The Hope of Eternal Life (Titus 1:2-3)
As a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, Paul had as his goal the faith, knowledge, and godliness of God’s people (v. 1). These were to take place in the context or in the sphere of the hope of eternal live (v. 2). A true, Spirit-granted hope of eternal life enlivens, strengthens, motivates, and sustains all aspects of the Christian life. Eternal life refers both to the quantity and quality of life. It is life of the highest imaginable quality because it is life lived in the fullness of the knowledge of God and of His presence (John 17:3), and it is life of the greatest quantity because it goes on forever, with no possibility of ever coming to an end (1 Peter 1:4).
As those who are believing in Jesus, we have already entered into this life (John 5:24, 1 John 5:13). We have been transferred out of sphere of spiritual death—where there is only separation from God and condemnation as the just consequence of our sin—and we have been transferred into the sphere of life—where there is only God’s free forgiveness, love, and the knowledge of Him. However, the experience of that life is still extremely limited compared to the life to come—we’ve only tasted the first fruits—and we are left longing for the day when we will possess and enjoy that eternal life to the fullest in the limitless presence of our God.
These two verses provide us with three solid pillars on which to base our certain hope in eternal life:
I. God Promised (Verse 2)
Especially in the letters of the Apostle Paul, the promise of God is contrasted with our own efforts under the Law (Galatians 3:18, 22, 29). The reception of a promise causes us to look outside of ourselves, and to base our hope on something to which our own efforts contribute nothing. This promise of eternal life was made long ages ago, before any of us could have ever done anything to secure it. It is based solely on the work that christ would do on our behalf, while we were utterly powerless to save ourselves. Eternal life is based on a promise made apart from any contribution of our own, and it is received through faith alone. Our hope of eternal life rests not on ourselves, but on the promise of God.
II. God Cannot Lie (Verse 2)
The fact that the Scriptures teach that God “cannot” lie is of even stronger certainty than if we were to read only that God “will not” lie. Whereas “will not” still implies the potential to lie, “cannot” necessarily means that for God to lie would be in direct contradiction with His own nature, which is truth. God, who cannot lie, has promised that all who come to Him though faith in Christ will inherit eternal life. By implication, when we refuse to believe that this life is offered even to us—because we are too sinful, because we have denied Him too many times, because we have too many doubts, or whatever other reason we come up with—we are doing nothing less than calling God a liar (1 John 5:10-11). Eternal life is promised to all who come in faith and repentance to Jesus Christ.
III. God Manifested Eternal Life
Paul was entrusted with a proclamation, which is the word of the gospel. In the message of the gospel—the life, death, resurrection, ascension and coming return of our Lord—the eternal life that was promised in long ages past is manifested in time and space. Every time the gospel is proclaimed, it is as though God is announcing again and again that everything needed for the accomplishment of the life He had promised has now been fulfilled in the Person and work of His Son. It is the preaching of the gospel—over and over again—that God uses to strengthen His people in the hope of eternal life.
- Do you have this hope of eternal life? Is there anything different in your life as a result of this hope? Does this hope strengthen you in trial? Does it encourage you in times of sadness? Does it keep you sober and ready for action in the fight for holiness? Does it lead you to sacrifice for the sake of others?
- “But, one believing direct look at Jesus will neutralize every doubt, dissipate every cloud, and quell every fear concerning the fact of our salvation; and the blessed hope of being forever with the Lord will shed its sunshine through our whole being. Oh, then, earnestly, importunately pray for this abounding in hope, and rest not until you have attained to its richest experience.” – Octavius Winslow