So then let's also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let's throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up,
and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith's pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God's throne.
Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won't be discouraged and you won't give up.
In your struggle against sin, you haven't resisted yet to the point of shedding blood,
and you have forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons and daughters: My child, don't make light of the Lord's discipline or give up when you are corrected by him,
because the Lord disciplines whomever he loves, and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts.
Bear hardship for the sake of discipline. God is treating you like sons and daughters! What child isn't disciplined by his or her father?
But if you don't experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters.
What's more, we had human parents who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live?
Our human parents disciplined us for a little while, as it seemed best to them, but God does it for our benefit so that we can share his holiness.
No discipline is fun while it lasts, but it seems painful at the time. Later, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.
So strengthen your drooping hands and weak knees!
Make straight paths for your feet so that if any part is lame, it will be healed rather than injured more seriously.
Pursue the goal of peace along with everyone—and holiness as well, because no one will see the Lord without it.
Make sure that no one misses out on God's grace. Make sure that no root of bitterness grows up that might cause trouble and pollute many people.
Make sure that no one becomes sexually immoral or ungodly like Esau. He sold his inheritance as the oldest son for one meal.
You know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected because he couldn't find a way to change his heart and life, though he looked for it with tears.
You haven't drawn near to something that can be touched: a burning fire, darkness, shadow, a whirlwind,
a blast of a trumpet, and a sound of words that made the ones who heard it beg that there wouldn't be one more word.
They couldn't stand the command, If even a wild animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.
The sight was so frightening that Moses said, "I'm terrified and shaking!"
But you have drawn near to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, to countless angels in a festival gathering,
to the assembly of God's firstborn children who are registered in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect,
to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than Abel's blood.
See to it that you don't resist the one who is speaking. If the people didn't escape when they refused to listen to the one who warned them on earth, how will we escape if we reject the one who is warning from heaven?
His voice shook the earth then, but now he has made a promise: Still once more I will shake not only the earth but heaven also.
The words "still once more" reveal the removal of what is shaken—the things that are part of this creation—so that what isn't shaken will remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can't be shaken, let's continue to express our gratitude. With this gratitude, let's serve in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe,
because our God really is a consuming fire.