↑ 1.God has Spoken by His Son 67ce
1WHEN IN FORMER TIMES God spoke to our forefathers, he spoke in fragmentary and varied fashion through the prophets. 2But in this the final age he has spoken to us in the Son whom he has made heir to the whole universe, and through whom he created all orders of existence: 3the Son who is the effulgence of God's splendour and the stamp of God's very being, and sustains the universe by his word of power. When he had brought about the purgation of sins, he took his seat at the right hand of Majesty on high, 4raised as far above the angels, as the title he has inherited is superior to theirs.
The Son Superior to Angels - Ps.2.7, 2Sm.7.14, 1Chr.17.13
5For God never said to any angel, 'Thou art my Son; today I have begotten thee', or again, 'I will be father to him, and he shall be my son.' 6 [ Dt.32.43, Ps.97.7. ] Again, when he presents the first-born to the world, he says, 'Let all the angels of God pay him homage.' 7 [ Ps.104.4. ] Of the angels he says,
↑ 2.The Great Salvation
1Thus we are bound to pay all the more heed to what we have been told, for fear of drifting from our course. 2For if the word spoken through angels had such force that any transgression or disobedience met with due retribution, 3what escape can there be for us if we ignore a deliverance so great? For this deliverance was first announced through the lips of the Lord himself; those who heard him confirmed it to us, 4and God added his testimony by signs, by miracles, by manifold works of power, and by distributing the gifts of the Holy Spirit at his own will.
The Pioneer of Salvation
5For it is not to angels that he has subjected the world to come, which is our theme. 6 [ Ps.8.5-7. ] But there is somewhere a solemn assurance which runs:
10It was clearly fitting that God for whom and through whom all things exist should, in bringing many sons to glory, make the leader who delivers them perfect through sufferings. 11For a consecrating priest and those whom he consecrates are all of one stock, and that is why the Son does not shrink from calling men his brothers, 12 [ Ps.22.22. ] when he says, 'I will proclaim thy name to my brothers; in full assembly I will sing thy praise'; 13 [ Is.8.17, 2Sm.22.3, Is.8.18. ] and again, 'I will keep my trust fixed on him'; and again, 'Here am I, and the children whom God has given me.' 14The children of a family share the same flesh and blood; and so he too shared ours, so that through death he might break the power of him who had death at his command, that is, the devil; 15and might liberate those who, through fear of death, had all their lifetime been in servitude. 16 [ Is.41.8-9. ] It is not angels, mark you, that he takes to himself, but the sons of Abraham. 17And therefore he had to be made like these brothers of his in every way, so that he might be merciful and faithful as their high priest before God, to expiate the sins of the people. 18For since he himself has passed through the test of suffering, he is able to help those who are meeting their test now.
↑ 3.Jesus Superior to Moses
1Therefore, brothers in the family of God, who share a heavenly calling, think of the Apostle and High Priest of the religion we profess, 2 [ Lv.12.7. ] who was faithful to God who appointed him. Moses also was faithful in God's household; 3and Jesus, of whom I speak, has been deemed worthy of greater honour than Moses, as the founder of a house enjoys more honour than his household. 4For every house has its founder; and the founder of all is God. 5Moses, then, was faithful as a servitor in God's whole household; his task was to bear witness to the words that God would speak; 6but Christ is faithful as a son, set over his household. And we are that household of his, if only we are fearless and keep our hope high.
A Rest for the People of God - Ps.95.7-11
7'TODAY', THEREFORE, as the Holy Spirit says—
15 [ Ps.95.7-8. ] When Scripture says, 'Today if you hear his voice, do not grow stubborn as in those days of rebellion', 16who, I ask, were those who heard and rebelled? All those, surely, whom Moses had led out of Egypt. 17 [ Lv.14.29. ] And with whom was God indignant for forty years? With those, surely, who had sinned, whose bodies lay where they fell in the desert. 18 [ Lv.14.22-23. ] And to whom did he vow that they should not enter his rest, if not to those who had refused to believe? 19We perceive that it was unbelief which prevented their entering.
