holy Spirit to lead us. So we have something much better than a mark on our bodies. Some false teachers were saying that Christians had to be circumcised. They said, ‘Unless you cut yourselves, like the Jewish rules teach, you cannot really be God's people.’ Paul is telling the Christians that they must not believe these bad people.
4 For myself, I could have trusted those human ideas. Perhaps somebody may think that they could trust in those things to save them. Then I would have an even better reason to trust in them. 5 I belong to Israel's people, to Benjamin's family group. I am a true Jew. They circumcised me when I was eight days old. I was a Pharisee, and I obeyed the Jewish rules very carefully. 6 I tried very much to please God. So I caused a lot of trouble and pain for the Christians. I obeyed the rules of God's Law, and nobody could say that I did anything wrong.
7 All those ideas seemed very important to me then. But now they are worth nothing to me, because I trust in Christ. 8 Yes, now that I know Christ Jesus as my Lord, that is the most valuable thing. Nothing else is important at all. I have thrown everything else away, so that I can serve Christ. All those other things are like dirt to me. I think about them like that, so that I can have Christ. 9 I want to be united with him. Because I believe in Christ, God accepts me as right with him. I know that I cannot become right in any other way, even if I obey all of God's Law. When I trust in Christ, God accepts me as right because of my faith.
10 Yes, I want to know Christ better and better. I want to know the power which God showed when Christ rose from death. I want to have the same kind of troubles that he did. I want to obey God like he did in his death. 11 Then I hope that I also will become alive again after death.