1 I want you to know how very much I am working for you and for the people at Laodicea. I am also working for all those people who have never met me. 2 I am working like this because I want all of you to become strong inside yourselves for Christ. I want you to be united because you love Christ and each other. So then you will really be rich, because you will really understand God's secret. You will be completely sure about it. You will know that secret, which is Christ. 3 Christ knows and understands everything. Only Christ can cause us to understand things properly. He can cause us to understand the really valuable things that we need to know.
4 I am telling you these things so that you will not listen to false teachers. Those teachers will try to teach you false things that may seem good. 5 My body is not there with you, but my spirit is with you. And I am happy about you. You are doing the things that Christ's people should do. Also, I am happy that you are continuing to believe Christ so strongly.
What Christ's people, who are united to Christ, should do
6 You have agreed that Christ Jesus should be your Lord. And you have become united to him. So, you must continue to do the things that Christ's people ought to do. 7 You must be like trees that have their roots deep in Christ. Continue to obey Christ, so that you become stronger and stronger as Christians. You must believe more and more strongly the things that we taught you. And you should always thank God very much for everything.
2:7Roots are the parts of a plant that grow under the ground. They help to hold the plant up. They also supply water and other good things from under the ground that help the plant to grow well. When Christians are really united to Christ, he will supply everything for them. He will supply everything that they need. So, like trees that have their roots deep under good ground, they will become stronger and stronger.
8 Some people may try to teach you false ideas. Be careful that you do not believe them. Those ideas may seem clever, but they will take you away from God. Those ideas are the result of things that people have taught for many years. But those ideas belong to this world. They do not come from Christ. 9 The whole of God himself lives in Christ, in his human body. 10 And because you are united to Christ, God has filled you. He has given you everything that you need in Christ. And Christ rules over all spirits that have authority.
11 Also, because you are united to Christ, God has circumcised you. No human person used his hands to circumcise you. Instead, Christ has made you free from your old nature which ruled you. 12 By baptism, God has buried you with Christ. And then he has raised you with Christ, so that you have become alive again with him. God raised you because you believe him. You believe that he is very powerful. And you believe that he raised Christ. He made him alive again after he had died.
2:11Paul says that Christians have something better than a mark on their bodies. They are God's people because Christ died to save them. God has circumcised them in their spirits, not in their bodies. He has ‘cut off’ their old nature. Their spirits now belong to God. Because of Christ, we can really be separate from everything that is bad. Those bad things no longer rule our lives.
2:12Baptism is like a picture of what God does in our spirits. It means ‘to put a person or a thing completely into something else (for example, into water)’. When God ‘baptises’ us into Christ, he ‘puts us into’ Christ. He makes us completely united with Christ in our spirits. So, in our spirits, we die with Christ and then we rise again, to live with him. So we have a new nature, a new life, because of Christ. See also Romans 6:1-4.
13 At one time, you were like dead people because of all the wrong things that you did. Nobody had circumcised you in your bodies. And God had not circumcised you in your spirits. But now God has caused you to become alive with Christ. God has forgiven us for all the wrong things that we have done. 14 He has chosen to forget that we have not obeyed all his rules. He has taken away the list of all the wrong things that we have done. He should have punished us because of that list. But instead, it is like he fixed that list to Christ's cross. So, he destroyed that list. 15 On the cross, Christ won the fight against all the bad spirits that have authority. He beat them completely. He took all their weapons away from them. He showed everyone that he is the ruler over all these other powerful spirits.
Christ's people should not obey men's ideas
16 So do not let anybody else say what is right for you to eat or to drink. Do not let anybody make rules about special days, about new moons, or about the Jewish days for rest. 17 Rules like that are only like shadows. In past times, they showed people about the good things that would happen. But those good things really have happened now because of Christ.
18 Some people may say that God has shown them special things. They may tell you that you should do certain things to your bodies to become better people. They may tell you that you should worship angels. But you must not believe those false things. If you listen to them, you may lose something really important. People like that may think that they know a lot of things. But they are only thinking men's ideas. They do not understand how God thinks. 19 False teachers like that do not agree to be united to Christ. They do not obey Christ, who is the head of his body. His people are like a body. Christ holds the whole body together. Through the parts that join the body together, Christ supplies the body. He supplies what the body needs. And so, the body grows, because God causes it to grow.
20 You have died with Christ. So you do not have to obey the rules that belong to this world. You do not belong to this world now. So you should not still obey its rules! You do not need to obey rules like this: 21 ‘Do not touch this thing! Do not taste that food! Keep away from that thing!’ 22 Rules like that are only about things that will finish. Those things are like things that people use. But they are destroying those things while they are using them. Rules like that are only rules that people teach. 23 Rules like that may seem to be clever people's rules. They try to cause people to worship in certain ways. They cause people to hurt themselves, so that they can rule their bodies. So those people seem to be obeying God. But really, they are not obeying him. Those rules cannot really help people to rule what their bodies want. Those rules are not really worth anything. By those rules people can still do all the bad things that they want to do.