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Unity with Christ

As a prisoner of the Lord, I beg you to live in a way that is worthy of the people God has chosen to be his own. Always be humble and gentle. Patiently put up with each other and love each other. Try your best to let God’s Spirit keep your hearts united. Do this by living at peace. All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God’s people. We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.

Christ has generously divided out his gifts to us. As the Scriptures say,

“When he went up
    to the highest place,
he led away many prisoners
    and gave gifts to people.”

When it says, “he went up,” it means that Christ had been deep in the earth. 10 This also means that the one who went deep into the earth is the same one who went into the highest heaven, so that he would fill the whole universe.

11 Christ chose some of us to be apostles, prophets, missionaries, pastors, and teachers, 12 so that his people would learn to serve and his body would grow strong. 13 This will continue until we are united by our faith and by our understanding of the Son of God. Then we will be mature, just as Christ is, and we will be completely like him.[a]

14 We must stop acting like children. We must not let deceitful people trick us by their false teachings, which are like winds that toss us around from place to place. 15 Love should always make us tell the truth. Then we will grow in every way and be more like Christ, the head 16 of the body. Christ holds it together and makes all of its parts work perfectly, as it grows and becomes strong because of love.

The Old Life and the New Life

17 As a follower of the Lord, I order you to stop living like stupid, godless people. 18 Their minds are in the dark, and they are stubborn and ignorant and have missed out on the life that comes from God. They no longer have any feelings about what is right, 19 and they are so greedy that they do all kinds of indecent things.

20-21 But that isn’t what you were taught about Jesus Christ. He is the truth, and you heard about him and learned about him. 22 You were told that your foolish desires will destroy you and that you must give up your old way of life with all its bad habits. 23 Let the Spirit change your way of thinking 24 and make you into a new person. You were created to be like God, and so you must please him and be truly holy.

Rules for the New Life

25 We are part of the same body. Stop lying and start telling each other the truth. 26 Don’t get so angry that you sin. Don’t go to bed angry 27 and don’t give the devil a chance.

28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Be honest and work hard, so you will have something to give to people in need.

29 Stop all your dirty talk. Say the right thing at the right time and help others by what you say.

30 Don’t make God’s Spirit sad. The Spirit makes you sure that someday you will be free from your sins.

31 Stop being bitter and angry and mad at others. Don’t yell at one another or curse each other or ever be rude. 32 Instead, be kind and merciful, and forgive others, just as God forgave you because of Christ.

Do as God does. After all, you are his dear children. Let love be your guide. Christ loved us[b] and offered his life for us as a sacrifice that pleases God.

You are God’s people, so don’t let it be said that any of you are immoral or indecent or greedy. Don’t use dirty or foolish or filthy words. Instead, say how thankful you are. Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols. You can be sure that people who behave in this way will never be part of the kingdom that belongs to Christ and to God.

Living as People of Light

Don’t let anyone trick you with foolish talk. God punishes everyone who disobeys him and says[c] foolish things. So don’t have anything to do with anyone like that.

You used to be like people living in the dark, but now you are people of the light because you belong to the Lord. So act like people of the light and make your light shine. Be good and honest and truthful, 10 as you try to please the Lord. 11 Don’t take part in doing those worthless things that are done in the dark. Instead, show how wrong they are. 12 It is disgusting even to talk about what is done in the dark. 13 But the light will show what these things are really like. 14 Light shows up everything,[d] just as the Scriptures say,

“Wake up from your sleep
    and rise from death.
Then Christ will shine on you.”

15 Act like people with good sense and not like fools. 16 These are evil times, so make every minute count. 17 Don’t be stupid. Instead, find out what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Don’t destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life. 19 When you meet together, sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, as you praise the Lord with all your heart. 20 Always use the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to thank God the Father for everything.

Wives and Husbands

21 Honor Christ and put others first. 22 A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord. 23 A husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head and the Savior of the church, which is his own body. 24 Wives should always put their husbands first, as the church puts Christ first.

25 A husband should love his wife as much as Christ loved the church and gave his life for it. 26 He made the church holy by the power of his word, and he made it pure by washing it with water. 27 Christ did this, so that he would have a glorious and holy church, without faults or spots or wrinkles or any other flaws.

28 In the same way, a husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself. A husband who loves his wife shows that he loves himself. 29 None of us hate our own bodies. We provide for them and take good care of them, just as Christ does for the church, 30 because we are each part of his body. 31 As the Scriptures say, “A man leaves his father and mother to get married, and he becomes like one person with his wife.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I understand it to mean Christ and his church. 33 So each husband should love his wife as much as he loves himself, and each wife should respect her husband.

Children and Parents

Children, you belong to the Lord, and you do the right thing when you obey your parents. The first commandment with a promise says, “Obey your father and your mother, and you will have a long and happy life.”

Parents, don’t be hard on your children. Raise them properly. Teach them and instruct them about the Lord.

Slaves and Masters

Slaves, you must obey your earthly masters. Show them great respect and be as loyal to them as you are to Christ. Try to please them at all times, and not just when you think they are watching. You are slaves of Christ, so with your whole heart you must do what God wants you to do. Gladly serve your masters, as though they were the Lord himself, and not simply people. You know that you will be rewarded for any good things you do, whether you are slaves or free.

Slave owners, you must treat your slaves with this same respect. Don’t threaten them. They have the same Master in heaven that you do, and he doesn’t have any favorites.

The Fight against Evil

10 Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armor that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armor that God gives. Then when that evil day[e] comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

14 Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armor. 15 Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16 Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.

18 Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. 19 Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. 20 I was sent to do this work, and that’s the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should.

Final Greetings

21-22 I want you to know how I am getting along and what I am doing. That’s why I am sending Tychicus to you. He is a dear friend, as well as a faithful servant of the Lord. He will tell you how I am doing, and he will cheer you up.

23 I pray that God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ will give peace, love, and faith to every follower! 24 May God be kind to everyone who keeps on loving our Lord Jesus Christ.

Footnotes

  1. 4.13 and we will be completely like him: Or <<and he is completely perfect.’>
  2. 5.2 us: Some manuscripts have <<you.’>
  3. 5.6 says: Or <<does.’>
  4. 5.14 Light shows up everything: Or <<Everything that is seen in the light becomes light itself.’>
  5. 6.13 that evil day: Either the present (see 5.16) or <<the day of death>> or <<the day of judgment.’>