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15 Christ is exactly like God,
    who cannot be seen.
He is the first-born Son,
    superior to all creation.
16 Everything was created by him,
everything in heaven
    and on earth,
everything seen and unseen,
including all forces
    and powers,
and all rulers
    and authorities.
All things were created
    by God’s Son,
and everything was made
    for him.

17 God’s Son was before all else,
and by him everything
    is held together.
18 He is the head of his body,
    which is the church.
He is the very beginning,
the first to be raised
    from death,
so that he would be
    above all others.

19 God himself was pleased
    to live fully in his Son.
20 And God was pleased
    for him to make peace
by sacrificing his blood
    on the cross,
so that all beings in heaven
    and on earth
would be brought back to God.

21 You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things. 22 But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent. 23 But you must stay deeply rooted and firm in your faith. You must not give up the hope you received when you heard the good news. It was preached to everyone on earth, and I myself have become a servant of this message.

Paul’s Service to the Church

24 I am glad that I can suffer for you. I am pleased also that in my own body I can continue[a] the suffering of Christ for his body, the church. 25 God’s plan was to make me a servant of his church and to send me to preach his complete message to you. 26 For ages and ages this message was kept secret from everyone, but now it has been explained to God’s people. 27 God did this because he wanted you Gentiles to understand his wonderful and glorious mystery. And the mystery is that Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing in God’s glory.

28 We announce the message about Christ, and we use all our wisdom to warn and teach everyone, so that all of Christ’s followers will grow and become mature.

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Footnotes

  1. 1.24 continue: Or “complete.”

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