Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colos'sae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you,
because we have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love which you have for all the saints,
because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel
which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and growing--so among yourselves, from the day you heard and understood the grace of God in truth,
as you learned it from Ep'aphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on our behalf
and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
And so, from the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
to lead a life worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.
May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,
giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.
He has delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son,
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation;
for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities--all things were created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.
For in him all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
And you, who once were estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds,
he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him,
provided that you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel which you heard, which has been preached to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,
the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints.
To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ.
For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.
For I want you to know how greatly I strive for you, and for those at La-odice'a, and for all who have not seen my face,
that their hearts may be encouraged as they are knit together in love, to have all the riches of assured understanding and the knowledge of God's mystery, of Christ,
in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
I say this in order that no one may delude you with beguiling speech.
For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the firmness of your faith in Christ.
As therefore you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so live in him,
rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
See to it that no one makes a prey of you by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.
For in him the whole fulness of deity dwells bodily,
and you have come to fulness of life in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.
In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of flesh in the circumcision of Christ;
and you were buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.
And you, who were dead in trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
having canceled the bond which stood against us with its legal demands; this he set aside, nailing it to the cross.
He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in him.
Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.
These are only a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
Let no one disqualify you, insisting on self-abasement and worship of angels, taking his stand on visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind,
and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.
If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the universe, why do you live as if you still belonged to the world? Why do you submit to regulations,
"Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch"
(referring to things which all perish as they are used), according to human precepts and doctrines?
These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting rigor of devotion and self-abasement and severity to the body, but they are of no value in checking the indulgence of the flesh.
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