[WRITTEN FROM ROME, A. D. 62.]
I.--PAUL, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, by the will of God, and Timothy the brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, who are at Colosse: Favor to you, and peace from God our Father.
3.--We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ always, when we pray for you; having heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which you have to all the saints;--for the hope which is laid up for you in the heavens, of which you have formerly heard in the word of the truth of the gospel, which is present among you, as it is also in all the world, and is bringing forth fruit and prevailing, even as among you, from the day you heard and knew the favor of God in truth;--even as you learned it of Epaphras, our beloved fellow-servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ, who has also declared to us your love in spirit. For this reason we also, from the day we heard these things, do not cease to pray for you, and to request that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;--that you may walk worthy of the Lord to all pleasing, bringing forth fruit by every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all strength, according to his glorious power, to all patience and long-suffering with joy: giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us for a portion of the inheritance of the saints in the light; who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has trnaslated us into the kingdom of his beloved Son: by whom we have redemption, even the remission of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of the whole creation. Because by him were created all things which are in the hevens, and which are on th earth; things visible, and things invisible; whether thrones, or lordships, or governments, or powers; all things were created by him and for him. And he is before all things; and by him all thins consist. And he is the head of the body, even the congregation. He is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all respects he might be pre-eminent. For it pleased the Father, that all the fulness should dwell in him; and by him to reconcile all things to himself, having made peace by the blood of his cross; I say, by him, whether they be things on the earth, or things in the hevens. Even you, who were formerly alienated in mind, and enemies by wicked works, he has now, indeed, reconciled by the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable, and unreprovable, in his sight; if, indeed, you continue in the faith founded and stable, and not removed from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature which is under heaven; of which I, Paul, am made a minister. I now rejoice in sufferings for you, and fill up the remainder of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh, for his body, which is the congregation; of which I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God, which was given to me on your account, fully to declare the word of God,--the secret which had been kept hid from the ages, and from the generations, but now has been made manifest to his saints; to whom God has pleased to make known what is the riches of the glory of this secret among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: whom we announce, admonishing every man, and teaching every man, with all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ. For which I also labor, combatting vigorously, according to the effectual working of him, who works effectually in me with power.
II.--Wherefore, I wish you to know how great a combat I have for you, and for them in Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that being compacted together in love, their hearts may be comfoted, even by all the riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the secret of God, in whom are laid up all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Now this I say, that no one may deceive you with plausible speech. For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in the spirit, rejoicing and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Now as you have received Christ Jesus the Lrod, walk in him; rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, even as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest any one make a prey of you through an empty and deceitful philosophy,--according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ. For all the fulness of the Deity resides substantially in him. And you are complete in him, who is the head of all government and power. by whom, also, you hve been circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in the putting off of the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ; having been buried with him in immersion, by which also you have been raised with him, throught the belief of the strong working of God, who raised him from the dead. For you, who were dead on account of trespasses, and by the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses:--having blotted out the hand-writing of the ordinances concerning us, which was contrary to us, he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross:--having spoiled governments and powers, he made a show of them openly, having triumphed over them by it. Let no one, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of a festival, or of a new moon, or of sabbaths; which are a shadow of the things which were to come, but the substance is of Christ. Let no one beguile you of your reward,--delighting in humility, and the worship of messengers, intruding into things which he has not sen, being without cause puffed up by his own carnal mind: and not holding firmly the head, by whom the whole body, through the joints and ligaments, being served and compacted, increases with the increase of God.
20.--Now, if you have died with Christ from the elements of the world, why, as living in the world, are you subject to ordinances, after the commandments and docrines of men; who say, Touch not, taste not, handle not, (which are all to perish with the using;) which things have, indeed, a show of wisdom in will-worship, and humility, and not sparing of the body--without any respect to the gratification of the flesh.
III.--If, then, you have been raised with Christ, seek the things which are above, where Christ sits at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above; not on things on the earth. For you are dead; but your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ our life shall appear, then you shall also appear with him in glory. Mortify, therefore, your members which are on the earth: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and licentiousness, which is idolatry; for which things the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience: in which you also formerly walked, when you lived with them. But now also put away all thse, anger, wrath, malice, defamation, obscene discourse, from your mouth. Lie not one to another, having put off the old man, with his practics; and having put on the new, who is renewed by knowledge, after the image of him who created him;--where thereis neither Greek nor Jew; circumcision nor uncircumcision; barbarian, Scythian; bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on, therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of compassion, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long suffering. Bear with one another, and forgive ech other, if any one have a complaint against any one: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. And over all these put on love, which is a bond of perfection. And let the peace of God rule in your herts; to which also you are called in one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; and with all wisdom teach and admonish each other, by psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs; singing with gratitude in your hearts to the Lord. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, even the Father, through him. Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord. Husbands, love your wives, and be not bitter against them. Children, obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing to the Lord.--Fathers, do not exasperate your children, lest they be discouraged. Servants, obey in all things you masters according to the flesh; not with eye-services, as men-pleasers, but with integrity of heart, as fearing God. And whatever you do,m work it from the soul, as to the Lord, and not to men: knowing that from the Lord you shall receive the recompense of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. But he who does unjustly, shall receive for the injustice he has done: for there is no respect of persons.
IV.Masters, afford to your servants what is just and equal, knowing that you also have a Master in the heavens.
2.--Continue instant in prayer, watching in it with thanksgiving; at the same time also praying for us, that God would open to us a door of utterance to speak the secret of Christ, for which, indeed, I am in bonds; that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom towards them who are without, gaining time. Let your speech be always with gracefulness, seasoned with salt, knowing how you ought to answer every one. All things concerning me, Tychicus, a beloved brother, and faithful minister, and fellow-servant in the Lord, will make known to you; whom I have sent to you for this very purpsoe, that he may know your affairs, and comfort your hearts: with Onesimus, a faithful and beloved brother, who is from you. They will make known to you all things which are done here. Aristarchus, my fellow-prisoner, salutes you; and Mark, the nephew of Barnabas, concerning whom you got orders: if he come to you, receive him;--and Jesus, who is called Justus; who are of the circumcision. Thse alone are laborers with me for the kingdom of God, who have been a consolation to me. Epaphras, who came from you, a servant of Christ, salutes you; at all tims fervently striving for you by prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in the whole will of God. For I bear him witness, that he has much affection for you, and for them in Laodicea; and Nymphas, and the congregation in his house. And when this epistle has been read to you, cause that it be read also in the congregation of the Laodiceans; and that you also read the one from Laodicea. And say to Archippus, Take heed to the ministry, which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfil it.
18.--The salutation of Paul, with my own hand. Remember my bonds. Favor be with you.
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