1A huge cloud of witnesses is all around us. So let us throw off everything that stands in our way. Let us throw off any sin that holds on to us so tightly. Let us keep on running the race marked out for us.
2Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the author of faith. He also makes it perfect. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3He put up with attacks from sinners. So think about him. Then you won't get tired. You won't lose hope.
God Trains His Children
4You struggle against sin. But you have not yet fought to the point of spilling your blood. 5You have forgotten that word of hope. It speaks to you as children. It says, "My son, think of the Lord's training as important.
Do not lose hope when he corrects you.
6The Lord trains those he loves.
He punishes everyone he accepts as a son." (Proverbs 3:11,12)
7Put up with hard times. God uses them to train you. He is treating you as children. What children are not trained by their parents? 8God trains all of his children. But what if he doesn't train you? Then you are like children of people who weren't married to each other. You are not truly God's children.
9Besides, we have all had human parents who trained us. We respected them for it. How much more should we be trained by the Father of our spirits and live!
10Our parents trained us for a little while. They did what they thought was best. But God trains us for our good. He wants us to share in his holiness.
11No training seems pleasant at the time. In fact, it seems painful. But later on it produces a harvest of godliness and peace. It does that for those who have been trained by it.
12So lift your sagging arms. Strengthen your weak knees. 13"Make level paths for your feet to walk on." (Proverbs 4:26) Then those who have trouble walking won't be disabled. Instead, they will be healed.
A Warning Against Saying No to God
14Try your best to live in peace with everyone. Try to be holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord.
15Be sure that no one misses God's grace. See to it that a bitter plant doesn't grow up. If it does, it will cause trouble. And it will pollute many people. 16See to it that no one commits sexual sins.
See to it that no one is godless like Esau. He sold the rights to what he would receive as the oldest son. He sold them for a single meal. 17As you know, after that he wanted to receive his father's blessing. But he was turned away. With tears he tried to get the blessing. But he couldn't get his father to change his mind.
18You haven't come to a mountain that can be touched. You haven't come to a mountain that is burning with fire. You haven't come to darkness, gloom and storm. 19You haven't come to a blast from God's trumpet. You haven't come to a voice speaking to you. When people heard that voice long ago, they begged it not to say anything more to them. 20What God commanded was too much for them. He said, "If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be killed with stones." (Exodus 19:12,13) 21The sight was terrifying. Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." (Deuteronomy 9:19)
22But you have come to Mount Zion. You have come to the Jerusalem in heaven. It is the city of the living God. You have come to a joyful gathering of angels. There are thousands and thousands of them. 23You have come to the church of God's people. God's first and only Son is over all things. God's people share in what belongs to his Son. Their names are written in heaven. You have come to God. He is the judge of all people.
You have come to the spirits of godly people who have been made perfect. 24You have come to Jesus. He is the go-between of a new covenant. You have come to the sprinkled blood. It promises better things than the blood of Abel.
25Be sure that you don't say no to the One who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the One who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the One who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape!
26At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, "Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens." (Haggai 2:6) 27The words "once more" point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I'm talking about created things. Then what can't be shaken will remain.
28We are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. We will worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29Our "God is like a fire that burns everything up." (Deuteronomy 4:24)