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2 I want you to know how hard I am contendingz for you and for those at Laodicea,a and for all who have not met me personally. My goal is that they may be encouraged in heartb and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mysteryc of God, namely, Christ, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.d I tell you this so that no one may deceive you by fine-sounding arguments.e For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spiritf and delight to see how disciplinedg you are and how firmh your faith in Christi is.

Spiritual Fullness in Christ

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord,j continue to live your lives in him, rootedk and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught,l and overflowing with thankfulness.

See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy,m which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forcesa of this worldn rather than on Christ.

For in Christ all the fullnesso of the Deity lives in bodily form, 10 and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the headp over every power and authority.q 11 In him you were also circumcisedr with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Your whole self ruled by the fleshb s was put off when you were circumcised byc Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism,t in which you were also raised with himu through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.v

13 When you were dead in your sinsw and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made youd alivex with Christ. He forgave us all our sins,y 14 having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness,z which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.a 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities,b he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over themc by the cross.e

Freedom From Human Rules

16 Therefore do not let anyone judge youd by what you eat or drink,e or with regard to a religious festival,f a New Moon celebrationg or a Sabbath day.h 17 These are a shadow of the things that were to come;i the reality, however, is found in Christ. 18 Do not let anyone who delights in false humilityj and the worship of angels disqualify you.k Such a person also goes into great detail about what they have seen; they are puffed up with idle notions by their unspiritual mind. 19 They have lost connection with the head,l from whom the whole body,m supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.n

20 Since you died with Christo to the elemental spiritual forces of this world,p why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules:q 21 “Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perishr with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.s 23 Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humilityt and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.

NIV

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