Excellence is brilliance. Excellence is superiority. Excellence is distinction. Excellence is what sets the Lord Jesus Christ apart from all men, angels and created things. In His shadow, everything is mediocre. Nothing measures up to Him. The excellence of Christ is what the writer of Hebrews communicates so well. Each portion of the letter sets out to paint a stunning portrait of Deity incarnate as the personification of perfection. Jesus is the excellent Messenger. Jesus is the excellent Savior. Jesus is the excellent Prophet. Jesus is the excellent Sabbath Rest. Jesus is the excellent High-Priest.
Not only is the Lord Jesus the essence of excellence, but all that is related to Him and flows from Him is excellent as well. The New Covenant is excellent. The salvation the New Covenant brings is excellent. Faith is the excellent way of life.
Yet although we know this about our Lord, the reality of our own existence is often very much less than excellent. We struggle. We strive. We stumble.
Believers tend to feel alone especially when going through difficult times. The readers of the letter to the Hebrews were really no different than us today in this regard. They, as we, needed encouragement to continue to forge ahead in the struggle of life.
The writer reminds us that many have gone before us in the life of faith (Hebrews 11and 12.1) and that because God brought them through, he will do the same for us. The reassurance is that even in apparent trials, God’s purposes are being accomplished.
We are taught that the way of perseverance is built by endurance and patience. The temptation is to resort to sinful pleasure when the going gets rough (12.2). The writer warns against this because it does not need to be so. There is a way to do life God’s way with His almighty assistance.
Another tendency is to want to give up as the Lord seeks to correct our way when we stray. This is called corrective discipline and is the primary focus of Hebrews chapter 12. This discipline is not as human discipline. Because it is meted out by God, it is excellent discipline, designed for the good and prosperity of our souls.
The Lord wants to develop our character and our relationship with Himself and others (12.14-17) by the means of holiness. Since holiness is the central element of God’s character, the end result is that believers become more like the Lord.
Lest the reader wonder the more about God’s character, the author than presents God’s purposes in history as being the primary agent of that glorious revealing science (12.18-29). Each phase of God’s plan tells us more and more about Him. The time of the Law revealed God’s holiness and Just nature (12.18-21). The time of the New Covenant revealed clearly His fine-tuned Graciousness (12.22-24). The time of the end of this age, yet to come will further reveal His Wrath, Worthiness and Omnipotence (12.25-29).
The purpose of the writer was to reveal the purposes of God in His dealings with men. He succeeds and does so in an excellent manner that is clear and concise. This is the revealing science of God.