C J1 3:1-3. The present and true circumcision: in Christ. K1 3:4-14. Paul's example. J2 3:15,16. The present and perfect standard: completeness in Christ. K2 3:17-21. Paul's example. J3 4:1-8. The present walk and effect: in Christ. K3 4:9. Paul's example.
1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not irksome, but for you it is safe (see Acts 21:34).
2 Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. (People devoid of morals. Both male and female. See. Lev. 21:5. 1 Kings 18:28. Paul considers the circumcision of Judaizers as a mere ordinance, no better than a heathen one.)
3 For we are the circumcision (i.e. the true circumcision), which worship by the spirit of God (i.e. the new nature. We are of one mind. Cp. Rom. 8:9), rejoicing (or glorifying) in Christ Jesus, and have not trusting in the flesh. (Don't be a religious zealot.)
4 Though having myself confidence in the flesh also (here Paul takes the Judaizers on their own ground). If any other thinks that he has whereof he might trust in (lit. confidence in) the flesh, I more:
5 In circumcision the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of Hebrews (he refers to his parents, both Hebrews); according to the law, a Pharisee (under Gamiel);
6 Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, found blameless (i.e. before men. Cp. Acts 24:20. According to the law of man. He thought his doctrine was good, but it was not).
7 But what things were gain to me (note the 7 gains in vv.5,6)no, those I counted loss for Christ. (See Acts 27;10.)
8 Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excelling of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them to be dung, in order that I may gain Christ,
9 And be found in Him, not having any righteousness of mine, which is of the law, but that which is through Christs faith, the righteousness which is of God by faith:
10 That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings (Cp. 2 Cor. 1;5-7. 1 Pet. 4:13.), being made conformable to His death;
11 If by any means (as Acts 27:12) I might attain to the out-resurrection the one from the dead. (The term resurrection of the dead is of frequent occurrence, and includes the resurrection to life, of the just, and the resurrection to judgment, of the unjust [John 5:29. Acts 24:15. Dan. 12:2]. Resurrection from the dead implies the resurrection of some, the former of these 2 classes, the others left behind. See Luke 20:35. Acts 4:2. Paul had no doubt of the attaining to this, as may be seen from 1 Thess. 4:15-17, written some 10 years before. It is noteworthy that there is no reference to any living ones being caught up, i.e. no . "rapture")
12 Not that I already received (secured), either were already perfect: but I follow after (imitate and take in as much as you can), if that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus.
13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind (don't worry what's in the past), and reaching forth to those things which are before,
14 I press toward the mark (to investigate something with a critical eye) for the prize of the calling on high of God in Christ Jesus. (No shout, or voice of archangel or trumpet here, as in 1 Thess. 4;16.)
15 Let us therefore, as many as be perfect (mature), have this in mind: and if in any thing you be otherwise minded, God shall reveal also this to you. (Sooner or later, be patient)
16 Nevertheless, to which [point] we have already come (as in Matt. 12:28), let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.
17 Brethren, become followers together of me (stick to the Word), and mark (take aim) them which walk so as you have us for an examples.
18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often (he has warned us), and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ:
19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) (Never try to make a name for yourself.)
20 For our conversations exist even now in the heavens (the seat of government of which we are citizens, and of which we have both rights and responsibilities); from which we eagerly wait for the Savior also, the Lord Jesus Christ:
21 Who shall transform (or, change the fashion of. See Acts 8:33) our body of humiliation, that it may be [to be] conformed to the body of His glory, according to the working of His ability even to subject all things to Himself. (See Luke 11:29. 2 Thess. 3:2-18.)