1I want you to know, then, what a struggle I am having on your behalf and on behalf of those in Laodicea,and on behalf of so many others who have never seen me face to face. 2It is all to bind them together in love and to encourage their resolution until they are rich in the assuranceof their complete understanding and have knowledge of the mystery of God 3in which al the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. 4I say this to make sure that no one deceives you with specious arguments. 5I may be absent in body, but in spirit I am there among you, delighted to find how wel -ordered you areand to see how firm your faith in Christ is. 6So then, as you received Jesus as Lord and Christ, now live your lives in him, 7be rooted in him and built up on him, held firm by the faith you have been taught, and overflowing withthanksgiving. 8Make sure that no one captivates you with the empty lure of a 'philosophy' of the kind that human beingshand on, based on the principles of this world and not on Christ. 9In him, in bodily form, lives divinity in al its ful ness, 10and in him you too find your own fulfilment, in the one who is the head of every sovereignty and rulingforce. 11In him you have been circumcised, with a circumcision performed, not by human hand, but by thecomplete stripping of your natural self. This is circumcision according to Christ. 12You have been buried with him by your baptism; by which, too, you have been raised up with himthrough your belief in the power of God who raised him from the dead. 13You were dead, because you were sinners and uncircumcised in body: he has brought you to life withhim, he has forgiven us every one of our sins. 14He has wiped out the record of our debt to the Law, which stood against us; he has destroyed it bynailing it to the cross; 15and he has stripped the sovereignties and the ruling forces, and paraded them in public, behind him inhis triumphal procession. 16Then never let anyone criticise you for what you eat or drink, or about observance of annual festivals,New Moons or Sabbaths. 17These are only a shadow of what was coming: the reality is the body of Christ. 18Do not be cheated of your prize by anyone who chooses to grovel to angels and worship them, pinningevery hope on visions received, vainly puffed up by a human way of thinking; 19such a person has no connection to the Head, by which the whole body, given al that it needs andheld together by its joints and sinews, grows with the growth given by God. 20If you have really died with Christ to the principles of this world, why do you stil let rules dictate to you,as though you were still living in the world? 21-'Do not pick up this, do not eat that, do not touch the other,' 22and al about things which perish even while they are being used -- according to merely humancommandments and doctrines! 23In these rules you can indeed find what seems to be good sense -- the cultivation of the wil , and ahumility which takes no account of the body; but in fact they have no value against self-indulgence.
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