1Therefore we must have before us the fear that while the promise of entering his rest remains open, one or another among you should be found to have missed his chance. 2For indeed we have heard the good news, as they did. But in them the message they heard did no good, because it met with no faith in those who heard of it. 3 [ Ps.95.11. ] It is we, we who have become believers, who enter the rest referred to in the words, 'As I vowed in my anger, they shall never enter my rest.' Yet God's work has been finished ever since the world was created; 4 [ Gn.2.2. ] for does not Scripture somewhere speak thus of the seventh day: 'God rested from his work on the seventh day'?— 5 [ Ps.95.11. ] and once again in the passage above we read, 'They shall never enter my rest.' 6The fact remains that someone must enter it, and since those who first heard the good news failed to enter through unbelief, 7 [ Ps.95.7-8. ] God fixes another day. Speaking through the lips of David after many long years, he uses the words already quoted: 'Today if you hear his voice, do not grow stubborn.' 8If Joshua had given them rest. God would not thus have spoken of another day after that. 9Therefore, a sabbath rest still awaits the people of God; 10for anyone who enters God's rest, rests from his own work as God did from his. 11Let us then make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by following this evil example of unbelief.
12For the word of God is alive and active. It cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the place where life and spirit, joints and marrow, divide. It sifts the purposes and thoughts of the heart. 13There is nothing in creation that can hide from him; everything lies naked and exposed to the eyes of the One with whom we have to reckon.
Jesus the Great High Priest
14Since therefore we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast to the religion we profess. 15For ours is not a high priest unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who, because of his likeness to us, has been tested every way, only without sin. 16Let us therefore boldly approach the throne of our gracious God, where we may receive mercy and in his grace find timely help.
1FOR EVERY HIGH PRIEST is taken from among men and appointed their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. 2He is able to bear patiently with the ignorant and erring, since he too is beset by weakness; 3and because of this he is bound to make sin-offerings for himself no less than for the people. 4And nobody arrogates the honour to himself: he is called by God, as indeed Aaron was. 5 [ Ps.2.7. ] So it is with Christ; he did not confer upon himself the glory of becoming high priest: it was granted by God, who said to him, 'Thou art my Son; today I have begotten thee'; 6 [ Ps.110.4. ] as also in another place he says, "Thou art a priest for ever, in the succession of Melchizedek.' 7In the days of his earthly life he offered up prayers and petitions, with loud cries and tears, to God who was able to deliver him from the grave. Because of his humble submission his prayer was heard: 8son though he was, he learned obedience in the school of suffering, 9and, once perfected, became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, 10 [ Ps.110.4. ] named by God high priest in the succession of Melchizedek.
Warning against Apostasy
11About Melchizedek we have much to say, much that is difficult to explain, now that you have grown so dull of hearing. 12For indeed, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the ABC of God's oracles over again; it has come to this, that you need milk instead of solid food. 13Anyone who lives on milk, being an infant, does not know what is right. 14But grown men can take solid food; their perceptions are trained by long use to discriminate between good and evil.
1Let us then stop discussing the rudiments of Christianity. We ought not to be laying over again the foundations of faith in God and of repentance from the deadness of our former ways, 2by instruction about cleansing rites and the laying-on-of-hands, about the resurrection of the dead and eternal judgement. 3Instead, let us advance towards maturity; and so we shall, if God permits.
4For when men have once been enlightened, when they have had a taste of the heavenly gift and a share in the Holy Spirit, 5when they have experienced the goodness of God's word and the spiritual energies of the age to come, 6and after all this have fallen away, it is impossible to bring them again to repentance; for with their own hands they are crucifying the Son of God and making mock of his death. 7When the earth drinks in the rain that falls upon it from time to time, and yields a useful crop to those for whom it is cultivated, it is receiving its share of blessing from God; 8 [ Gn.3.17-18. ] but if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and God's curse hangs over it; the end of that is burning. 9But although we speak as we do, we are convinced that you, my friends, are in the better case, and this makes for your salvation. 10For God would not be so unjust as to forget all that you did for love of his name, when you rendered service to his people, as you still do. 11But we long for every one of you to show the same eager concern, until your hope is finally realized. 12We want you not to become lazy, but to imitate those who, through faith and patience, are inheriting the promises.
