The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Epistle of the Blessed Apostle Paul to the Hebrews
What the law contains is only the shadow of those blessings which were still to come, not the full expression of their reality. The same sacrifices are offered year after year without intermission, and still the worshippers can never reach, through the law, their full growth.
If they could, must not the offerings have ceased before now? There would be no guilt left to reproach the consciences of those who come to worship; they would have been cleansed once for all.
No, what these offerings bring with them, year by year, is only the remembrance of sins;
that sins should be taken away by the blood of bulls and goats is impossible.
As Christ comes into the world, he says, No sacrifice, no offering was thy demand; thou hast endowed me, instead, with a body.
Thou hast not found any pleasure in burnt-sacrifices, in sacrifices for sin.
See then, I said, I am coming to fulfil what is written of me, where the book lies unrolled; to do thy will, O my God.✻
First he says, Thou didst not demand victim or offering, the burnt-sacrifice, the sacrifice for sin, nor hast thou found any pleasure in them; in anything, that is, which the law has to offer,
and then:—I said, See, my God, I am coming to do thy will. He must clear the ground first, so as to build up afterwards.
In accordance with this divine will we have been sanctified by an offering made once for all, the body of Jesus Christ.
One high priest after another must stand there, day after day, offering again and again the same sacrifices, which can never take away our sins;
whereas he sits for ever at the right hand of God, offering for our sins a sacrifice that is never repeated.✻
He only waits, until all his enemies are made a footstool under his feet;✻
by a single offering he has completed his work, for all time, in those whom he sanctifies.
And here the Holy Spirit adds his testimony. He has been saying,
This is the covenant I will grant them, the Lord says, when that time comes; I will implant my laws in their hearts, engrave them in their innermost thoughts. And what follows?
I will not remember their sins and their transgressions any more.✻
Where they are so remitted, there is no longer any room for a sin-offering.
Why then, brethren, we can enter the sanctuary with confidence through the blood of Christ.
He has opened up for us a new, a living approach, by way of the veil, I mean, his mortality.✻
A great priest is ours, who has dominion over God’s house.
Let us come forward with sincere hearts in the full assurance of the faith, our guilty consciences purified by sprinkling, our bodies washed clean in hallowed water.✻
Do not let us waver in acknowledging the hope we cherish; we have a promise from one who is true to his word.
Let us keep one another in mind, always ready with incitements to charity and to acts of piety,
not abandoning, as some do, our common assembly, but encouraging one another; all the more, as you see the great day drawing nearer.
If we go on sinning wilfully, when once the full knowledge of the truth has been granted to us, we have no further sacrifice for sin to look forward to;✻
nothing but a terrible expectation of judgement, a fire that will eagerly consume the rebellious.
Let a man be convicted by two or three witnesses of defying the law of Moses, and he dies, without hope of mercy.✻
What of the man who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has reckoned the blood of the covenant, that blood which sanctified him, as a thing unclean, mocked at the Spirit that brought him grace? Will not he incur a punishment much more severe?
It is one we know well, who has told us, Vengeance is for me, 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.
Remember those early days, when the light first came to you, and the hard probation of suffering you went through.
There were times when you yourselves were publicly exposed to calumny and persecution; there was a time when you took part with those who had the same path to tread.
You shewed your sympathy with those who were in bonds; and when you were robbed of your goods you took it cheerfully, as men who knew that a higher, a more lasting good was yours.
Do not throw away that confidence of yours, with its rich hope of reward;
you still need endurance, if you are to attain the prize God has promised to those who do his will.
Only a brief moment, now, before he who is coming will be here; he will not linger on the way.
It is faith that brings life to the man whom I accept as justified; if he shrinks back, he shall win no favour with me.✻
Not for us to shrink away, and be lost; it is for us to have faith, and save our souls.
The Holy Bible