Some people teach things that are not true
The next thing I want to tell you, friends, is this. You belong to our leader, Jesus, so keep thinking about him and be happy all the time. Yes, I told you all these things before, and I am telling you again. I don’t get tired of telling you, and this message will stop you going the wrong way.
2-3 Look out. There are some men that want to teach you the wrong things and get you to go the wrong way. They are like dogs. They go wrong. They only want to cut men’s bodies. They say that you don’t belong to God unless you do what the Jewish law says and have a young man’s operation. They are wrong. We have God’s spirit in us and he leads us the right way. We know what Jesus Christ did for us, and we trust him. We don’t trust people, or anything that people want to do. So really, we are the ones that belong to God. Those that only follow that Jewish law don’t belong to him.
Know Jesus properly, this is most important
4-5 Look at me. I’m more Jewish than they are. I was born into the Israel nation, and I belong to the Benjamin tribe. They did that young man’s operation on me when I was 8 days old, just like the Jewish law says. When I grew up, I joined the Pharisee mob that are really strong for the Jewish law. I’m properly Jewish. I really wanted to make God happy, but I followed the Jewish way, and I made a lot of trouble for Christians. And I was strong for the Jewish laws. Nobody could say that I broke any of them. I used to think that if I lived that way God will like me. But then I found out the true message about Jesus, and I knew that I was wrong. Those things didn’t help at all. Now that I know Jesus Christ properly I reckon all those things are useless. Yes, everything else is useless. The only important one is Jesus Christ. I know him, and he is my leader. He is really dear to me now. I have left every other way and I follow him. I reckon all those other things are rubbish and I have chucked them away, so that I can join up with Jesus Christ, and belong to him properly. I have stopped trying to follow that Jewish law to get God to say that I’m all right. Instead of that I trust in Jesus Christ, and that is why God will say that I’m all right. 10 And I really want to know Jesus Christ properly. I want to have the same power that God used to make him alive again. And I want to share my life with him, even though this will give me a lot of pain, just like he got a lot of pain. That’s all right. I will even let his enemies kill me, like they killed him, 11 so that later, in the same way, God will make me alive again.
Try hard to be like Jesus
12 I’m not saying that I have already done all this. I’m not saying that I’m properly good now. But, you see, Jesus Christ picked me to be one of his people, so I’m trying hard to be the sort of person that he wants me to be. 13 You see, friends, I don’t reckon I’m all that good yet, but I keep looking ahead. I’m like a man running in a race. I forget what I did in the past and I think about what God wants me to do later. 14 I keep trying to be like Jesus, so that God will take me up into heaven to properly join up with him. This will be my prize.
15 And all of us have to think like this if we are spiritually strong now and live properly for Jesus. But if you think differently about anything, God will help you and show you which way is right. 16 This is the main thing for all of us. We started to learn about the way God wants us to live, so we have to keep on living his way and keep doing the things he has taught us to do. Don’t go back.
Paul showed us the right way to live
17 My friends, you know how I live, so you all have to try to live the same way. And look around at each other, and see the way you all live. Notice those people that live the same way as I live, and you do the same. 18 You see, there are a lot of people that don’t live the right way. I have often told you this before, and now I’m telling you the same thing again. When I think about it, I get so sad that I cry. There are people that reckon they are Christians, but they are really enemies of Jesus Christ. They live in a way that shows they are against the good things that Jesus died for on the cross. 19 They don’t listen to God but they listen to their own bodies, and do bad things so that their bodies feel good. They do those bad things but they aren’t ashamed. Instead, they think they are smart. They only think about the things that belong to this world. And in the end God will kill them in hell.
20 But we belong to heaven. That is our real home. We are waiting for our leader, Jesus Christ, to come back from heaven. He is the one that saves us, and we really want him to come back. 21 He will change these weak bodies that we have now, and make them into new bodies. They will be like the wonderful body that he has now. Jesus can do this because he is really powerful. He is so powerful that he can be the boss over everything.