121As for us, we have this large crowd of witnesses round us. So then, let us rid ourselves of everything that gets in the way, and of the sin which holds on to us so tightly, and let us run with determination the race that lies before us. 2Let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from beginning to end. He did not give up because of the cross! On the contrary, because of the joy that was waiting for him, he thought nothing of the disgrace of dying on the cross, and he is now seated at the right-hand side of God's throne.
3Think of what he went through; how he put up with so much hatred from sinners! So do not let yourselves become discouraged and give up. 4For in your struggle against sin you have not yet had to resist to the point of being killed. 5
Have you forgotten the encouraging words which God speaks to you as his sons and daughters?
“My child, pay attention when the Lord corrects you,
and do not be discouraged when he rebukes you.
6Because the Lord corrects everyone he loves,
and punishes everyone he accepts as his child.”7Endure what you suffer as being a father's punishment; your suffering shows that God is treating you as his children. Was there ever a child who was not punished by his father? 8If you are not punished, as all his children are, it means you are not real children, but bastards. 9In the case of our human fathers, they punished us and we respected them. How much more, then, should we submit to our spiritual Father and live! 10Our human fathers punished us for a short time, as it seemed right to them; but God does it for our own good, so that we may share his holiness. 11When we are punished, it seems to us at the time something to make us sad, not glad. Later, however, those who have been disciplined by such punishment reap the peaceful reward of a righteous life.
Lift up your tired hands, then, and strengthen your trembling knees! 13
Keep walking on straight paths, so that the lame foot may not be disabled, but instead be healed.
14Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it. 15
Guard against turning back from the grace of God. Let no one become like a bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison. 16
Let no one become immoral or unspiritual like Esau, who for a single meal sold his rights as the elder son. 17
Afterwards, you know, he wanted to receive his father's blessing; but he was turned away, because he could not find any way to change what he had done, even though in tears he looked for it.12.17 he looked for it; or he tried to get the blessing.
You have not come, as the people of Israel came, to what you can feel, to Mount Sinai with its blazing fire, the darkness and the gloom, the storm, 19the blast of a trumpet, and the sound of a voice. When the people heard the voice, they begged not to hear another word, 20
because they could not bear the order which said, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned to death.” 21
The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, “I am trembling and afraid!”
22Instead, you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, with its thousands of angels. 23You have come to the joyful gathering of God's firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, who is the judge of all people, and to the spirits of good people made perfect. 24
You have come to Jesus, who arranged the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that promises much better things than does the blood of Abel.
Be careful, then, and do not refuse to hear him who speaks. Those who refused to hear the one who gave the divine message on earth did not escape. How much less shall we escape, then, if we turn away from the one who speaks from heaven! 26
His voice shook the earth at that time, but now he has promised, “I will once more shake not only the earth but heaven as well.” 27The words “once more” plainly show that the created things will be shaken and removed, so that the things that cannot be shaken will remain.
28Let us be thankful, then, because we receive a kingdom that cannot be shaken. Let us be grateful and worship God in a way that will please him, with reverence and awe; 29
because our God is indeed a destroying fire.
131Keep on loving one another as Christian brothers and sisters. 2
Remember to welcome strangers in your homes. There were some who did that and welcomed angels without knowing it. 3Remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them. Remember those who are suffering, as though you were suffering as they are.
4Marriage is to be honoured by all, and husbands and wives must be faithful to each other. God will judge those who are immoral and those who commit adultery.
Keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never leave you; I will never abandon you.” 6
Let us be bold, then, and say:
“The Lord is my helper,
I will not be afraid.
What can anyone do to me?”
7Remember your former leaders, who spoke God's message to you. Think back on how they lived and died, and imitate their faith. 8Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and for ever. 9Do not let all kinds of strange teachings lead you from the right way. It is good to receive inner strength from God's grace, and not by obeying rules about foods; those who obey these rules have not been helped by them.
10The priests who serve in the Jewish place of worship have no right to eat any of the sacrifice on our altar. 11
The Jewish High Priest brings the blood of the animals into the Most Holy Place to offer it as a sacrifice for sins; but the bodies of the animals are burnt outside the camp. 12For this reason Jesus also died outside the city, in order to purify the people from sin with his own blood. 13Let us, then, go to him outside the camp and share his shame. 14For there is no permanent city for us here on earth; we are looking for the city which is to come. 15Let us, then, always offer praise to God as our sacrifice through Jesus, which is the offering presented by lips that confess him as Lord. 16Do not forget to do good and to help one another, because these are the sacrifices that please God.
17Obey your leaders and follow their orders. They watch over your souls without resting, since they must give God an account of their service. If you obey them, they will do their work gladly; if not, they will do it with sadness, and that would be of no help to you.
18Keep on praying for us. We are sure we have a clear conscience, because we want to do the right thing at all times. 19And I beg you even more earnestly to pray that God will send me back to you soon.
20-21God has raised from death our Lord Jesus, who is the Great Shepherd of the sheep as the result of his blood,13.20–21 his blood; or his sacrificial death. by which the eternal covenant is sealed. May the God of peace provide you with every good thing you need in order to do his will, and may he, through Jesus Christ, do in us what pleases him. And to Christ be the glory for ever and ever! Amen.
22I beg you, my brothers and sisters, to listen patiently to this message of encouragement; for this letter I have written to you is not very long. 23I want you to know that our brother Timothy has been let out of prison. If he comes soon enough, I will have him with me when I see you.
24Give our greetings to all your leaders and to all God's people. The brothers and sisters from Italy send you their greetings.
25May God's grace be with you all.