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1PAUL, a messenger of Christ Jesus by God's will, and our brother Timothy

2send this greeting to all faithful Christian brothers at Colossae: grace and peace be to you from God our Father!

3We here are constantly praying for you, and whenever we do we thank God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for you

4because we have heard that you believe in Christ Jesus and because you are showing true Christian love towards other Christians.

5We know that you are showing these qualities because you have grasped the hope reserved for you in Heaventhat hope which first became yours when you heard the message of truth. This is the gospel itself,

6which has reached you as it spreads all over the world. Wherever that gospel goes, it produces Christian character, and develops it, as it has done in your own case from the time you first heard and realised the truth of God's grace.

7You learned these things, we understand, from Epaphras, who is in the same service as we are. He is a faithful and wellloved minister of Christ, and has your wellbeing at heart.

8It was from him that we heard about your growth in Christian love,

9so you will understand that since we heard about you we have never missed you in our prayers. We are asking God that you may be filled with such wisdom and that you may understand his purpose.

10We also pray that your outward lives, which men see, may bring credit to your master's name and that you may bring joy to his heart by bearing genuine Christian fruit in all that you do, and that your knowledge of God may grow yet deeper.

11We pray that you will be strengthened from God's glorious power, so that you may be able to pass through any experience and endure it with joy.

12You will be able to thank the Father because you are privileged to share the lot of the saints who are living in the light.

13For he rescued us from the power of darkness, and reestablished us in the kingdom of his beloved Son.

14For it is by him that we have been redeemed and have had our sins forgiven.

15Now Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God. He was born before creation began,

16for it was through him that everything was made, whether heavenly or earthly, seen or unseen. Through him, and for him, also, were created power and dominion, ownership and authority. In fact, all things were created through, and for, him.

17He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation.

18And now be is the head of the Body which is the Church. He is the Beginning, the first to be born from the dead, which gives him preeminence over all things.

19It was in him that the full nature of God chose to live,

20and through him God planned to reconcile to his own person everything on earth and everything in Heaven, making peace by virtue of Christ's death on the cross.

21And you yourselves, who were strangers to God, and, in fact, through the evil things you had done, his spiritual enemies, he has now reconciled

22through the death of Christ's body on the cross, so that he might welcome you to his presence clean and pure, without blame or reproach.

23This reconciliation assumes that you maintain a firm position in the faith, and do not allow yourselves to be shifted away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which, indeed, has been proclaimed to the whole created world under heaven. I, Paul, have become a minister of this same gospel.

24It is true at this moment that I am suffering on behalf of you who have heard the gospel, yet I am glad, because it gives me a chance to contribute my own sufferings something to the uncompleted pains which Christ suffers on behalf of his Body, the Church.

25For I am a minister of the Church by divine commission, a commission granted to me for your benefit, and for a special purpose: that I might fully declare God's Word

26that sacred mystery which up till now has been hidden in every age and every generation, but which is now as clear as daylight to those who love God.

27They are those to whom God has planned to give a vision of the wonder and splendor of his secret plan for the nations. And the secret is simply this: Christ [in you!] Yes, Christ [in you] bringing with him the hope of all the glorious things to come.

28So, naturally, we proclaim Christ! We warn everyone we meet, and we teach everyone we can, all that we know about him, so we may bring every man up to his full maturity in Christ.

29This is what I am working and struggling at, with all the strength that God puts into me.

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