God's Sure Promise - Gn.22.16
13When God made his promise to Abraham, he swore by himself, because he had no one greater to swear by: 14 [ Gn.22.17, Sir.44.21. ] I vow that I will bless you abundantly and multiply your descendants.' 15Thus it was that Abraham, after patient waiting, attained the promise. 16Men swear by a greater than themselves, and the oath provides a confirmation to end all dispute; 17and so God, desiring to show even more clearly to the heirs of his promise how unchanging was his purpose, guaranteed it by oath. 18Here, then, are two irrevocable acts in which God could not possibly play us false, to give powerful encouragement to us, who have claimed his protection by grasping the hope set before us. 19That hope we hold. It is like an anchor for our lives, an anchor safe and sure. 20 [ Ps.110.4. ] It enters in through the veil, where Jesus has entered on our behalf as forerunner, having become a high priest for ever in the succession of Melchizedek.
↑ 7.The Priestly Order of Melchizedek - Gn.14.17-20
1THIS MELCHIZEDEK, king of Salem, priest of God Most High, met Abraham returning from the rout of the kings and blessed him; 2and Abraham gave him a tithe of everything as his portion. His name, in the first place, means 'king of righteousness'; next he is king of Salem, that is, 'king of peace'. 3He has no father, no mother, no lineage; his years have no beginning, his life no end. He is like the Son of God: he remains a priest for all time.
4Consider now how great he must be for Abraham the patriarch to give him a tithe of the finest of the spoil. 5The descendants of Levi who take the priestly office are commanded by the Law to tithe the people, that is, their kinsmen, although they too are descendants of Abraham. 6But Melchizedek, though he does not trace his descent from them, has tithed Abraham himself, and given his blessing to the man who received the promises; 7and beyond all dispute the lesser is always blessed by the greater. 8Again, in the one instance tithes are received by men who must die; but in the other, by one whom Scripture affirms to be alive. 9It might even be said that Levi, who receives tithes, has himself been tithed through Abraham; 10for he was still in his ancestor's loins when Melchizedek met him.
11Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for it is on this basis that the people were given the Law), what further need would there have been to speak of another priest arising, in the succession of Melchizedek, instead of the succession of Aaron? 12For a change of priesthood must mean a change of law. 13And the One here spoken of belongs to a different tribe, no member of which has ever had anything to do with the altar. 14For it is very evident that our Lord is sprung from Judah, a tribe to which Moses made no reference in speaking of priests.
15The argument becomes still clearer, if the new priest who arises is one like Melchizedek, 16owing his priesthood not to a system of earth-bound rules but to the power of a life that cannot be destroyed. 17 [ Ps.110.4. ] For here is the testimony: 'Thou art a priest for ever, in the succession of Melchizedek.' 18The earlier rules are cancelled as impotent and useless, 19since the Law brought nothing to perfection; and a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God.
20How great a difference it makes that an oath was sworn! 21 [ Ps.110.4. ] There was no oath sworn when those others were made priests; but for this priest an oath was sworn, as Scripture says of him: 'The Lord has sworn and will not go back on his word, "Thou art a priest for ever." ' 22How far superior must the covenant also be of which Jesus is the guarantor! 23Those other priests are appointed in numerous succession, because they are prevented by death from continuing in office; 24but the priesthood which Jesus holds is perpetual, because he remains for ever. 25That is why he is also able to save absolutely those who approach God through him; he is always living to plead on their behalf.
26Such a high priest does indeed fit our condition—devout, guileless, undefiled, separated from sinners, raised high above the heavens. 27He has no need to offer sacrifices daily, as the high priests do, first for his own sins and then for those of the people; for this he did once and for all when he offered up himself. 28The high priests made by the Law are men in all their frailty; but the priest appointed by the words of the oath which supersedes the Law is the Son, made perfect now for ever.
