|Chapter 2||Paul's Letter to Laodicea|
1. Therefore, let no one influence your conscience, not through a bishop and a priest (i.e. uncalled by God), not through a day of feast, nor through the old Sabbath and new moon,
2. Nor through a temple, nor through a sacrificial ceremony, nor magnificent raiment, and just as little through food and drink.
3. Be moderate in eating and drinking; that is good for the spirit, the soul, and the body and is agreeable to the Lord;
4. But when someone says, teaches, and desires: “This and that particular food should not be eaten, because according to Moses it is unclean.”
5. Then I say in opposition to that: Moses and the prophets are fulfilled and redeemed in Christ; the Lord did not forbid us any food; He Himself ate and drank with sinners and publicans.
6. And He exclaimed: “What you eat does not defile you; but what comes out of your heart such as gossip, evil desires, miserliness, envy, manslaughter, rage, gluttony, voracity, fornication, adultery, and the like — that is what at all times defiles human beings.”
7. Since we have such a Gospel from Him, the sole Lord of all the Glory Himself, what great fools must we be if we voluntarily let ourselves be harnessed into the old evil yoke?
8. Of what significance is at present the shadow which, from Moses’ point-of-view, was a prophetic omen pertaining to what happened in front of our eyes, for us, who have become one body with Christ and in Christ.
9. I ask you, and even implore you: Do not allow anyone to decide for you what your goal should be, especially by one who on his own initiative, wanders around in all humility and total spirituality of the angels of the heavens, but he himself has never seen nor heard anything about it; because of this, he is conceited about his own importance, but only in his carnal sense,
10. And he does not abide by the head from whence comes the energy for the whole body through the members and joints, which maintain each other, contain and grow to divine greatness,
11. But only according to his taste, which is within itself full of dirt and filth, full of self-interest, full of deceit and lies, full of lust for power, full of miserliness and envy.
12. This is how it is with the one who poses as if he was called upon by the Lord and from me, and then afterwards elected by you.
13. I point out now to all of you: This one has the spirit of the devil in him, and walks among you like a wolf in sheep's clothing and like a hungry, roaring lion endeavoring in a diligent manner to devour you.
14. That is why you should drive him away as fast as possible, and return again to Nymphas, whose house is the true congregation of Christ.
15. All of you are dead to the world with Christ, as far as the world and its statutes are concerned. For what reason do you want to be caught again by the statues of the world? You act as if you are still living in it.
16. The house of my dear brother Nymphas remained faithful in its freedom, as I gave it to him through Jesus Christ, the Lord of Eternity.
17. Nymphas recognized the wolf, as I recognized the wolf, through the Spirit of God, who is within me and who prompts me at all times, moves and teaches in all the different things of the only righteous wisdom before God, and that applies to brother Nymphas as well.
18. This is why I admonish you with the power of all righteous devotion in Christ, the Lord, that you go to Nymphas and become again a congregation with his house.
19. And do not listen to those, who say with a hypocritical, pious mien: “Do not touch that, and do not try that, and do not hold onto that, and do this, but do not do that.” All this consumes itself under their hands, and is nothing more than empty man-made laws;
20. But listen to what I have to say out of the Spirit of Christ, which is within me, so that you may become free again, and become truthful co-heirs of Jesus Christ in God's Kingdom which is alive within you.
21. Oh brothers, think of what benefit will it be to those who have the appearance of wisdom, and through themselves self-chosen, hypocritical and feigned spirituality and humility,
22. And those who say: “When you look at a woman, you already have sinned; and if you eat unclean food forbidden by Moses, then you are unclean for a whole day, and when you touch a heathen and you speak more than three words to him, then you must tell the priest of the temple, so that he cleanses you before God.”
23. In reality, they are full of filth, miserliness, and whoredom, and carry on business in secret with all the heathens, and do everything within their abilities that does not spoil their secret friendship with them?.
24. I, however, say: “The body requires what is his, just like the Spirit; he has his want and his need. This is why you should give to him in the proper measure, whatever God has intended for him, and he should enjoy what is available; because the physical body requires its care, just as the Spirit requires his freedom. Therefore, be free, and be not slaves to the fools of this world.”
25. How praise-worthy can someone be of himself, even though he fasted with his stomach, but he filled his heart with evil thoughts, wishes, and desires?.
26. Would it not have been much wiser to fast in the heart, than in the stomach? How can you be such great fools that someone can make you believe that it would be even pleasing unto the Lord if you would eat fish marinated in oil, than to eat another meat from a warm-blooded animal, and in fat instead of the oil?.
27. But I say to you: Eat at all time within reason, whatever you relish, and eat whatever is good for your body's health, and drink wine with water, as I do, whenever it is available, and do not let your conscience trouble you; then you act properly even in this instance.
28. The Lord derives no joy from fasting of the stomach; He does, however, favor fasting of the heart. In the heart, however, fast day and night, then you will fast in the Spirit and in Truth.
29. But how can you fast in accordance with the hypocritical teachings of the one who pretends to be only with one foot on the earth, but everything else is already in heaven. In accordance with that, all heathens fast as well; they eat on their days of feast all kinds of delicacies, and are more lustful for those delicacies than on the common days, when they eat their daily food.
30. Since you are now resurrected in Christ, why do you heed what happens below on the world, and why do you seek to satisfy the world's statutes which are the work of human beings?
31. Seek what is above. There Christ is sitting to the right of the Father; that would be more becoming to you than all the totally valueless follies of the world.
32. If you have been awakened in the Spirit and resurrected with Christ, then you are from above and not from below; therefore, seek what is above and not what is below on the earth.
33. Because you are dead to the world and your life is concealed with Christ in God.
34. However, if Christ, who is now your life, will reveal Himself, then you will be revealed with Him in Glory.
35. Put to death anew your world, which is in many members on the earth, just as the members of your body with which you carried on. And now you want to carry on again as you did before: fornication, dishonesty, shameful lust, evil or carnal desires, avarice, envy, miserliness. Within all these characteristics is contained at all times the true idolatry of the heathens.
36. And of all things, avoid lies, because they are the closest descendant of Satan. Undress the old human being and dress the new one in Christ; whosoever renews, comes into the recognition of the One, and into the harmony of the One Who created him.
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