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Hebrews 12-13 Common English Bible (CEB)

Let’s also run the race

12 So then let’s also run the race that is laid out in front of us, since we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. Let’s throw off any extra baggage, get rid of the sin that trips us up, and fix our eyes on Jesus, faith’s pioneer and perfecter. He endured the cross, ignoring the shame, for the sake of the joy that was laid out in front of him, and sat down at the right side of God’s throne.

Run the race with discipline

Think about the one who endured such opposition from sinners so that you won’t be discouraged and you won’t give up. In your struggle against sin, you haven’t resisted yet to the point of shedding blood, and you have forgotten the encouragement that addresses you as sons and daughters:

My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline
    or give up when you are corrected by him,
because the Lord disciplines whomever he loves,
        and he punishes every son or daughter whom he accepts.[a]

Bear hardship for the sake of discipline. God is treating you like sons and daughters! What child isn’t disciplined by his or her father? But if you don’t experience discipline, which happens to all children, then you are illegitimate and not real sons and daughters. What’s more, we had human parents who disciplined us, and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live? 10 Our human parents disciplined us for a little while, as it seemed best to them, but God does it for our benefit so that we can share his holiness. 11 No discipline is fun while it lasts, but it seems painful at the time. Later, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness for those who have been trained by it.

12 So strengthen your drooping hands and weak knees! 13 Make straight paths for your feet so that if any part is lame, it will be healed rather than injured more seriously. 14 Pursue the goal of peace along with everyone—and holiness as well, because no one will see the Lord without it. 15 Make sure that no one misses out on God’s grace. Make sure that no root of bitterness grows up that might cause trouble and pollute many people. 16 Make sure that no one becomes sexually immoral or ungodly like Esau. He sold his inheritance as the oldest son for one meal. 17 You know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected because he couldn’t find a way to change his heart and life, though he looked for it with tears.

Priestly service in heavenly Jerusalem

18 You haven’t drawn near to something that can be touched: a burning fire, darkness, shadow, a whirlwind, 19 a blast of a trumpet, and a sound of words that made the ones who heard it beg that there wouldn’t be one more word. 20 They couldn’t stand the command, If even a wild animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.[b] 21 The sight was so frightening that Moses said, “I’m terrified and shaking!”

22 But you have drawn near to Mount Zion, the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, to countless angels in a festival gathering, 23 to the assembly of God’s firstborn children who are registered in heaven, to God the judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous who have been made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks better than Abel’s blood.

25 See to it that you don’t resist the one who is speaking. If the people didn’t escape when they refused to listen to the one who warned them on earth, how will we escape if we reject the one who is warning from heaven? 26 His voice shook the earth then, but now he has made a promise: Still once more I will shake not only the earth but heaven also.[c] 27 The words “still once more” reveal the removal of what is shaken—the things that are part of this creation—so that what isn’t shaken will remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that can’t be shaken, let’s continue to express our gratitude.[d] With this gratitude, let’s serve[e] in a way that is pleasing to God with respect and awe, 29 because our God really is a consuming fire.

Our acts of service and sacrifice

13 Keep loving each other like family. Don’t neglect to open up your homes to guests, because by doing this some have been hosts to angels without knowing it. Remember prisoners as if you were in prison with them, and people who are mistreated as if you were in their place. Marriage must be honored in every respect, with no cheating on the relationship, because God will judge the sexually immoral person and the person who commits adultery. Your way of life should be free from the love of money, and you should be content with what you have. After all, he has said, I will never leave you or abandon you.[f] This is why we can confidently say,

The Lord is my helper,
    and I won’t be afraid.
What can people do to me?[g]

Remember your leaders who spoke God’s word to you. Imitate their faith as you consider the way their lives turned out. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever!

Don’t be misled by the many strange teachings out there. It’s a good thing for the heart to be strengthened by grace rather than by food. Food doesn’t help those who live in this context. 10 We have an altar, and those who serve as priests in the meeting tent don’t have the right to eat from it. 11 The blood of the animals is carried into the holy of holies by the high priest as an offering for sin, and their bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy with his own blood.

13 So now, let’s go to him outside the camp, bearing his shame. 14 We don’t have a permanent city here, but rather we are looking for the city that is still to come.

15 So let’s continually offer up a sacrifice of praise through him, which is the fruit from our lips that confess his name. 16 Don’t forget to do good and to share what you have because God is pleased with these kinds of sacrifices.

Closing greeting and blessing

17 Rely on your leaders and defer to them, because they watch over your whole being as people who are going to be held responsible for you. They need to be able to do this with pleasure and not with complaints about you, because that wouldn’t help you. 18 Pray for us. We’re sure that we have a good conscience, and we want to do the right thing in every way. 19 I’m particularly asking you to do this so that I can be returned to you quickly.

20 May the God of peace,
        who brought back the great shepherd of the sheep,
        our Lord Jesus,
        from the dead by the blood of the eternal covenant,
21     equip you with every good thing to do his will,
        by developing in us what pleases him through Jesus Christ.
    To him be the glory forever and always. Amen.

22 I urge you, brothers and sisters, to put up with this message of encouragement, since I’ve only written a short letter to you! 23 You should know that our brother Timothy has been set free. If he comes soon, we will travel together to see you.

24 Greet your leaders and all of God’s holy people. The group from Italy greets you.

25 May grace be with all of you.

Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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