Finally, my brothers, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is no trouble to me and is safe for you.
2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— 4 though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: 5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. 7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
17 Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Questions to Consider:
1. What does Paul mean by “to write the same things to you…” in verse 1?
2. Who are “those who mutilate the flesh”? (2-3) How do verse 3, Deuteronomy 30:6 and Romans 2:29 work together? What does it mean to circumcise your heart? For the Jews, circumcision was an outward sign of belonging to God. What is an outward sign that Christians belong to Christ?
3. In verses 3-11 is Paul bragging about what a holy guy he is? What point is he trying to make about salvation and sanctification in light of the comments he has made about circumcision? How does this compare with what Jesus said about exterior holiness and good works in Matthew 7:22-23? Ephesians 2:8-9? Romans 3:27-28?
4. In verses 12-16, how does Paul describe his main goal for the remainder of his life? What does it mean to “hold true to what we have attained”? (16)
5. Why does Paul tell the Philippians to imitate himself and other godly Christians? (17) Whom is he trying to warn them away from imitating? (18-19) On whom and what does Paul tell us to focus? (20-21)