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1FINALLY, my brothers, delight yourselves in the Lord! It doesn't bore me to repeat a piece of advice like this, and you will find it a safeguard to your souls.

2Be on your guard against these curs, these wicked workmen, these wouldbe mutilators of your bodies!

3We are truly circumcised when we worship God by the Spirit; we pride ourselves in Jesus Christ and put no confidence in the flesh.

4If it were right to have such confidence, I could certainly have it, and if any of these men thinks he has grounds for such confidence I am assure him I have more.

5I was born from the people of Israel, I was circumcised on the eighth day, I was a member of the tribe of Benjamin. I was in fact a fullblooded Jew. As far as keeping the Law is concerned I was a Pharisee,

6and you can judge my enthusiasm for the Jewish faith by my active persecution of e Church. As far as the Law's righteousness is concerned, I don't think anyone could have found fault with me.

7Yet every advantage that I had gained I considered loss for Christ's sake.

8Yes, and I look upon everything as loss compared with the overwhelming gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I did in fact suffer the loss of everything, but I considered it mere garbage compared with being able to win Christ.

9For now my place is in him, and I am not dependent upon any of the selfachieved righteousness of the Law; God has given me that genuine righteousness which comes from faith in Christ.

10Now I long to know Christ and the power shown by his resurrection; now I long to share his sufferings, even to die as he died,

11so that I may somehow attain the resurrection from the dead.

12Not that I claim to have achieved all this, nor to have reached perfection already, but I keep going on, trying to grasp that purpose for which Christ Jesus grasped me.

13My brothers, I do not consider myself to have grasped it fully even now. But I do concentrate on this: I forget all that lies behind me and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal

14my reward the honour of my high calling by God in Christ Jesus.

15All of us who are spiritually adult should think like this, and if at present you think otherwise, yet you will find that God will make even this clear to you.

16It is important that we go forward in the light of such truth as we have already learned.

17My brothers I should like you all to imitate me and observe those whose lives are based on the pattern that we give you.

18For there are many, of whom I have told you before and tell you again now, even with tears, whose lives make them the enemies of the cross of Christ.

19These men are heading for utter destructiontheir god is their own appetite, they glory in their shame, and this world is the limit of their horizon.

20But we are citizens of Heaven; we eagerly wait for the saviour who will come from Heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ.

21He will change these wretched bodies of ours so that they resemble his own glorious body, by that power of his which makes him in command of everything.


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