Colossians  ◦   Chapter 1

1 Paul, an ambassador of the celestial government of Jesus Christ by the will and confirmation of God, and our brother Timothy,

2 To those at Colossae who have partaken of the healing Remedy procured by Christ Jesus and have been renewed in heart and mind, and are trustworthy friends of God: God our Father pours out his healing power and peace upon you.

3 Whenever we talk about you to God–the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ–we always thank him,4 because we have heard that you truly trust Jesus and live the lives of self-sacrificing love, sharing God's healing Remedy with everyone.5 Your trust and love, which fill your hearts with hope of the good things awaiting you in heaven, reveal that you have truly internalized the healing Remedy, and this results from embracing the truth about God as revealed in Christ Jesus.6 Throughout the entire world, this good news about God is changing hearts and minds, freeing people from fear and selfishness, and resulting in healing and transformation into Christlikeness, just as it has been doing among you since you heard it and understood the incredible goodness and graciousness of God.7 You learned this truth from Epaphras, our beloved co-worker, who has been Christ's ambassador to you8 and who told us of your growth in love through the healing power of the Spirit.

9 Because of this, ever since we heard about you, we have not stopped talking to God about you and asking him to enlighten your minds with truth and with a greater knowledge of his character, methods, principles and will, thus increasing your wisdom and understanding of eternal realities.10 We ask God to do this for you so that you might experience true re-creation of Christlike character within — here and now — and live lives revealing his healing power for all to see: practicing his methods of selfless love in everything you do, growing daily in your knowledge and experience of God,11 being transformed by the power of his indwelling Spirit so that you might have unlimited patience and perseverance, and joyfully12 give thanks to the Father who has healed you so that you are able to — along with all who have been healed — live in his kingdom of light.13For he has rescued us from the dominance of selfishness and survival-of-the-fittest methods that darken the mind and lead only to death, and has brought us into the kingdom of truth, righteousness, and self-sacrificing love — the kingdom of the Son he loves 14 and through whom we have been healed and experience complete forgiveness.

15 Jesus is the physical manifestation of the invisible God–the first being to leave infinity and manifest in physical form, and the conduit from which all creation flowed.16 For he created everything: the entire universe, the heavens and all galaxies, angels and all intelligent life, things visible and invisible. All authority and power stem from him, and everything that exists was created by him.17 He existed before anything, and it is he who holds all things together.18 And among the body of believers — the church — Christ is supreme: He is the model of true perfection, the only rightful leader who by love, voluntarily sacrificed himself, destroying selfishness and death in his body on the cross, and thus is the very source of life — God’s rightful heir arisen from the dead — so that he is supreme in all things.19 For it was God's pleasure to have his entire identity, character–the fullness of his essence–live in Christ20 and through Jesus Christ to destroy the infection of selfishness in his body, to obliterate the lies of Satan, to close the breach of distrust, and to reconcile the entire universe back into unity with God by revealing God's true character and the nature of sin through Christ's voluntary self-sacrifice on the cross.

21 At one time, you were totally clueless about God's true character. Your minds were filled with lies about him, and you practiced the methods of selfishness that are at war with God's methods of love.22 But now you are God's friends, his allies, having been won over to his side by the evidence of God's true character — revealed when Christ died — so that you may be completely healed and restored into Christian perfection, without any remaining defects of character.23 This is the inevitable outcome if you continue to trust God and faithfully practice his methods in your lives, never losing hope in the good news of God as revealed by Christ. This good news about God is the truth of his character and methods, of which you have heard, and which have been revealed to all intelligent creatures throughout the universe. This is the good news to which I, Paul, have dedicated my life to proclaim.

24 I am glad and rejoice in bringing you this healing truth about God despite all the unavoidable sacrifices, and eagerly follow in Christ’s footsteps; and if necessary, I willingly suffer physical torment for the good of the body of believers–the church.25 God has given me the responsibility of working for the full healing and restoration of the church by presenting the truth about God and his plan in its fullness–26 the responsibility of making clear the mystery of God’s true nature, character, and government; the mystery that was hidden for generations by Satan’s lies about God but is now fully revealed by Christ–and all those who love Jesus see it.27 God has chosen to enlighten our minds with his secret plan: By revealing the truth of his character of love, he wins human beings back to trust in himself, restores in them perfect Christlike character, and through them, he wins more back to trust in himself (by also restoring them back into perfect Christlikeness), continuing on until our hope is fulfilled in the fullness of his glory.

28 We eagerly proclaim the truth about God as revealed in Jesus, warning everyone of the consequences of accepting lies about God, and teaching everyone the wisdom of accepting God's true character. We do this so that everyone might accept the truth about God and be restored into Christlike perfection.29 This is the goal for which I work so hard, relying upon his strength, which is the mighty source of power that enables all my success.