In hope of eternal life

In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began. Tit. 1:2.

There is nothing more glorious than the hope of eternal life. This is something which no human philosophy can give. It is something which riches cannot buy. It is something which human wisdom and strength cannot achieve. And yet, this is the very thing which is promised in the gospel.

However, in order for our hope to be sure, it requires a firm foundation. In this one verse, we have not one, but three, solid foundations upon which the hope of the believer rests.

First, there is the fundamental foundation of God himself. This is not just any god, but the God of the Bible, who is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. There is no one like him. He is sovereign, and what he wills shall come to pass. "I am God," he tells us, "and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure" (Isa. 46:9-10).

Second, there is the foundation of God's veracity. He "cannot lie." It is not just that he has promised not to lie, but that he cannot lie. It is impossible. When he makes a promise, it will come to pass. When God commits himself by covenant and oath to his elect, all his infinite resources are constrained by his faithfulness for their good. People can promise us good things and not come through because they were not able, or they may promise us good things with no intention of following through. But neither of these scenarios are even possible with God.

Third, there is the foundation of an eternal promise: "promised before the world began." Why does it matter when God made the promise? What difference does this make? Well, one possibility is that because of God's unchanging nature, what promise he promises, it must be from eternity. However, I don't think this is the point here. Rather, I think Paul is thinking along the line of his argument in Romans 9:11, where he says concerning Jacob and Esau, "For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works but of him that calleth." The point of God's purpose of election being before they were born is just to underline the fact that God's purpose did not rest upon the good or evil of either Jacob or Esau. God's saving purpose is a sovereign and gracious purpose. So here. The fact that this is a promise before the world began indicates that its fulfillment does not rest upon how much good we have done or how badly we have messed up. Rather, it rests upon God himself, who will surely bring it to pass.

My friend, do you have this hope? The only way you can come into its possession is through faith, for the apostle speaks of "the faith of God's elect" (Tit. 1:1). And the promise is that all who put their trust in him have this hope, sure and steadfast. Trust in Jesus Christ and your hope in him will never be disappointed.

By: Jeremiah Bass