Jesus Christ—the Only Sacrifice We Need
1The law gave us only an unclear picture of the good things coming in the future. The law is not a perfect picture of the real things. The law tells people to offer the same sacrifices every year. Those who come to worship God continue to offer those sacrifices. But the law can never make them perfect. 2If the law could make people perfect, those sacrifices would have already stopped. They would already be clean from their sins, and they would not still feel guilty. 3But that’s not what happens. Their sacrifices make them remember their sins every year, 4because it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
5So when Christ came into the world he said,
“You don’t want sacrifices and offerings,
but you have prepared a body for me.
6You are not pleased with the sacrifices of animals killed and burned
or with offerings to take away sins.
7Then I said, ‘Here I am, God.
It is written about me in the book of the law.
I have come to do what you want.’” Psalm 40:6-8
8Christ first said, “You don’t want sacrifices and offerings. You are not pleased with animals killed and burned or with sacrifices to take away sin.” (These are all sacrifices that the law commands.) 9Then he said, “Here I am, God. I have come to do what you want.” So God ends that first system of sacrifices and starts his new way. 10Jesus Christ did the things God wanted him to do. And because of that, we are made holy through the sacrifice of Christ’s body. Christ made that sacrifice one time—enough for all time.
11Every day the priests stand and do their religious service. Again and again they offer the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12But Christ offered only one sacrifice for sins, and that sacrifice is good for all time. Then he sat down at the right side of God. 13And now Christ waits there for his enemies to be put under his power.#10:13 to be put under his power Literally, “to be made a footstool for his feet.” 14With one sacrifice Christ made his people perfect forever. They are the ones who are being made holy.
15The Holy Spirit also tells us about this. First he says,
16“This is the agreement#10:16 agreement The new and better agreement that God has given to his people through Jesus. See “agreement” in the Word List. I will make
with my people in the future, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts.
I will write my laws in their minds.” Jeremiah 31:33
17Then he says,
“I will forget their sins
and never again remember the evil they have done.” Jeremiah 31:34
18And after everything is forgiven, there is no more need for a sacrifice to pay for sins.
Come Near to God
19And so, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place.#10:19 Most Holy Place Literally, “holies” for “holy of holies,” the spiritual place where God lives and is worshiped. We can do this without fear because of the blood sacrifice of Jesus. 20We enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way that leads through the curtain—Christ’s body. 21And we have a great priest who rules the house of God. 22Sprinkled with the blood of Christ, our hearts have been made free from a guilty conscience, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere heart, full of confidence because of our faith in Christ. 23We must hold on to the hope we have, never hesitating to tell people about it. We can trust God to do what he promised.
Help Each Other Be Strong
24We should think about each other to see how we can encourage each other to show love and do good works. 25We must not quit meeting together, as some are doing. No, we need to keep on encouraging each other. This becomes more and more important as you see the Day getting closer.
Don’t Turn Away From God’s Son
26If we decide to continue sinning after we have learned the truth, then there is no other sacrifice that will take away sins. 27If we continue sinning, all that is left for us is a fearful time of waiting for the judgment and the angry fire that will destroy those who live against God. 28Whoever refused to obey the Law of Moses was found guilty from the testimony given by two or three witnesses. Such people were not forgiven. They were killed. 29So think how much more punishment people deserve who show their hate for the Son of God—people who show they have no respect for the blood sacrifice that began the new agreement and once made them holy or who insult the Spirit of God’s grace. 30We know that God said, “I will punish people for the wrongs they do; I will repay them.”#Quote from Deut. 32:35 And he also said, “The Lord will judge his people.”#Quote from Deut. 32:36 31It is a terrible thing to face punishment from the living God.
Keep the Courage and Patience You Had
32Remember the days when you first learned the truth. You had a hard struggle with much suffering, but you continued strong. 33Sometimes people said hateful things to you and mistreated you in public. And sometimes you helped others who were being treated that same way. 34Yes, you helped them in prison and shared in their suffering. And you were still happy when everything you owned was taken away from you. You continued to be happy, because you knew that you had something much better—something that would continue forever.
35So don’t lose the courage that you had in the past. Your courage will be rewarded richly. 36You must be patient. After you have done what God wants, you will get what he promised you. 37He says,
“Very soon now, the one who is coming
will come and will not be late.
38The person who is right with me
will live by trusting in me.
But I will not be pleased with the one
who turns back in fear.” Habakkuk 2:3-4 (Greek version)
39But we are not those who turn back and are lost. No, we are the people who have faith and are saved.