For, since the Law exhibits only an outline of the blessings to come and not a perfect representation of the things themselves, the priests can never, by repeating the same sacrifices which they continually offer year after year, give complete freedom from sin to those who draw near.
For then would not the sacrifices have ceased to be offered, because the consciences of the worshippers--who in that case would now have been cleansed once for all--would no longer be burdened with sins?
But in those sacrifices sins are recalled to memory year after year.
For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.
That is why, when He comes into the world, He says, "Sacrifice and offering Thou has not desired, but a body Thou hast prepared for Me.
In whole burnt-offerings and in sin-offerings Thou hast taken no pleasure.
Then I said, `I have come--in the roll of the book it is written concerning Me--to do Thy will, O God.'"
After saying the words I have just quoted, "Sacrifices and offerings or whole burnt-offerings and sin-offerings Thou hast not desired or taken pleasure in" --all such being offered in obedience to the Law--
He then adds, "I have come to do Thy will." He does away with the first in order to establish the second.
It is through that divine will that we have been set free from sin, through the offering of Jesus Christ as our sacrifice once for all.
And while every priest stands ministering, day after day, and constantly offering the same sacrifices--though such can never rid us of our sins--
this Priest, on the contrary, after offering for sins a single sacrifice of perpetual efficacy, took His seat at God's right hand,
waiting from that time onward until His enemies be put as a footstool under His feet.
For by a single offering He has for ever completed the blessing for those whom He is setting free from sin.
And the Holy Spirit also gives us His testimony; for when He had said,
"`This is the Covenant that I will make with them after those days,' says the Lord: `I will put My laws upon their hearts and will write them on their minds;'"
He adds, "And their sins and offences I will remember no longer."
But where these have been forgiven no further offering for sin is required.
Since then, brethren, we have free access to the Holy place through the blood of Jesus,
by the new and ever-living way which He opened up for us through the rending of the veil--that is to say, of His earthly nature--
and since we have a great Priest who has authority over the house of God,
let us draw near with sincerity and unfaltering faith, having had our hearts sprinkled, once for all, from consciences oppressed with sin, and our bodies bathed in pure water.
Let us hold firmly to an unflinching avowal of our hope, for He is faithful who gave us the promises.
And let us bestow thought on one another with a view to arousing one another to brotherly love and right conduct;
not neglecting--as some habitually do--to meet together, but encouraging one another, and doing this all the more since you can see the day of Christ approaching.
For if we wilfully persist in sin after having received the full knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains in reserve any other sacrifice for sins.
There remains nothing but a certain awful expectation of judgement, and the fury of a fire which before long will devour the enemies of the truth.
Any one who bids defiance to the Law of Moses is put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.
How much severer punishment, think you, will he be held to deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, has not regarded as holy that Covenant-blood with which he was set free from sin, and has insulted the Spirit from whom comes grace?
For we know who it is that has said, "Vengeance belongs to Me: I will pay back;" and again, "The Lord will be His people's judge."
It is an awful thing to fall into the hands of the ever-living God.
But continually recall to mind the days now past, when on being first enlightened you went through a great conflict and many sufferings.
This was partly through allowing yourselves to be made a public spectacle amid reproaches and persecutions, and partly through coming forward to share the sufferings of those who were thus treated.
For you not only showed sympathy with those who were imprisoned, but you even submitted with joy when your property was taken from you, being well aware that you have in your own selves a more valuable possession and one which will remain.
Therefore do not cast from you your confident hope, for it will receive a vast reward.
For you stand in need of patient endurance, so that, as the result of having done the will of God, you may receive the promised blessing.
For there is still but a short time and then "The coming One will come and will not delay.
But it is by faith that My righteous servant shall live; and if he shrinks back, My soul takes no pleasure in him."
But we are not people who shrink back and perish, but are among those who believe and gain possession of their souls.