The Supremacy of Christ – Our Incentive

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Do Not Grow Weary
3 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. 4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
6 For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”

7 It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Author and Perfecter

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Faith’s Endurance

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of ethings not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by fthe word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of gthings that are visible.

4 By faith hAbel offered to God ia more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And jthrough his faith, though he died, he kstill speaks. 5 By faith lEnoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God mmust believe that he exists and mthat he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith nNoah, being warned by God concerning oevents as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of pthe righteousness that comes by faith.

8 By faith qAbraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place rthat he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in sthe land of promise, as in a foreign land, tliving in tents uwith Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to vthe city that has wfoundations, xwhose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith ySarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered zhim faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and ahim as good as dead, were born descendants bas many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, cnot having received the things promised, but dhaving seen them and greeted them from afar, and ehaving acknowledged that they were fstrangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, gthey would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed hto be called their God, for ihe has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith jAbraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, k“Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 lHe considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith mIsaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith nJacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, obowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith pJoseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

23 By faith qMoses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of rthe king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, srefused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 tchoosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy uthe fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 vHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to wthe reward. 27 By faith he xleft Egypt, ynot being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured zas seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith ahe kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith bthe people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith cthe walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith dRahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she ehad given a friendly welcome to the spies.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of fGideon, gBarak, hSamson, iJephthah, of jDavid and kSamuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, lstopped the mouths of lions, 34 mquenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, nbecame mighty in war, nput foreign armies to flight. 35 oWomen received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even pchains and imprisonment. 37 qThey were stoned, they were sawn in two,1 rthey were killed with the sword. sThey went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—twandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, uthough commended through their faith, udid not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, vthat apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Faith Is Action

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of ethings not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by fthe word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of gthings that are visible.

4 By faith hAbel offered to God ia more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And jthrough his faith, though he died, he kstill speaks. 5 By faith lEnoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God mmust believe that he exists and mthat he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith nNoah, being warned by God concerning oevents as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of pthe righteousness that comes by faith.

8 By faith qAbraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place rthat he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in sthe land of promise, as in a foreign land, tliving in tents uwith Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to vthe city that has wfoundations, xwhose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith ySarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered zhim faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and ahim as good as dead, were born descendants bas many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, cnot having received the things promised, but dhaving seen them and greeted them from afar, and ehaving acknowledged that they were fstrangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, gthey would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed hto be called their God, for ihe has prepared for them a city.

17 By faith jAbraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, 18 of whom it was said, k“Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” 19 lHe considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back. 20 By faith mIsaac invoked future blessings on Jacob and Esau. 21 By faith nJacob, when dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, obowing in worship over the head of his staff. 22 By faith pJoseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones.

23 By faith qMoses, when he was born, was hidden for three months by his parents, because they saw that the child was beautiful, and they were not afraid of rthe king’s edict. 24 By faith Moses, when he was grown up, srefused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, 25 tchoosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy uthe fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 vHe considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to wthe reward. 27 By faith he xleft Egypt, ynot being afraid of the anger of the king, for he endured zas seeing him who is invisible. 28 By faith ahe kept the Passover and sprinkled the blood, so that the Destroyer of the firstborn might not touch them.

29 By faith bthe people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, but the Egyptians, when they attempted to do the same, were drowned. 30 By faith cthe walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith dRahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she ehad given a friendly welcome to the spies.

32 And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of fGideon, gBarak, hSamson, iJephthah, of jDavid and kSamuel and the prophets— 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, lstopped the mouths of lions, 34 mquenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, nbecame mighty in war, nput foreign armies to flight. 35 oWomen received back their dead by resurrection. Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even pchains and imprisonment. 37 qThey were stoned, they were sawn in two,1 rthey were killed with the sword. sThey went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—twandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, uthough commended through their faith, udid not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better for us, vthat apart from us they should not be made perfect.

Faith in Action

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of ethings not seen. 2 For by it the people of old received their commendation. 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by fthe word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of gthings that are visible.

4 By faith hAbel offered to God ia more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And jthrough his faith, though he died, he kstill speaks. 5 By faith lEnoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God mmust believe that he exists and mthat he rewards those who seek him. 7 By faith nNoah, being warned by God concerning oevents as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of pthe righteousness that comes by faith.

8 By faith qAbraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place rthat he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. 9 By faith he went to live in sthe land of promise, as in a foreign land, tliving in tents uwith Isaac and Jacob, heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to vthe city that has wfoundations, xwhose designer and builder is God. 11 By faith ySarah herself received power to conceive, even when she was past the age, since she considered zhim faithful who had promised. 12 Therefore from one man, and ahim as good as dead, were born descendants bas many as the stars of heaven and as many as the innumerable grains of sand by the seashore.

13 These all died in faith, cnot having received the things promised, but dhaving seen them and greeted them from afar, and ehaving acknowledged that they were fstrangers and exiles on the earth. 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, gthey would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed hto be called their God, for ihe has prepared for them a city.

The Greater Assurance

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

The Full Assurance of Faith
19 Therefore, brothers,[c] since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

32 But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, 33 sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. 34 For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. 35 Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. 36 For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised. 37 For,

“Yet a little while,
and the coming one will come and will not delay;
38 but my righteous one shall live by faith,
and if he shrinks back,
my soul has no pleasure in him.”

39 But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

A Fulfilled Will

For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. 2 Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? 3 But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. 4 For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.

5 Consequently, when Christ[a] came into the world, he said,

“Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
6 in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
7 Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.’”

8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), 9 then he added, “Behold, I have come to do your will.” He does away with the first in order to establish the second. 10 And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

11 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. 12 But when Christ[b] had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, 13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.

15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,

16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”

17 then he adds,

“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

18 Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin.

The Shedding of His Blood

15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.[a] 16 For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. 17 For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. 18 Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you.” 21 And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. 22 Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

23 Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, 26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.

Eternal Redemption

Now even the first covenant had regulations for worship and an earthly place of holiness. 2 For a tent[a] was prepared, the first section, in which were the lampstand and the table and the bread of the Presence.[b] It is called the Holy Place. 3 Behind the second curtain was a second section[c] called the Most Holy Place, 4 having the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant covered on all sides with gold, in which was a golden urn holding the manna, and Aaron’s staff that budded, and the tablets of the covenant. 5 Above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of these things we cannot now speak in detail.

6 These preparations having thus been made, the priests go regularly into the first section, performing their ritual duties, 7 but into the second only the high priest goes, and he but once a year, and not without taking blood, which he offers for himself and for the unintentional sins of the people. 8 By this the Holy Spirit indicates that the way into the holy places is not yet opened as long as the first section is still standing 9 (which is symbolic for the present age).[d] According to this arrangement, gifts and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper, 10 but deal only with food and drink and various washings, regulations for the body imposed until the time of reformation.

Redemption Through the Blood of Christ
11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come,[e] then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify[f] for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our[g] conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

A Better Covenant

Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 a minister in the holy places, in the true tent[a] that the Lord set up, not man. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer gifts and sacrifices; thus it is necessary for this priest also to have something to offer. 4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things. For when Moses was about to erect the tent, he was instructed by God, saying, “See that you make everything according to the pattern that was shown you on the mountain.” 6 But as it is, Christ[b] has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises. 7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

8 For he finds fault with them when he says:[c]

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah,
9 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers
on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt.
For they did not continue in my covenant,
and so I showed no concern for them, declares the Lord.
10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

Little Farms Chapel