1A huge cloud of witnesses is all around us. So let us throw off everything that stands in our way. Let us throw off any sin that holds on to us so tightly. And let us keep on running the race marked out for us. 2Let us keep looking to Jesus. He is the one who started this journey of faith. And he is the one who completes the journey of faith. He paid no attention to the shame of the cross. He suffered there because of the joy he was looking forward to. Then he sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3He made it through these attacks by sinners. So think about him. Then you won’t get tired. You won’t lose hope.
God Trains His Children
4You struggle against sin. But you have not yet fought to the point of spilling your blood. 5Have you completely forgotten this word of hope? It speaks to you as a father to his children. It says,
“My son, think of the Lord’s training as important.
Do not lose hope when he corrects you.
6The Lord trains the one he loves.
He corrects everyone he accepts as his son.” (Proverbs 3:11,12)
7Put up with hard times. God uses them to train you. He is treating you as his children. What children are not trained by their parents? 8God trains all his children. But what if he doesn’t train you? Then you are not really his children. You are not God’s true sons and daughters at all. 9Besides, we have all had human fathers who trained us. We respected them for it. How much more should we be trained by the Father of spirits and live! 10Our parents trained us for a little while. They did what they thought was best. But God trains us for our good. He does this so we may share in his holiness. 11No training seems pleasant at the time. In fact, it seems painful. But later on it produces a harvest of godliness and peace. It does this for those who have been trained by it.
12So put your hands to work. Strengthen your legs for the journey. 13“Make level paths for your feet to walk on.” (Proverbs 4:26) Then those who have trouble walking won’t be disabled. Instead, they will be healed.
A Warning and an Appeal
14Try your best to live in peace with everyone. Try hard to be holy. Without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15Be sure that no one misses out on God’s grace. See to it that a bitter plant doesn’t grow up. If it does, it will cause trouble. And it will make many people impure. 16See to it that no one commits sexual sins. See to it that no one is godless like Esau. He sold the rights to what he would receive as the oldest son. He sold them for a single meal. 17As you know, after that he wanted to receive his father’s blessing. But he was turned away. With tears he tried to get the blessing. But he couldn’t change what he had done.
The Mountain of Fear and the Mountain of Joy
18You haven’t come to a mountain that can be touched. You haven’t come to a mountain burning with fire. You haven’t come to darkness, gloom and storm. 19You haven’t come to a blast from God’s trumpet. You haven’t come to a voice speaking to you. When people heard that voice long ago, they begged it not to say anything more to them. 20What God commanded was too much for them. He said, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be killed with stones.” (Exodus 19:12,13) 21The sight was terrifying. Moses said, “I am trembling with fear.” (Deuteronomy 9:19)
22But you have come to Mount Zion. You have come to the city of the living God. This is the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to a joyful gathering of angels. There are thousands and thousands of them. 23You have come to the church of God’s people. God’s first and only Son is over all things. God’s people share in what belongs to his Son. Their names are written in heaven. You have come to God, who is the Judge of all people. You have come to the spirits of godly people who have been made perfect. 24You have come to Jesus. He is the go-between of a new covenant. You have come to the sprinkled blood. It promises better things than the blood of Abel.
25Be sure that you don’t say no to the one who speaks. People did not escape when they said no to the one who warned them on earth. And what if we turn away from the one who warns us from heaven? How much less will we escape! 26At that time his voice shook the earth. But now he has promised, “Once more I will shake the earth. I will also shake the heavens.” (Haggai 2:6) 27The words “once more” point out that what can be shaken can be taken away. I’m talking about created things. Then what can’t be shaken will remain.
28We are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken. So let us be thankful. Then we can worship God in a way that pleases him. Let us worship him with deep respect and wonder. 29Our “God is like a fire that burns everything up.” (Deuteronomy 4:24)