I want you to know how much I have agonized for you and for the church at Laodicea, and for many other friends who have never known me personally.
My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love. I want them to have full confidence because they have complete understanding of God's secret plan, which is Christ himself.
In him lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
I am telling you this so that no one will be able to deceive you with persuasive arguments.
For though I am far away from you, my heart is with you. And I am very happy because you are living as you should and because of your strong faith in Christ.
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to him.
Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all he has done.
Don't let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, a and not from Christ.
For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, b10
and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.
When you came to Christ, you were "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure -- the cutting away of your sinful nature.
For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins.
He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross.
In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ.
So don't let anyone condemn you for what you eat or drink, or for not celebrating certain holy days or new-moon ceremonies or Sabbaths.
For these rules were only shadows of the real thing, Christ himself.
Don't let anyone condemn you by insisting on self-denial. And don't let anyone say you must worship angels, even though they say they have had visions about this. These people claim to be so humble, but their sinful minds have made them proud.
But they are not connected to Christ, the head of the body. For we are joined together in his body by his strong sinews, and we grow only as we get our nourishment and strength from God.
You have died with Christ, and he has set you free from the evil powers of this world. So why do you keep on following rules of the world, such as,
"Don't handle, don't eat, don't touch."
Such rules are mere human teaching about things that are gone as soon as we use them.
These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, humility, and severe bodily discipline. But they have no effect when it comes to conquering a person's evil thoughts and desires.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)