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Colossians  ◦   Chapter 2

1 Please understand how much my heart agonizes over you, and over those at Laodicea, and over all who have not met me in person.2 My goal is for their fear and insecurity to be replaced with confidence, and for them to be united in love and thus experience the overwhelming joy of truly understanding God's character. This understanding is the result of knowing–intimately knowing!–God's secret, Jesus Christ,3 who is the very thoughts of God made audible and visible, the true source of all wisdom and knowledge, the perfect revelation of God.4I warn you: Don’t be deceived by sophisticated arguments that diminish the full divinity of Christ, or by attempts to generate contradictions between the character of Christ and God.5 For even though I am separated from you by distance, you are very near to me in my heart, and I rejoice knowing that you are standing firm in the truth about God as revealed by Christ.

6 Now that you have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord — the true revelation of God — continue to live in union and harmony with him:7 your minds rooted deep in the truth he has revealed, your character built up by his indwelling Spirit, your resolve to do right strengthened by trust, and your hearts overflowing with thanksgiving.

8 Be sure your minds are not enslaved with lies about God–stemming from the empty traditions of paganism which require the appeasement of God, or from the world’s principle of survival-of-the-fittest which teaches that one must do something to save themself–but instead, continue to trust in God as revealed in Christ.

9 For Jesus Christ is God in human flesh. Jesus is the very nature and substance of Divinity manifested in humanity; he is the channel through which God's character, methods and principles flow into mankind,10 and through him you have been given the character of Christ who is the supreme Lord over all other powers and authorities.11 By trust in him, your hearts have been cut away from everything that destroys, so the selfish motives no longer control you. This cutting out of selfishness did not come about by human effort or by works, but by the cutting power of the truth brought by Christ.12 Having been immersed into the truth of Christ Jesus, you have been immersed into selflessness and have died to selfishness, and through trusting in the power of God who called Christ back from the dead, you are renewed with his character and principles.

13 When your condition was terminal, when selfishness reigned unchecked in your minds, and when your hearts were tied to the destructive cravings and practices of the world, God intervened and brought you the life-giving Remedy–Jesus Christ. He reclaimed you from your terminal condition,14 nullifying the pathology report that certified you as dead in sin; he made it clear that the written code, with its regulations, was only a diagnostic instrument designed to expose our terminal state and teach us the need for a true cure, and he nailed it to the cross.15 Through his death, he revealed the truth about God and–in his humanity–eradicated selfishness, thus he completely destroyed Satan’s weapons of lies and selfishness, and triumphed over Satan at the cross.

16 Therefore, don't worry about the opinions of those who promote certain rituals, foods, drinks, holy days or religious festivals as a means of being healed and being reunited with God.17 We know these are merely symbols or metaphors designed to teach the truth of God's healing plan; but the actual Remedy is found only in Christ.18 So don't be seduced by the pretentiously pious, or allow those who claim to be guided by angels to trick you into giving up the healing found only in Christ. Such people write detailed manuscripts supposedly revealed by angels, but their only inspiration has been their own self-inflated imagination filled with all types of fantasies and nonsense.19 Such individuals are not connected to Christ–the true head of the church–from whom the entire body of believers experiences healing, unity and nourishment, and grows as God has planned for it to grow.

20 So, if through trust in Christ you have died to the world's principle of survival-of-the-fittest, why act like you are still part of this world's work-to-save-yourself system? Do you think such things as21 what you touch, handle or taste can actually heal your mind or transform your heart?22 All such activities will inevitably perish, for they are completely useless in their ability to heal the mind; they are merely man-made rules (focused on human effort) and not renewal of heart that comes by trust.23 Such codes of conduct appear wise — with their required rituals and worship ceremonies, with their pompous and grand displays of supposed humility, and with their self-flagellation and other mortifications of the body — but they are completely void of any ability to free the heart and mind from the domination of selfishness and lust.