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Faith today

1WITH this great cloud of witnesses around us, therefore, we too must throw off every encumbrance and the sin that all too readily restricts us, and run with resolution the race which lies ahead of us,

2our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the sake of the joy that lay ahead of him, he endured the cross, ignoring its disgrace, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

3Think of him who submitted to such opposition from sinners: that will help you not to lose heart and grow faint.

4In the struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

5You have forgotten the exhortation which addresses you as sons: My son, do not think lightly of the Lord's discipline, or be discouraged when he corrects you;

6for whom the Lord loves he disciplines; he chastises every son whom he acknowledges.

7You must endure it as discipline: God is treating you as sons. Can anyone be a son and not be disciplined by his father?

8If you escape the discipline in which all sons share, you must be illegitimate and not true sons.

9Again, we paid due respect to our human fathers who disciplined us; should we not submit even more readily to our spiritual Father, and so attain life?

10They disciplined us for a short time as they thought best; but he does so for our true welfare, so that we may share his holiness.

11Discipline, to be sure, is never pleasant; at the time it seems painful, but afterwards those who have been trained by it reap the harvest of a peaceful and upright life.

12So brace your drooping arms and shaking knees,

13and keep to a straight path; then the weakened limb will not be put out of joint, but will regain its former powers.

The fruit of righteousness

14AIM at peace with everyone and a holy life, for without that no one will see the Lord.

15Take heed that there is no one among you who forfeits the grace of God, no bitter, noxious weed growing up to contaminate the rest,

16no immoral person, no one worldly-minded like Esau. He sold his birthright for a single meal,

17and you know that afterwards, although he wanted to claim the blessing, he was rejected; though he begged for it to the point of tears, he found no way open for a change of mind.

18IT is not to the tangible, blazing fire of Sinai that you have come, with its darkness, gloom, and whirlwind,

19its trumpet-blast and oracular voice, which the people heard and begged to hear no more;

20for they could not bear the command, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.”

21So appalling was the sight that Moses said, “I shudder with fear.”

22No, you have come to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to myriads of angels,

23to the full concourse and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of good men made perfect,

24and to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, whose sprinkled blood has better things to say than the blood of Abel.

25See that you do not refuse to hear the voice that speaks. Those who refused to hear the oracle speaking on earth found no escape; still less shall we escape if we reject him who speaks from heaven.

26Then indeed his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once again I will shake not only the earth, but the heavens also.”

27The words “once again” point to the removal of all created things, of all that is shaken, so that what cannot be shaken may remain.

28The kingdom we are given is unshakeable; let us therefore give thanks to God for it, and so worship God as he would be worshipped, with reverence and awe;

29for our God is a devouring fire.

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