The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming. It is not the real things themselves. The same sacrifices have to be offered over and over again. They must be offered year after year. That's why the law can never make perfect those who come near to worship.
If it could, wouldn't the sacrifices have stopped being offered? The worshipers would have been made clean once and for all time. They would not have felt guilty for their sins anymore.
But those offerings remind people of their sins every year.
It isn't possible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
So when Christ came into the world, he said, "You didn't want sacrifices and offerings. Instead, you prepared a body for me.
You weren't pleased with burnt offerings and sin offerings.
Then I said, 'Here I am. It is written about me in the scroll. God, I have come to do what you want.' " #1(Psalm 40:6-8)#2
First Christ said, "You didn't want sacrifices and offerings. You didn't want burnt offerings and sin offerings. You weren't pleased with them." He said that even though the law required people to bring them.
Then he said, "Here I am. I have come to do what you want." He did away with the first. He did it to put the second in place.
We have been made holy by what God wanted. We have been made holy because Jesus Christ offered his body once and for all time.
Day after day every priest stands and does his special duties. He offers the same sacrifices again and again. But they can never take away sins.
Jesus our priest offered one sacrifice for sins for all time. Then he sat down at the right hand of God.
Since that time, he waits for his enemies to be put under his control.
By that one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.
The Holy Spirit also gives witness to us about this. First he says,
"This is the covenant I will make with them after that time, says the Lord. I will put my laws in their hearts. I will write my laws on their minds." #1(Jeremiah 31:33)#2
Then he adds, "I will not remember their sins anymore. I will not remember the evil things they have done." #1(Jeremiah 31:34)#2
Where those have been forgiven, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Brothers and sisters, we are not afraid to enter the Most Holy Room. We enter boldly because of the blood of Jesus.
His way is new because he lives. It has been opened for us through the curtain. I'm talking about his body.
We also have a great priest over the house of God.
So let us come near to God with an honest and true heart. Let us come near with a faith that is sure and strong. Our hearts have been sprinkled. Our minds have been cleansed from a sense of guilt. Our bodies have been washed with pure water.
Let us hold firmly to the hope we claim to have. The One who promised is faithful.
Let us consider how we can stir up one another to love. Let us help one another to do good works.
Let us not give up meeting together. Some are in the habit of doing this. Instead, let us cheer each other up with words of hope. Let us do it all the more as you see the day coming when Christ will return.
What if we keep sinning on purpose? What if we do it even after we know the truth? Then there is no offering for our sins.
All we can do is to wait in fear for God to judge. His blazing fire will burn up his enemies.
Anyone who did not obey the law of Moses died without mercy if there were two or three witnesses.
What should be done to anyone who has hated the Son of God or has said no to him? What should be done to a person who treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that makes him holy? What should be done to someone who has made fun of the Holy Spirit who brings God's grace? Don't you think people like that should be punished more than anyone else?
We know the One who said, "I am the One who judges people. I will pay them back."#1(Deuteronomy 32:35)#2 Scripture also says, "The Lord will judge his people."#1(Deuteronomy 32:36; Psalm 135:14)#2
It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Remember those earlier days after you received the light. At that time you stood firm in a great struggle. You did it even in the face of suffering.
Sometimes you were made fun of in front of others. You were treated badly. At other times you stood side by side with people who were being treated like that.
You suffered together with people in prison. When your property was taken from you, you accepted it with joy. You knew that God had given you better and more lasting things.
So don't throw away your bold faith. It will bring you rich rewards.
You need to be faithful. Then you will do what God wants. You will receive what he has promised.
In just a very little while, "The one who is coming will come. He will not wait.
The one who is in the right will live by faith. If he pulls back, I will not be pleased with him." #1(Habakkuk 2:3,4)#2
But we aren't people who pull back and are destroyed. We are people who believe and are saved.