↑ 8.The High Priest of a New and Better Covenant
1NOW THIS is my main point: just such a high priest we have, and he has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of Majesty in the heavens, 2a ministrant in the real sanctuary, the tent pitched by the Lord and not by man. 3Every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices: hence, this one too must have something to offer. 4Now if he had been on earth, he would not even have been a priest, since there are already priests who offer the gifts which the Law prescribes, 5 [ Ex.25.40. ] though they minister in a sanctuary which is only a copy and shadow of the heavenly. This is implied when Moses, about to erect the tent, is instructed by God: 'See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.' 6But in fact the ministry which has fallen to Jesus is as far superior to theirs as are the covenant he mediates and the promises upon which it is legally secured.
7Had that first covenant been faultless, there would have been no need to look for a second in its place. 8 [ Jr.31.31-34. ] But God, finding fault with them, says, 'The days are coming, says the Lord, when I will conclude a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 9It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt; because they did not abide by the terms of that covenant, and I abandoned them, says the Lord. 10For the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord, is this: I will set my laws in their understanding and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 11And they shall not teach one another, saying to brother and fellow-citizen, "Know the Lord!" For all of them, high and low, shall know me; 12I will be merciful to their wicked deeds, and I will remember their sins no more at all.' 13By speaking of a new covenant, he has pronounced the first one old; and anything that is growing old and ageing will shortly disappear.
↑ 9.The Earthly and the Heavenly Sanctuaries
1THE FIRST COVENANT indeed had its ordinances of divine service and its sanctuary, but a material sanctuary. 2For a tent was prepared—the first tent—in which was the lamp-stand, and the table with the bread of the Presence; this is called the Holy Place. 3Beyond the second curtain was the tent called the Most Holy Place. 4Here was a golden altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant plated all over with gold, in which were a golden jar containing the manna, and Aaron's staff which once budded, and the tablets of the covenant; 5and above it the cherubim of God's glory, overshadowing the place of expiation. On these we cannot now enlarge.
6Under this arrangement, the priests are always entering the first tent in the discharge of their duties; 7but the second is entered only once a year, and by the high priest alone, and even then he must take with him the blood which he offers on his own behalf and for the people's sins of ignorance. 8By this the Holy Spirit signifies that so long as the earlier tent still stands, the way into the sanctuary remains unrevealed. 9All this is symbolic, pointing to the present time. The offerings and sacrifices there prescribed cannot give the worshipper inward perfection. 10It is only a matter of food and drink and various rites of cleansing-outward ordinances in force until the time of reformation.
11But now Christ has come, high priest of good things already in being. The tent of his priesthood is a greater and more perfect one, not made by men's hands, that is, not belonging to this created world; 12the blood of his sacrifice is his own blood, not the blood of goats and calves; and thus he has entered the sanctuary once and for all and secured an eternal deliverance. 13For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkled ashes of a heifer have power to hallow those who have been defiled and restore their external purity, 14how much greater is the power of the blood of Christ; he offered himself without blemish to God, a spiritual and eternal sacrifice; and his blood will cleanse our conscience from the deadness of our former ways and fit us for the service of the living God.
15And therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, or testament, under which, now that there has been a death to bring deliverance from sins committed under the former covenant, those whom God has called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16For where there is a testament it is necessary for the death of the testator to be established. 17A testament is operative only after a death: it cannot possibly have force while the testator is alive. 18Thus we find that the former covenant itself was not inaugurated without blood. 19For when, as the Law directed, Moses had recited all the commandments to the people, he took the blood of the calves, with water, scarlet wool, and marjoram, and sprinkled the law-book itself and all the people, 20 [ Ex.24.8. ] saying, 'This is the blood of the covenant which God has enjoined upon you.' 21In the same way he also sprinkled the tent and all the vessels of divine service with blood. 22Indeed, according to the Law, it might almost be said, everything is cleansed by blood and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Sin Put Away by Christ's Sacrifice
23If, then, these sacrifices cleanse the copies of heavenly things, those heavenly things themselves require better sacrifices to cleanse them. 24For Christ has entered, not that sanctuary made by men's hands which is only a symbol of the reality, but heaven itself, to appear now before God on our behalf. 25Nor is he there to offer himself again and again, as the high priest enters the sanctuary year by year with blood not his own. 26If that were so, he would have had to suffer many times since the world was made. But as it is, he has appeared once and for all at the climax of history to abolish sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27And as it is the lot of men to die once, and after death comes judgement, 28so Christ was offered once to bear the burden of men's sins, and will appear a second time, sin done away, to bring salvation to those who are watching for him.
