1The Law of Moses is like a shadow of the good things to come. This shadow isn't the good things themselves, because it cannot free people from sin by the sacrifices that are offered year after year. 2If there were worshippers who already have their sins washed away and their consciences made clear, there would not be any need to go on offering sacrifices. 3-4But the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. It only reminds people of their sins from one year to the next.
5When Christ came into the world, he said to God,#Ps 40.6-8 (LXX).
“Sacrifices and offerings
are not what you want,
but you have given me
6No, you are not pleased
with animal sacrifices
and offerings for sin.”
7Then Christ said,
“And so, my God,
I have come to do
what you want,
as the Scriptures say.”
8The Law teaches that offerings and sacrifices must be made because of sin. But why did Christ mention these things and say that God did not want them? 9Well, it was to do away with offerings and sacrifices and to replace them. That is what he meant by saying to God, “I have come to do what you want.” 10So we are made holy because Christ obeyed God and offered himself once for all.
11The priests do their work each day, and they keep on offering sacrifices that can never take away sins.#Ex 29.38. 12But Christ offered himself as a sacrifice that is good for ever. Now he is sitting at God's right side,#10.12 right side: See the note at 1.3.#Ps 110.1. 13and he will stay there until his enemies are put under his power. 14By his one sacrifice he has for ever set free from sin the people he brings to God.
15The Holy Spirit also speaks of this by telling us that the Lord said,
16“When the time comes,#Jr 31.33.
I will make an agreement
I will write my laws
on their minds and hearts.
17Then I will forget#Jr 31.34.
about their sins
and no longer remember
their evil deeds.”
18When sins are forgiven, there is no more need to offer sacrifices.
Encouragement and warning
19My friends, the blood of Jesus gives us courage to enter the most holy place 20by a new way that leads to life! And this way takes us through the curtain that is Christ himself.
21We have a great high priest who is in charge of God's house. 22So let's come near God with pure hearts and a confidence that comes from having faith. Let's keep our hearts pure, our consciences free from evil, and our bodies washed with clean water.#Lv 8.30; Ez 36.25. 23We must hold tightly to the hope that we say is ours. After all, we can trust the one who made the agreement with us. 24We should keep on encouraging each other to be thoughtful and to do helpful things. 25Some people have got out of the habit of meeting for worship, but we must not do that. We should keep on encouraging each other, especially since you know that the day of the Lord's coming is getting closer.
26No sacrifices can be made for people who decide to sin after they find out about the truth. 27They are God's enemies, and all they can look forward to is a terrible judgment and a furious fire.#Is 26.11 (LXX). 28If two or more witnesses accused someone of breaking the Law of Moses, that person could be put to death.#Dt 17.6; 19.15. 29But it is much worse to dishonour God's Son and to disgrace the blood of the promise that made us holy. And it is just as bad to insult the Holy Spirit, who shows us mercy.#Ex 24.8. 30We know that God has said he will punish and take revenge. We also know that the Scriptures say the Lord will judge his people.#Dt 32.35; Dt 32.36. 31It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God!
32Don't forget all the hard times you went through when you first received the light. 33Sometimes you were abused and ill-treated in public, and at other times you shared in the sufferings of others. 34You were kind to people in jail. And you gladly let your possessions be taken away, because you knew you had something better, something that would last for ever.
35Keep on being brave! It will bring you great rewards. 36Learn to be patient, so that you will please God and be given what he has promised. 37As the Scriptures say,#He 2.3,4 (LXX).
“God is coming soon!
It won't be very long.
38The people God accepts
will live because
of their faith.#10.38 The people God accepts will live because of their faith: Or “The people God accepts because of their faith will live.”
But he isn't pleased
who turns back.”
39We are not like those people who turn back and get destroyed. We will keep on having faith until we are saved.