The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Epistle of the Blessed Apostle Paul to the Hebrews
Why then, since we are watched from above by such a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of all that weighs us down, of the sinful habit that clings so closely, and run, with all endurance, the race for which we are entered.
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the origin and the crown of all faith, who, to win his prize of blessedness, endured the cross and made light of its shame, Jesus, who now sits on the right of God’s throne.
Take your standard from him, from his endurance, from the enmity the wicked bore him, and you will not grow faint, you will not find your souls unmanned.
Your protest, your battle against sin, has not yet called for bloodshed;
yet you have lost sight, already, of those words of comfort in which God addresses you as his sons; My son, do not undervalue the correction which the Lord sends thee, do not be unmanned when he reproves thy faults.
It is where he loves that he bestows correction; there is no recognition for any child of his, without chastisement.✻
Be patient, then, while correction lasts; God is treating you as his children. Was there ever a son whom his father did not correct?
No, correction is the common lot of all; you must be bastards, not true sons, if you are left without it.
We have known what it was to accept correction from earthly fathers, and with reverence; shall we not submit, far more willingly, to the Father of a world of spirits, and draw life from him?
They, after all, only corrected us for a short while, at their own caprice; he does it for our good, to give us a share in that holiness which is his.
For the time being, all correction is painful rather than pleasant; but afterwards, when it has done its work of discipline, it yields a harvest of good dispositions, to our great peace.
Come then, stiffen the sinews of drooping hand, and flagging knee,
and plant your footprints in a straight track, so that the man who goes lame may not stumble out of the path, but regain strength instead.
Your aim must be peace with all men, and that holiness without which no one will ever see God.
Take good care that none of you is false to God’s grace, that no poisonous shoot is allowed to spring up, and contaminate many of you by its influence.✻
None of you must be guilty of fornication, none of you earthly-minded, as Esau was, when he sold his birthright for a single dish of food;✻
afterwards, you may be sure, he was eager enough to have the blessing allotted to him, but no, he was rejected. He pleaded for it in tears, but no second chance was given him.✻
What is the scene, now, of your approach to God? It is no longer a mountain that can be discerned by touch; no longer burning fire, and whirlwind, and darkness, and storm.
No trumpet sounds; no utterance comes from that voice, which made those who listened to it pray that they might hear no more
(daunted by the command, that if even a beast touched the mountain it should die by stoning.✻
Moses said, in terror at the sight, I am overcome with fear and trembling).✻
The scene of your approach now is mount Sion, is the heavenly Jerusalem, city of the living God; here are gathered thousands upon thousands of angels,
here is the assembly of those first-born sons whose names are written in heaven, here is God sitting in judgement on all men, here are the spirits of just men, now made perfect;
here is Jesus, the spokesman of the new covenant, and the sprinkling of his blood, which has better things to say than Abel’s had.
Beware of excusing yourselves from listening to him who is speaking to you. There was no escape for those others, who tried to excuse themselves when God uttered his warnings on earth; still less for us, if we turn away when he speaks from heaven.
His voice, even then, made the earth rock; now, he has announced to us that it shall happen again, only once; he will shake earth and heaven too.✻
Only once again; that means that what is shaken, this created universe, will be removed; only the things which cannot be shaken are to stand firm.
The kingdom we have inherited is one which cannot be shaken; in gratitude for this, let us worship God as he would have us worship him, in awe and reverence;✻
no doubt of it, our God is a consuming fire.✻
The Holy Bible