Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began.Titus 1:1-2
As we have said before, the biblical nature of hope is that it is always future oriented, something anticipated but not yet received. It is never merely wishful thinking, but rather the confidant assurance that comes from trusting the character and promises of God.
Paul speaks here of “the hope of eternal life.” In a world where the one true certainty is death, the hope of eternal life is a liberating promise. Listen to these words of the Lord Jesus: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one” (John 10:27-30). Jesus promises to give eternal life to those who are His sheep, that is, those who listen to Him and believe in Him. Jesus promises that those who receive this gift of eternal life will never perish as they are kept safely in His hands and in the hands of His heavenly Father. And they are perfectly united as one.
Since this gift of eternal life was promised before time began, the promise could only have been made between the members of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God knew before He created Adam and Eve that they would rebel against Him and that the only way we could be reconciled to Him without violating His justice and holiness would be through Him graciously sending His one-of-a-kind Son to pay the penalty for our sin on the cross. And while we know that the Lord Jesus sweat, as it were, great drops of blood as He faced the horrors of the cross, yet we also know that the Lord Jesus went willingly to His death, for the Scriptures say of Him, “…who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2).
This gift of eternal life was infinitely costly to God but is freely offered to us. If we had to earn eternal life, we would truly be without hope; but since the Lord Jesus fully paid for this gift those who put their trust in Him enjoy the assurance that comes from knowing God has accepted the death of His Son as the full and final payment for our sin.