1FOR THE LAW CONTAINS but a shadow, and no true image, of the good things which were to come; it provides for the same sacrifices year after year, and with these it can never bring the worshippers to perfection for all time. 2If it could, these sacrifices would surely have ceased to be offered, because the worshippers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any sense of sin. 3But instead, in these sacrifices year after year sins are brought to mind, 4because sins can never be removed by the blood of bulls and goats.
5 [ Ps.40.6-8. ] That is why, at his coming into the world, he says:
11Every priest stands performing his service daily and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never remove sins. 12 [ Ps.110.1. ] But Christ offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat at the right hand of God, 13 [ Ps.110.1. ] where he waits henceforth until his enemies are made his footstool. 14For by one offering he has perfected for all time those who are thus consecrated. 15Here we have also the testimony of the Holy Spirit: he first says, 16 [ Jr.31.33. ] 'This is the covenant which I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will set my laws in their hearts and write them on their understanding'; 17 [ Jr.31.34. ] then he adds, 'and their sins and wicked deeds I will remember no more at all.' 18And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Exhortation and Warning
19SO NOW, MY FRIENDS, the blood of Jesus makes us free to enter boldly into the sanctuary 20by the new, living way which he has opened for us through the curtain, the way of his flesh. 21We have, moreover, a great priest set over the household of God; 22so let us make our approach in sincerity of heart and full assurance of faith, our guilty hearts sprinkled clean, our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us be firm and unswerving in the confession of our hope, for the Giver of the promise may be trusted. 24We ought to see how each of us may best arouse others to love and active goodness, 25not staying away from our meetings, as some do, but rather encouraging one another, all the more because you see the Day drawing near.
26For if we persist in sin after receiving the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins remains: 27only a terrifying expectation of judgement and a fierce fire which will consume God's enemies. 28 [ Dt.17.6, Dt.19.15. ] If a man disregards the Law of Moses, he is put to death without pity on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29Think how much more severe a penalty that man will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was consecrated, and affronted God's gracious Spirit! 30 [ Dt.32.35. ] For we know who it is that has said, 'Justice is mine: I will repay'; and again, 'The Lord will judge his people.' 31It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32Remember the days gone by, when, newly enlightened, you met the challenge of great sufferings and held firm. 33Some of you were abused and tormented to make a public show, while others stood loyally by those who were so treated. 34For indeed you shared the sufferings of the prisoners, and you cheerfully accepted the seizure of your possessions, knowing that you possessed something better and more lasting. 35Do not then throw away your confidence, for it carries a great reward. 36You need endurance, if you are to do God's will and win what he has promised. 37 [ Hab.2.3-4, Is.26.20. ] For 'soon, very soon' (in the words of Scripture), 'he who is to come will come; he will not delay; 38 [ Ro.1.17, Ga.3.11. ] and by faith my righteous servant shall find life; but if a man shrinks back, I take no pleasure in him.' 39But we are not among those who shrink back and are lost; we have the faith to make life our own.
1AND WHAT IS FAITH? Faith gives substance to our hopes, and makes us certain of realities we do not see.
2It is for their faith that the men of old stand on record.
3By faith we perceive that the universe was fashioned by the word of God, so that the visible came forth from the invisible.
4By faith Abel offered a sacrifice greater than Cain's, and through faith his goodness was attested, for his offerings had God's approval; and through faith he continued to speak after his death.
