In the past you were spiritually dead because of your disobedience and sins. 2At that time you followed the world's evil way; you obeyed the ruler of the spiritual powers in space, the spirit who now controls the people who disobey God. 3Actually all of us were like them and lived according to our natural desires, doing whatever suited the wishes of our own bodies and minds. In our natural condition we, like everyone else, were destined to suffer God's anger.
4But God's mercy is so abundant, and his love for us is so great, 5that while we were spiritually dead in our disobedience he brought us to life with Christ. It is by God's grace that you have been saved. 6In our union with Christ Jesus he raised us up with him to rule with him in the heavenly world. 7He did this to demonstrate for all time to come the extraordinary greatness of his grace in the love he showed us in Christ Jesus. 8-9For it is by God's grace that you have been saved through faith. It is not the result of your own efforts, but God's gift, so that no one can boast about it. 10God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus he has created us for a life of good deeds, which he has already prepared for us to do.
11You Gentiles by birth — called “the uncircumcised” by the Jews, who call themselves “the circumcised” (which refers to what men do to their bodies) — remember what you were in the past. 12At that time you were apart from Christ. You were foreigners and did not belong to God's chosen people. You had no part in the covenants, which were based on God's promises to his people, and you lived in this world without hope and without God. 13But now, in union with Christ Jesus, you who used to be far away have been brought near by the blood2.13 by the blood of Christ; or by the sacrificial death of Christ. of Christ. 14For Christ himself has brought us peace by making Jews and Gentiles one people. With his own body he broke down the wall that separated them and kept them enemies. 15
He abolished the Jewish Law with its commandments and rules, in order to create out of the two races one new people in union with himself, in this way making peace. 16
By his death on the cross Christ destroyed their enmity; by means of the cross he united both races into one body and brought them back to God. 17
So Christ came and preached the Good News of peace to all — to you Gentiles, who were far away from God, and to the Jews, who were near to him. 18It is through Christ that all of us, Jews and Gentiles, are able to come in the one Spirit into the presence of the Father.
19So then, you Gentiles are not foreigners or strangers any longer; you are now fellow-citizens with God's people and members of the family of God. 20You, too, are built upon the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets,2.20 the foundation laid by the apostles and prophets; or the foundation, that is, the apostles and prophets. the cornerstone being Christ Jesus himself. 21He is the one who holds the whole building together and makes it grow into a sacred temple dedicated to the Lord. 22In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through his Spirit.
31For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles, pray to God. 2Surely you have heard that God in his grace has given me this work to do for your good. 3God revealed his secret plan and made it known to me. (I have written briefly about this, 4
and if you will read what I have written, you can learn about my understanding of the secret of Christ.) 5In past times human beings were not told this secret, but God has revealed it now by the Spirit to his holy apostles and prophets. 6The secret is that by means of the gospel the Gentiles have a part with the Jews in God's blessings; they are members of the same body and share in the promise that God made through Christ Jesus.
7I was made a servant of the gospel by God's special gift, which he gave me through the working of his power. 8I am less than the least of all God's people; yet God gave me this privilege of taking to the Gentiles the Good News about the infinite riches of Christ, 9and of making all people see how God's secret plan is to be put into effect. God, who is the Creator of all things, kept his secret hidden through all the past ages, 10in order that at the present time, by means of the church, the angelic rulers and powers in the heavenly world might learn of his wisdom in all its different forms. 11God did this according to his eternal purpose, which he achieved through Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In union with Christ and through our faith in him we have the boldness to go into God's presence with all confidence. 13I beg you, then, not to be discouraged because I am suffering for you; it is all for your benefit.
14For this reason I fall on my knees before the Father, 15from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its true name. 16I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, 17and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, 18so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love. 19Yes, may you come to know his love — although it can never be fully known — and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.
20To him who by means of his power working in us is able to do so much more than we can ever ask for, or even think of: 21to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus for all time, for ever and ever! Amen.
41I urge you, then — I who am a prisoner because I serve the Lord: live a life that measures up to the standard God set when he called you. 2
Be always humble, gentle, and patient. Show your love by being tolerant with one another. 3Do your best to preserve the unity which the Spirit gives by means of the peace that binds you together. 4There is one body and one Spirit, just as there is one hope to which God has called you. 5There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6there is one God and Father of all, who is Lord of all, works through all, and is in all.
7Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8
As the scripture says:
“When he went up to the very heights,
he took many captives with him;
he gave gifts to people.”9Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth.4.9 the lowest depths of the earth; or the lower depths, the earth itself. 10So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11It was he who “gave gifts”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers. 12He did this to prepare all God's people for the work of Christian service, in order to build up the body of Christ. 13And so we shall all come together to that oneness in our faith and in our knowledge of the Son of God; we shall become mature people, reaching to the very height of Christ's full stature. 14Then we shall no longer be children, carried by the waves and blown about by every shifting wind of the teaching of deceitful people, who lead others into error by the tricks they invent. 15Instead, by speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head. 16
17In the Lord's name, then, I warn you: do not continue to live like the heathen, whose thoughts are worthless 18and whose minds are in the dark. They have no part in the life that God gives, for they are completely ignorant and stubborn. 19They have lost all feeling of shame; they give themselves over to vice and do all sorts of indecent things without restraint.
20That was not what you learnt about Christ! 21You certainly heard about him, and as his followers you were taught the truth that is in Jesus. 22
So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to — the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. 23Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24
and you must put on the new self, which is created in God's likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.
No more lying, then! Each of you must tell the truth to one another, because we are all members together in the body of Christ. 26
If you become angry, do not let your anger lead you into sin, and do not stay angry all day. 27Don't give the Devil a chance. 28Those who used to rob must stop robbing and start working, in order to earn an honest living for themselves and to be able to help the poor. 29Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you. 30And do not make God's Holy Spirit sad; for the Spirit is God's mark of ownership on you, a guarantee that the Day will come when God will set you free. 31Get rid of all bitterness, passion, and anger. No more shouting or insults, no more hateful feelings of any sort. 32
Instead, be kind and tender-hearted to one another, and forgive one another, as God has forgiven you through Christ.