Philippians 3 [Clear Word]
18. MINISTERIAL COMMITMENT
1 In conclusion, my brothers, I encourage you to always rejoice in the Lord. I don't mind repeating what I've said, because if you hear it again, it will safeguard you even more than before. 2 Watch out for those who are constantly needling you about getting circumcised before you can become Christians. They're as irritating as dogs who never stop barking. They're trying to convince you that you have to be cut in the flesh to be saved. That just isn't so. 3 The circumcision that counts is the circumcision of the heart, of which the outward circumcision is only a symbol. This means that we rejoice in what Jesus Christ has done for us. Our confidence is certainly not in what we can do to earn salvation. 4 If anyone could put confidence in what he has done, I certainly could. I could challenge anyone for these reasons: 5 I was circumcised an Israelite from the tribe of Benjamin when I was eight days old. I grew up and was trained in the strictest Pharisaic tradition. If there ever was a real Hebrew, I was one. I kept the Jewish laws so well that I was made a member of the Sanhedrin, the Jewish national council! 6 Sincere? Was I ever! In fact, I was so sincere that the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem entrusted me with the responsibility to rid the country of Christians. As far as keeping all other rules and regulations of the Jews is concerned, I was so thorough in what I did that I was considered blameless. 7 I once thought that all those things were extremely important and would save me, but now I know they are worthless. My hope is not in myself but in Jesus Christ. 8 Everything I did before and all the honors I received are worthless compared to the priceless treasure of having Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord. Whatever I had and did was nothing but rubbish in comparison to knowing Jesus Christ. 9 Now I have a righteousness which was given to me by Jesus Christ through faith in Him. This righteousness comes directly from God through faith, not through works. 10 Ever since I met Jesus Christ I have wanted to know Him better and to experience the renewing power of His resurrection. Yes, I'm willing to die for Him because 11 I know that somehow I will be raised from the dead just as He was. 12 I've not achieved a state of flawless perfection, but as I strive to copy Him, my fellowship with Him continues to deepen. So I keep pushing ahead, going after what Christ had in mind for me when He first got hold of me. 13 I certainly don't consider myself as having reached the divine standard of complete Christ-likeness. However, there is one thing I have done and will continue to do, and that is to forget things that are in the past 14 and to look ahead toward the spiritual goal held out to us by God who is calling us heavenward through Jesus Christ His Son. 15 Those who are spiritually mature should all participate in this race. If some of you think differently on this point, God will make things clear to you. 16 In the meantime, at whatever growth stage we find ourselves, let's keep the same objective in view that we had when we first found Christ. 17 If you don't know what that objective is, then pattern your life after mine or after those who are following me and who know what my life is like. 18 Unfortunately, there are many whose lives are contrary to the life of Christ. In that sense, they're His enemies, not His friends. I've warned you about them many times, and now with tears in my eyes, I'm warning you again because I love you and care about you. 19 They'll only end up destroying themselves. All they think about is their own stomachs, and they brag to their friends about the shameful things they do. Their concern is this present life. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly look forward to the coming of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 At that time, He will subdue all things, and by His power He will change our weak and sinful bodies to be like His sinless and glorious body.