5 [ Gn.5.24, Sir.44.16. ] By faith Enoch was carried away to another life without passing through death; he was not to be found, because God had taken him. For it is the testimony of Scripture that before he was taken he had pleased God, 6and without faith it is impossible to please him; for anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who search for him.
7By faith Noah, divinely warned about the unseen future, took good heed and built an ark to save his household. Through his faith he put the whole world in the wrong, and made good his own claim to the righteousness which comes of faith.
8By faith Abraham obeyed the call to go out to a land destined for himself and his heirs, and left home without knowing where he was to go. 9By faith he settled as an alien in the land promised him, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs to the same promise. 10For he was looking forward to the city with firm foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
11By faith even Sarah herself received strength to conceive, though she was past the age, because she judged that he who had promised would keep faith; 12 [ Gn.15.5-6, Gn.22.17. ] and therefore from one man, and one as good as dead, there sprang descendants numerous as the stars or as the countless grains of sand on the sea-shore.
13All these persons died in faith. They were not yet in possession of the things promised, but had seen them far ahead and hailed them, and confessed themselves no more than strangers or passing travellers on earth. 14Those who use such language show plainly that they are looking for a country of their own. 15If their hearts had been in the country they had left, they could have found opportunity to return. 16Instead, we find them longing for a better country—I mean, the heavenly one. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he has a city ready for them.
17By faith Abraham, when the test came, offered up Isaac: he had received the promises, and yet he was is on the point of offering his only son, 18 [ Gn.21.12. ] of whom he had been told, 'Through the line of Isaac your descendants shall be traced.' 19For he reckoned that God had power even to raise from the dead—and from the dead, he did, in a sense, receive him back.
20By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau and spoke of 21 [ Gn.47.31. ] things to come. By faith Jacob, as he was dying, blessed each of Joseph's sons, and worshipped God, leaning on the top of his staff. 22By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, spoke of the departure of Israel from Egypt, and instructed them what to do with his bones.
23By faith, when Moses was born, his parents hid him for three months, because they saw what a fine child he was; they were not afraid of the king's edict. 24By faith Moses, when he grew up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter, 25preferring to suffer hardship with the people of God rather than enjoy the transient pleasures of sin. 26He considered the stigma that rests on God's Anointed greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for his eyes were fixed upon the coming day of recompense. 27By faith he left Egypt, and not because he feared the king's anger; for he was resolute, as one who saw the invisible God.
28By faith he celebrated the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the destroying angel might not touch the first-born of Israel. 29By faith they crossed the Red Sea as though it were dry land, whereas the Egyptians, when they attempted the crossing, were drowned.
30By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled on seven successive days. 31By faith the prostitute Rahab escaped the doom of the unbelievers, because she had given the spies a kindly welcome.
32Need I say more? Time is too short for me to tell the stories of Gideon, Barak, Samson, and Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets. 33Through faith they overthrew kingdoms, established justice, saw God's promises fulfilled. They muzzled ravening lions, 34quenched the fury of fire, escaped death by the sword. Their weakness was turned to strength, they grew powerful in war, they put foreign armies to rout. 35Women received back their dead raised to life. Others were tortured to death, disdaining release, to win a better resurrection. 36Others, again, had to face jeers and flogging, even fetters and prison bars. 37They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were put to the sword, they went about dressed in skins of sheep or goats, in poverty, distress, and misery. 38They were too good for a world like this. They were refugees in deserts and on the hills, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. 39These also, one and all, are commemorated for their faith; and yet they did not enter upon the promised inheritance, because, with us in mind. 40God had made a better plan, that only in company with us should they reach their perfection.
↑ 12.The Discipline of the Lord
1AND WHAT OF OURSELVES? With all these witnesses to faith around us like a cloud, we must throw off every encumbrance, every sin to which we cling, and run with resolution the race for which we are entered, 2our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom faith depends from start to finish: Jesus who, for the sake of the joy that lay ahead of him, endured the cross, making light of its disgrace, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.
