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1I want you to know how strenuous are my exertions for you and the Laodiceans, and for all who have never set eyes on me.

2My aim is to keep them in good heart and united in love, so that they may come to the full wealth of conviction which understanding brings, and grasp God's secret, which is Christ himself,

3in whom lie hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

4I tell you this to make sure no one talks you into error by specious arguments.

5I may be absent in body, but in spirit I am with you, and rejoice to see your unbroken ranks and the solid front which your faith in Christ presents.

True and false teaching

6THEREFORE, since you have accepted Christ Jesus as Lord, live in union with him.

7Be rooted in him, be built in him, grow strong in the faith as you were taught; let your hearts overflow with thankfulness.

8Be on your guard; let no one capture your minds with hollow and delusive speculations, based on traditions of human teaching and centred on the elemental spirits of the universe and not on Christ.

9For it is in Christ that the Godhead in all its fullness dwells embodied,

10it is in him you have been brought to fulfilment. Every power and authority in the universe is subject to him as head.

11In him also you were circumcised, not in a physical sense, but by the stripping away of the old nature, which is Christ's way of circumcision.

12For you were buried with him in baptism, and in that baptism you were also raised to life with him through your faith in the active power of God, who raised him from the dead.

13And although you were dead because of your sins and your uncircumcision, he has brought you to life with Christ. For he has forgiven us all our sins;

14he has cancelled the bond which was outstanding against us with its legal demands; he has set it aside, nailing it to the cross.

15There he disarmed the cosmic powers and authorities and made a public spectacle of them, leading them as captives in his triumphal procession.

16ALLOW no one, therefore, to take you to task about what you eat or drink, or over the observance of festival, new moon, or sabbath.

17These are no more than a shadow of what was to come; the reality is Christ's.

18You are not to be disqualified by the decision of people who go in for self-mortification and angel-worship and access to some visionary world. Such people, bursting with the futile conceit of worldly minds,

19lose their hold upon the head; yet it is from the head that the whole body, with all its joints and ligaments, has its needs supplied, and thus knit together grows according to God's design.

20Did you not die with Christ and pass beyond reach of the elemental spirits of the universe? Then why behave as though you were still living the life of the world? Why let people dictate to you:

21“Do not handle this, do not taste that, do not touch the other” --

22referring to things that must all perish as they are used? That is to follow human rules and regulations.

23Such conduct may have an air of wisdom, with its forced piety, its self-mortification, and its severity to the body; but it is of no use at all in combating sensuality.

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