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Christ’s Sacrifice Makes Us Perfect

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. The people who come to worship God continue to offer those sacrifices. But the law can never make those people perfect.

2If the law could make people perfect, then those sacrifices would have already stopped. Those people would already be clean {from their sins}. And they would not still feel guilty for their sins. {But the law cannot do that.}

3Those people’s 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 (God) 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. And you are not pleased with sacrifices 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 the things you want.’” Psalm 40:6–8

8{In this Scripture} he (Christ) 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 (Christ) said, “Here I am, God. I have come to do the things 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 the priests offer the same sacrifices. But those sacrifices can never take away sins.

12But Christ offered only one sacrifice for sins, and that sacrifice is enough for all time. Then Christ sat down at the right side of God.

13And now Christ waits there for his enemies to be put under his power.

14With one sacrifice Christ made his people perfect forever. Those people are the ones who are being made holy.

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

16“This is the agreement 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 forgive their sins and the evil things they do— I will never remember those things again.” Jeremiah 31:34

18And after all these things are 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. We can do this without fear because of the blood (death) of Jesus.

20We can enter through a new way that Jesus opened for us. It is a living way. This new way leads through the curtain—Christ’s body.

21And we have a great priest who rules the house (people) of God.

22We have been cleansed and made free from feelings of guilt. And our bodies have been washed with pure water. So come near to God with a sincere (true) heart, feeling sure because of our faith.

23We should hold strongly to the hope that we have. And we should never fail to tell people about our hope. We can trust God to do what he promised.

Help Each Other Be Strong

24We should think about each other and see how we can help each other to show love and do good things.

25We should not quit meeting together. That’s what some people are doing. But we should {meet together and} encourage each other. You should do this more and more as you see the Day coming.

Don’t Turn Away from Christ

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 we have is fear in waiting for the judgment and the angry fire that will destroy all people who live against God.

28Any person who refused to obey the law of Moses was found guilty from the proof given by two or three witnesses. That person was not forgiven. He was killed.

29So what do you think should be done to a person who shows his hate for the Son of God? Surely that person should have a much worse punishment. Yes, that person should have a worse punishment for not showing respect for the blood (Jesus’ death) that began the new agreement. That blood once made that person holy. And that person should have a worse punishment for showing his hate against the Spirit of God’s grace (kindness).

30We know that God said, “I will punish people {for the wrong things they do}; I will repay them.” And God also said, “The Lord will judge his people.”

31It is a terrible thing {for a sinful person} to fall into the hands of the living God.

Keep the Courage and Patience You Had

32Remember those days when you first learned the truth. You had a hard struggle with many sufferings, but you continued strong.

33Sometimes people said hateful things to you and persecuted you before many people. And sometimes you helped other people who were being treated that same way.

34Yes, you helped those people in prison and shared in their suffering. And you were still happy when all the things you owned were 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, then you will get the things that he promised you.

37In a very short time, “ The One who is coming will come. He will not be late.

38The person who is right with me (God) will have life because of his faith. But if that person turns back {in fear}, I will not be pleased with him.”

39But we are not those people who turn back and are lost. No. We are the people who have faith and are saved.

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