3Think of him who submitted to such opposition from sinners: that will help you not to lose heart and grow faint. 4In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 [ Pr.3.11-12. ] You have forgotten the text of Scripture which addresses you as sons and appeals to you in these words:
Warning against Rejection God's Grace
14Aim at peace with all men, and a holy life, for without that no one will see the Lord. 15Look to it that there is no one among you who forfeits the grace of God, no bitter, noxious weed growing up to poison the whole, 16no immoral person, no one worldly-minded like Esau. He sold his birthright for a single meal, 17and you know that although he wanted afterwards to claim the blessing, he was rejected; though he begged for it to the point of tears, he found no way open for second thoughts.
18REMEMBER WHERE YOU STAND: not before the palpable, blazing fire of Sinai, with the darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, 19the trumpet-blast and the oracular voice, which they heard, and begged to hear no more; 20 [ Ex.19.12-13. ] for they could not bear the command, 'If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.' 21 [ Dt.9.19. ] So appalling was the sight, that Moses said, 'I shudder with fear.'
22No, you stand before Mount Zion and the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, before myriads of angels, 23the full concourse and assembly of the first-born citizens of heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of good men made perfect, 24and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, whose sprinkled blood has better things to tell than the blood of Abel. 25See that you do not refuse to hear the voice that speaks. Those who refused to hear the oracle speaking on earth found no escape; still less shall we escape if we refuse to hear the One who speaks from heaven. 26 [ Hg.2.6. ] Then indeed his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Yet once again I will shake not earth alone, but the heavens also.' 27The words 'once again'—and only once—imply that the shaking of these created things means their removal, and then what is not shaken will remain. 28The kingdom we are given is unshakable; let us therefore give thanks to God, and so worship him as he would be worshipped, with reverence and awe; 29 [ Dt.4.24, Dt.9.3, Is.33.14. ] for our God is a devouring fire.
↑ 13.Service Well-Pleasing to God
1NEVER CEASE TO LOVE your fellow-Christians. 2Remember to show hospitality. There are some who, by so doing, have entertained angels without knowing it.
3Remember those in prison as if you were there with them; and those who are being maltreated, for you like them are still in the world.
4Marriage is honourable; let us all keep it so, and the marriage-bond inviolate; for God's judgement will fall on fornicators and adulterers.
5 [ Dt.31.6. ] Do not live for money; be content with what you have; for God himself has said, 'I will never leave you or desert you'; 6 [ Ps.18.6. ] and so we can take courage and say, 'The Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what can man do to me?'
7Remember your leaders, those who first spoke God's message to you; and reflecting upon the outcome of their life and work, follow the example of their faith.
8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. 9So do not be swept off your course by all sorts of outlandish teachings; it is good that our souls should gain their strength from the grace of God, and not from scruples about what we eat, which have never done any good to those who were governed by them.
10Our altar is one from which the priests of the sacred tent have no right to eat. 11As you know, those animals whose blood is brought as a sin-offering by the high priest into the sanctuary, have their bodies burnt outside the camp, 12and therefore Jesus also suffered outside the gate, to consecrate the people by his own blood. 13Let us then go to him outside the camp, bearing the stigma that he bore. 14For here we have no permanent home, but we are seekers after the city which is to come. 15Through Jesus, then, let us continually offer up to God the sacrifice of praise, that is, the tribute of lips which acknowledge his name, 16and never forget to show kindness and to share what you have with others; for such are the sacrifices which God approves.
17Obey your leaders and defer to them; for they are tireless in their concern for you, as men who must render an account. Let it be a happy task for them, and not pain and grief, for that would bring you no advantage.
18Pray for us; for we are convinced that our conscience is clear; our one desire is always to do what is right. 19All the more earnestly I ask for your prayers, that I may be restored to you the sooner.
Benediction and Final Greetings
20May the God of peace, who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, 21make you perfect in all goodness so that you may do his will; and may he make of us what he would have us be through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever! Amen.
22I beg you, brothers, bear with this exhortation; for it is after all a short letter. 23I have news for you: our friend Timothy has been released; and if he comes in time he will be with me when I see you.
24Greet all your leaders and all God's people. Greetings to you from our Italian friends.
25God's grace be with you all!