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2:1  I want you to know how much I struggle for you, for those in Laodicea, and for all who haven’t known me personally.
2:2  My goal is that their hearts would be encouraged and united together in love so that they might have all the riches of assurance that come with understanding, so that they might have the knowledge of the secret plan of God, namely Christ.
2:3  All the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him.
2:4  I’m telling you this so that no one deceives you with convincing arguments,
2:5  because even though I am absent physically, I’m with you in spirit. I’m happy to see the discipline and stability of your faith in Christ.
2:6  So live in Christ Jesus the Lord in the same way as you received him.
2:7  Be rooted and built up in him, be established in faith, and overflow with thanksgiving just as you were taught.
2:8  See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ.
2:9  All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body.
2:10  And you have been filled by him, who is the head of every ruler and authority.
2:11  In him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not administered by human hands. The circumcision of Christ is realized in the stripping away of the whole self dominated by sin.
2:12  You were buried with him through baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead.
2:13  When you were dead because of the things you had done wrong and because your body wasn’t circumcised, God made you alive with Christ and forgave all the things you had done wrong.
2:14  He destroyed the record of the debt we owed, with its requirements that worked against us. He canceled it by nailing it to the cross.
2:15  When he disarmed the rulers and authorities, he exposed them to public disgrace by leading them in a triumphal parade.
2:16  So don’t let anyone judge you about eating or drinking or about a festival, a new moon observance, or sabbaths.
2:17  These religious practices are only a shadow of what was coming—the body that cast the shadow is Christ.
2:18  Don’t let anyone who wants to practice harsh self-denial and worship angels rob you of the prize. They go into detail about what they have seen in visions and have become unjustifiably arrogant by their selfish way of thinking.
2:19  They don’t stay connected to the head. The head nourishes and supports the whole body through the joints and ligaments, so the body grows with a growth that is from God.
2:20  If you died with Christ to the way the world thinks and acts, why do you submit to rules and regulations as though you were living in the world?
2:21  “Don’t handle!” “Don’t taste!” “Don’t touch!”
2:22  All these things cease to exist when they are used. Such rules are human commandments and teachings.
2:23  They look like they are wise with this self-made religion and their self-denial by the harsh treatment of the body, but they are no help against indulging in selfish immoral behavior.