God’s Treasures in Jesus Christ
(1) I want you to know how hard I am struggling for you and for those believers in Laodicea (one of the seven churches of Revelation; see Revelation 3:14-22), and for everyone I have not met in person.
(2) My goal is that your hearts will be encouraged (strengthened) and united in love, so that you will experience the abundant treasures of complete understanding, in order that you will know the mystery (deep truth) of God, who is Christ. (3) For in Christ are hidden (concealed) all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (4) I write to you about this so that no one will deceive you with fine-sounding (persuasive) arguments. (5) For although I am not with you in person, I am with you in spirit and rejoice to see how disciplined you are and how strong your faith in Christ is.
A Warning About False Teaching
(6) So then, just as you received Jesus Christ as Lord, continue to live your lives in him—(7) rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and abounding with thankfulness!
(8) Be careful that no one takes you captive through empty (foolish) and deceptive philosophy (in the biblical world, a philosophy was wide-ranging and could refer to anything from the occult to teachings of Jewish sects, and Greek philosophers) which depends on human tradition and the basic spiritual forces (religious principles, demonic powers) of this world rather than on Christ!
God Made You Alive in Jesus Christ
(9) For in Christ all the fullness of deity (divine nature) dwells in a human body (the incarnation of Jesus Christ: fully God and fully human), (10) and you have been filled in Christ—who is the ruler (head) over every power and authority.
(11) You were circumcised in Christ with a circumcision that was not performed by human hands, but by the putting off of your whole sinful nature (the body of the flesh). (12) By the circumcision of Christ you were buried with him in water-baptism and raised up with him through your faith in the powerful working of God, who raised Jesus from the dead.
(13) God made you alive with Christ when you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature (flesh). He forgave us all our sins (14) by canceling the record of debt that was written against us, with its legal demands. He took away all the demands of the law by nailing them to the cross. (15) And by disarming the demonic powers and authorities, God has publicly shamed them by triumphing over them by the cross.
Stay True to Jesus Christ
(16) Therefore do not allow anyone to judge you by what you eat and drink, or concerning a religious festival, a New Moon celebration, or a Sabbath day. (17) All these things are a shadow of the things to come, but the reality (substance) is found only in Jesus Christ. (18) Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels rob you of your reward. These people talk in great detail about what they see in visions; their unspiritual minds are full of pride and idle ideas. (19) They have lost their connection (relationship) with the true ruler (head) Jesus Christ, from whom the whole church body is held together by its joints and ligaments and grows as God causes for it to grow.
(20) Since you have died with Christ to the basic spiritual forces (religious principles, demonic powers) of this world, why are you now following earthly rules as though you still belonged to it? (21) You are following man-made rules: “Do not handle!” “Do not taste!” “Do not touch!” (22) All these rules—things which are destined to perish with use—are based on merely human commands and teachings. (23) These human regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom—with their self-made religion (worship), their false humility, and their harsh treatment of the body—but they have no value in restraining the indulgence (gratification) of the sinful nature (flesh).