Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the true form of these realities, it a can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who approach.
Otherwise, would they not have ceased being offered, since the worshipers, cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin?
But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sin year after year.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
Consequently, when Christ b came into the world, he said, "Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired, but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, "See, God, I have come to do your will, O God' (in the scroll of the book c it is written of me)."
When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law),
then he added, "See, I have come to do your will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second.
And it is by God's will d that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
And every priest stands day after day at his service, offering again and again the same sacrifices that can never take away sins.
But when Christ e had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, "he sat down at the right hand of God,"
and since then has been waiting "until his enemies would be made a footstool for his feet."
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
And the Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,
"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds,"
he also adds, "I will remember f their sins and their lawless deeds no more."
Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.
Therefore, my friends, g since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus,
by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain (that is, through his flesh),
and since we have a great priest over the house of God,
let us approach with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who has promised is faithful.
And let us consider how to provoke one another to love and good deeds,
not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
For if we willfully persist in sin after having received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
Anyone who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy "on the testimony of two or three witnesses."
How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by those who have spurned the Son of God, profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace?
For we know the one who said, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge his people."
It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
But recall those earlier days when, after you had been enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings,
sometimes being publicly exposed to abuse and persecution, and sometimes being partners with those so treated.
For you had compassion for those who were in prison, and you cheerfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you yourselves possessed something better and more lasting.
Do not, therefore, abandon that confidence of yours; it brings a great reward.
For you need endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.
For yet "in a very little while, the one who is coming will come and will not delay;
but my righteous one will live by faith. My soul takes no pleasure in anyone who shrinks back."
But we are not among those who shrink back and so are lost, but among those who have faith and so are saved.
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. (New Revised Standard w/ Apocrypha)