v1 - Does reading the Bible and going to church often seem like you're hearing/reading the same thing over and over and over?
That's because you are!
But you need this repetition.
Paul indicates that he's written these same things before,
but reading them again is a 'safeguard' for us.
Reading the Bible and going to church is sort of like eating:
You don't just eat something once and then consider yourself nourished for a year, rather you eat a steady diet regularly.
You need to hear God's Word over and over and over, just like you need to eat over and over and over.
v2-9 - It seems like every other chapter in the New Testament says something about circumcision, which just seems really bizarre to our ears. In v2 Paul calls those who circumcise people 'mutilators,' but then he says we - Christians - are the circumcised. This whole thing seems really confusing and kind of gross. Here's the thing to remember: From the time of Moses, God's people were those who kept the Old Testament law, and circumcision was primary indicator which sealed a man's (and subsequently his family's) inclusion in God's plan of salvation. But since Christ fulfilled all of the law's requirements, God's people no longer need to jump through all of its hoops.
The problem is that this system was so ingrained in Jewish minds that they couldn't let go of it - even the Jews who believed in Christ. They wanted the new Gentile converts to have to jump through the same hoops they had to.
It's not just the Jews though...
we all have a desire to want to point to things we've done (hoop jumping) to earn salvation rather than fully trusting in Christ (v4).
Paul demonstrates how he was the king of all hoop-jumpers,
until he discovered the "surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord (v8)."
After discovering Jesus, Paul realized his own efforts, as impressive as they were to other people, were garbage.
v10-14 - I