GOD'S WORD® Translation
1Moses' Teachings with their yearly cycle of sacrifices are only a shadow of the good things in the future. They aren't an exact likeness of those things. They can never make those who worship perfect. 2If these sacrifices could have made the worshipers perfect, the sacrifices would have stopped long ago. Those who worship would have been cleansed once and for all. Their consciences would have been free from sin. 3Instead, this yearly cycle of sacrifices reminded people of their sins. 4(The blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins.)
5For this reason, when Christ came into the world, he said, " 'You did not want sacrifices and offerings, but you prepared a body for me.
6You did not approve of burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin.'
7Then I said, 'I have come! (It is written about me in the scroll of the book.) I have come to do what you want, my God.'"
8In this passage Christ first said, "You did not want sacrifices, offerings, burnt offerings, and sacrifices for sin. You did not approve of them." (These are the sacrifices that Moses' Teachings require people to offer.) 9Then Christ says, "I have come to do what you want." He did away with sacrifices in order to establish the obedience that God wants. 10We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all.
11Every day each priest performed his religious duty. He offered the same type of sacrifice again and again. Yet, these sacrifices could never take away sins. 12However, this chief priest made one sacrifice for sins, and this sacrifice lasts forever. Then he received the highest position in heaven. 13Since that time, he has been waiting for his enemies to be made his footstool. 14With one sacrifice he accomplished the work of setting them apart for God forever. 15The Holy Spirit tells us the same thing:
16"This is the promise that I will make to them after those days, says the Lord: 'I will put my teachings in their hearts and write them in their minds.' "
17Then he adds, "I will no longer hold their sins and their disobedience against them."
18When sins are forgiven, there is no longer any need to sacrifice for sins.
19Brothers and sisters, because of the blood of Jesus we can now confidently go into the holy place. 20Jesus has opened a new and living way for us to go through the curtain. (The curtain is his own body.) 21We have a superior priest in charge of God's house. 22We have been sprinkled [with his blood] to free us from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with clean water. So we must continue to come [to him] with a sincere heart and strong faith. 23We must continue to hold firmly to our declaration of faith. The one who made the promise is faithful. 24We must also consider how to encourage each other to show love and to do good things. 25We should not stop gathering together with other believers, as some of you are doing. Instead, we must continue to encourage each other even more as we see the day of the Lord coming.
26If we go on sinning after we have learned the truth, no sacrifice can take away our sins. 27All that is left is a terrifying wait for judgment and a raging fire that will consume God's enemies. 28If two or three witnesses accused someone of rejecting Moses' Teachings, that person was shown no mercy as he was executed. 29What do you think a person who shows no respect for the Son of God deserves? That person looks at the blood of the promise (the blood that made him holy) as no different from other people's blood, and he insults the Spirit that God gave us out of his kindness. He deserves a much worse punishment. 30We know the God who said, "I alone have the right to take revenge. I will pay back." God also said, "The Lord will judge his people." 31Falling into the hands of the living God is a terrifying thing.
32Remember the past, when you first learned the truth. You endured a lot of hardship and pain. 33At times you were publicly insulted and mistreated. At times you associated with people who were treated this way. 34You suffered with prisoners. You were cheerful even though your possessions were stolen, since you know that you have a better and more permanent possession. 35So don't lose your confidence. It will bring you a great reward. 36You need endurance so that after you have done what God wants you to do, you can receive what he has promised.
37"Yet, the one who is coming will come soon. He will not delay.
38The person who has God's approval will live by faith. But if he turns back, I will not be pleased with him."
39We don't belong with those who turn back and are destroyed. Instead, we belong with those who have faith and are saved.