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10 The law is only an unclear picture of the good things coming in the future. It is not a perfect picture of the real things. The people under the law offered the same sacrifices every year. These sacrifices can never make perfect those who come near to worship God. If the law could make them perfect, the sacrifices would have already stopped. The worshipers would be made clean, and they would no longer feel guilty for their sins. These sacrifices remind them of their sins every year, because it is not possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

So when Christ came into the world, he said:

“You do not want sacrifices and offerings.
    But you have prepared a body for me.
You do not ask for burnt offerings
    and offerings to take away sins.
Then I said, ‘Look, I have come.
    It is written about me in the book.
    My God, I have come to do what you want.’” Psalm 40:6-8

In this Scripture he first said, “You do not want sacrifices and offerings. You do not ask for burnt offerings and offerings to take away sins.” (These are all sacrifices that the law commands.) Then he said, “Here I am. I have come to do what you want.” So God ends the first system of sacrifices so that he can set up the new system. 10 Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do. And because of this, we are made holy through the sacrifice of his body. Christ made this sacrifice only once, and for all time.

11 Every day the priests stand and do their religious service. Again and again they offer the same sacrifices. But those sacrifices can never take away sins. 12 But Christ offered one sacrifice for sins, and it is good forever. Then he sat down at the right side of God. 13 And now Christ waits there for his enemies to be put under his power. 14 With one sacrifice he made perfect forever those who are being made holy.

15 The Holy Spirit also tells us about this. First he says:

16 “In the future I will make this agreement[a]
    with the people of Israel, says the Lord.
I will put my teachings in their hearts.
    And I will write them on their minds.” Jeremiah 31:33

17 Then he says:

“Their sins and the evil things they do—
    I will not remember anymore.” Jeremiah 31:34

18 And when these have been forgiven, there is no more need for a sacrifice for sins.

Continue to Trust God

19 So, brothers, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place. We can do this without fear because of the blood of Jesus’ death. 20 We can enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way. It leads through the curtain—Christ’s body. 21 And we have a great priest over God’s house. 22 So let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith. We have been cleansed and made free from feelings of guilt. And our bodies have been washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold firmly to the hope that we have confessed. We can trust God to do what he promised.

24 Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds. 25 You should not stay away from the church meetings, as some are doing. But you should meet together and encourage each other. Do this even more as you see the Day[b] coming.

26 If we decide to go on sinning after we have learned the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice for sins. 27 There is nothing but fear in waiting for the judgment and the angry fire that will destroy all those who live against God. 28 Any person who refused to obey the law of Moses was found guilty from the proof given by two or three witnesses. He was put to death without mercy. 29 So what do you think should be done to a person who does not respect the Son of God? He looks at the blood of the agreement, the blood that made him holy, as no different from other men’s blood. He insults the Spirit of God’s grace. Surely he should have a much worse punishment. 30 We know that God said, “I will punish those who do wrong. I will repay them.”[c] And he also said, “The Lord will judge his people.”[d] 31 It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 Remember those days in the past when you first learned the truth. You had a hard struggle with many sufferings, but you continued strong. 33 Sometimes you were hurt and persecuted before crowds of people. And sometimes you shared with those who were being treated that way. 34 You helped the prisoners. And you even had joy when all that you owned was taken from you. You were joyful because you knew that you had something better and more lasting.

35 So do not lose the courage that you had in the past. It has a great reward. 36 You must hold on, so you can do what God wants and receive what he has promised. 37 For in a very short time,

“The One who is coming will come.
    He will not be late.
38 The person who is right with me
    will have life because of his faith.
But if he turns back with fear,
    I will not be pleased with him.” Habakkuk 2:3-4

39 But we are not those who turn back and are lost. We are people who have faith and are saved.

Footnotes

  1. 10:16 agreement God gives a contract or agreement to his people. For the Jews, this agreement was the law of Moses. But now God has given a better agreement to his people through Christ.
  2. 10:25 Day The day Christ will come to judge all people and take his people to live with him.
  3. 10:30 “I . . . them.” Quotation from Deuteronomy 32:35.
  4. 10:30 “The Lord . . . people.” Quotation from Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14.

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