1 God's laws which he gave to Moses are like a shadow of the good things that would come later. But those laws do not show exactly what those good things are like. They say that the priests must continue to offer the same sacrifices on behalf of the people, year after year. So those sacrifices can never make the people completely clean when they come to worship God. 2 If the old rules could do that, the priests would have stopped offering sacrifices. The people who came to worship God would have become completely clean once, for all time. They would no longer have trouble in their minds about their sins. 3 But as it is, those sacrifices every year cause people to remember their sins. 4 We know that the blood of bulls and of goats cannot remove the punishment for sins. 5 So, when Christ came into the world, he said to his Father,
‘You have not wanted people to offer sacrifices and other gifts to you.
Instead, you have prepared a body for me to offer to you.
6 Sacrifices do not make you happy.
If people burn whole animals as a sacrifice,
or if they offer a sacrifice to make them clean from their sins,
that does not make you happy.
7 Then I said, “Here I am, my God.
I have come to do what you want.
That is what it says about me in the Bible.” ’
8 So think about what Christ said there. First he said to God, ‘You have not wanted gifts and sacrifices of animals. Any kind of sacrifice like that does not make you happy.’ But we know that Moses' rules taught about those sacrifices. God's law said that they were necessary. 9 Then Christ said, ‘Here I am. I have come to do what you want.’ In that way, Christ took away the first agreement and its rules about sacrifices. Christ's sacrifice of his own body is the new way that God forgives our sins. 10 Jesus Christ was ready to do what God wanted. He offered his own body to God once, for all time. Because of Christ's sacrifice, God has made us clean so that we belong to him.
11 Every day, the priests do their work to serve God. They offer the same sacrifices to God again and again. But those sacrifices can never take away people's sins. 12 But Christ, our special priest, offered one sacrifice to take away our sins. He did that once, for all time. After that, he sat down at God's right side to rule with him. 13 Since then, he waits for God to win against his enemies completely. They will become like a place for him to put his feet. 14 So, as a result of his one sacrifice, Christ has made God's people completely clean for all time.
15 God's Holy Spirit also shows us that these things are true. He says this first:
16 ‘The Lord God says:
After the time of the old agreement,
I will make a new agreement with my people.
It will be like this:
I will put my laws deep inside them.
I will write them into their thoughts.’
17 Then he says this:
‘I will not continue to remember their sins
when they do not obey my laws.’
18 So, that is the way that God forgives our sins. When God has done that, we do not need to have any other sacrifice to take away our sins.
We must continue to trust God
19 So then, Christian friends, we see that Jesus died as a sacrifice on our behalf. Because of that, we may go into God's Most Holy Place. We are not afraid to do that. 20 Jesus has opened a new way for us to come near to God. That way gives us life with God. It leads us through the curtain into God's Most Holy Place. Jesus opened that curtain for us when he offered his own body to God as a sacrifice. 21 We have a great priest who rules the people of God's house. 22 So we should come near to God and we should not be afraid. But we must be honest and we must continue to trust him. He has made us clean from the dirt of our sins. Our thoughts no longer give us trouble about our sins. We have become clean. It is like he has washed our bodies with clean water.
10:20The curtain in the tabernacle was like a door to the Most Holy Place. When Jesus died on the cross, the curtain tore into two pieces. See Matthew 27:51. That is a picture of what is really true in heaven. When Jesus died on our behalf, he opened the way to God. The blood of his sacrifice makes us clean because God has forgiven our sins if we believe in Jesus. So now, we do not need to be afraid when we come to God. We can come near to him and he will not punish us. We are like people who can go into the Most Holy Room in the tabernacle.
10:22In the old agreement, they threw the blood of a sacrifice on the priests to show that they were clean. But in the new agreement, God has made us completely clean, not just on the outside. At a Christian baptism, they use water to show that a person now believes in Christ. That person is now clean because of the death of Christ as a sacrifice on his behalf.
23 We know that we can trust God to do the things that he had promised. So, we must continue to expect those things. We must tell other people that we trust God. We should not stop doing that. 24 We should think about how we can help one another. We want everyone to show love to each other. We want everyone to do good things to help one another. 25 Some people have stopped meeting with the group of Christians. But that is not good. We should all continue to meet together. We need to help one another to be strong and brave. That is now even more important, because the Lord's great day is coming. You know that the Lord will return soon.
We must not turn away from Jesus Christ
26 Now that we have learned what is true, we must continue to believe in Jesus. If we know God's true message, but we still choose to do wrong things, God will not forgive us. There is no other sacrifice that will take away our sins. 27 We know that God will judge us, and that will make us very afraid. Because we know that God will punish everyone who is against him. That punishment will be a very hot fire that destroys people. 28 In the old agreement, anyone who refused to obey Moses' rules had to die. If two or three people said that he had done a bad thing, that person had to die. They would not forgive him.
10:28Israel's people could not punish someone unless there were two or three people who saw him do a bad thing. If these people could say that he had done a bad thing against God's laws, then the person had to be punished. See Deuteronomy 17:6; Numbers 35:30.
29 So think about a person who has turned against the Son of God. That person's punishment will surely be much worse! He says that Christ's sacrifice has no value for him. He has made God's new agreement seem like something dirty. It was Christ's death on the cross that made that person clean, so that he belonged to God. But now that person has insulted God's Spirit, who brings God's kind help to us. 30 We know God and his message. And God said this: ‘I am the one who will punish people for their sins. I will give them the punishment that they ought to receive.’ God also said this: ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ 31 Yes, if God takes hold of you to punish you, that will make you very afraid! He is the God who lives for ever with great power.
32 Remember what happened to you in those early days. When you first understood the message about Christ, you had many troubles. But you continued to be strong. 33 Sometimes people insulted you. They made you ashamed in front of other people. Sometimes you chose to help other Christians who had trouble like that. Their troubles became your troubles. 34 You were kind to Christians who were in prison. When people took away your own things, you still chose to be happy. You knew that you had something better that would belong to you for ever.
10:34People who were enemies of these Christians had taken away the Christians' own things. But nobody can take away what God has given to Christians. God had forgiven these Christians because of Jesus' sacrifice. And he had given them new lives, with a new purpose. They knew that they would always live with God.
35 So continue to be strong in your thoughts. If you continue to trust God, you will receive great things. 36 You need to be patient and strong. Then you will continue to do what God wants. As a result, you will receive what God has promised. 37 This is what the Bible says:
‘In a very short time,
my special servant will come.
He is the one that I promised to send to you.
He will not be late.
38 The person that I have accepted as right will live.
That person will live because he trusts me.
But if any one of them is afraid and he turns back,
I will not be happy with that person.’
10:38See Habakkuk 2:4. Christians must continue to trust God when troubles come.
39 But we are not like those people who are afraid and who turn back. If we were, God would destroy us. But we are people who continue to trust God. And so, our lives are safe with God.