New International Version
2 Watch out for those dogs, those evildoers, those mutilators of the flesh. 3 For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh – 4 though I myself have reasons for such confidence.
If someone else thinks they have reasons to put 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; in regard to the law, a Pharisee; 6 as for zeal, persecuting the church; as for righteousness based on the law, faultless.
Having drawn attention to and praised so many of his co-workers Paul suddenly changes tack (many scholars think 3:2-4:1 was a separate letter which was later incorporated into the first letter) and after a strange warning about dogs, evil workers and those who mutilate the flesh, focuses on his own story of the ‘life in the flesh’ as Saul, up to the moment on the road to Damascus when he was struck blind. His own background passed all the tests that might be brought to meet strict Jewish requirements, including circumcision or ‘mutilation of the flesh’, but in which, following that Damascus road experience, he realises is meaningless as it is all mere outward show, and pointless if the inner truth isn’t there.
I doubt any of us would have such a perfect CV as Saul, but I am confident that we do all know with Paul that it is the inner ‘me’ and our commitment to Christ that is much more important than any worldly CV, perfect or otherwise.
Thank you, Father, that you have given us a much simpler – and less physically painful – way to salvation, as we place our belief and trust in you, and help us to help others to know that too.