I want you to know how hard I am contending1 for you and for those at Laodicea,2 and for all who have not met me personally.
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My goal is that they may be encouraged in heart3 and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery4 of God, namely, Christ,
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in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.5
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I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.6
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For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit7 and delight to see how disciplined8 you are and how firm9 your faith in Christ10 is.
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So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,11 continue to live your lives in him,
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rooted12 and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,13 and overflowing with thankfulness.
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See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,14 which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world15 rather than on Christ.
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For in Christ all the fullness16 of the Deity lives in bodily form,
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and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head17 over every power and authority.18
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In him you were also circumcised19 with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your sinful nature20 was put off when you were circumcised by Christ,
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having been buried with him in baptism,21 in which you were also raised with him22 through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.23
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When you were dead in your sins24 and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive25 with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,26
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having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness,27 which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.28
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And having disarmed the powers and authorities,29 he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them30 by the cross.
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Therefore do not let anyone judge you31 by what you eat or drink,32 or with regard to a religious festival,33 a New Moon celebration34 or a Sabbath day.35
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These are a shadow of the things that were to come;36 the reality, however, is found in Christ.
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Do not let anyone who delights in false humility37 and the worship of angels disqualify you.38 Such people also go into great detail about what they have seen, and their unspiritual minds puff them up with idle notions.
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They have lost connection with the head,39 from whom the whole body,40 supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.41
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Since you died with Christ42 to the elemental spiritual forces of this world,43 why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:44
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"Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!"?
These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish45 with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.46
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Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility47 and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.
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