By David J. Stewart
Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.”
Chapter 1 — God's Promise Before the World Began
The Apostle Paul (writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) makes an amazing statement in Titus 1:2, “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began.” Before God ever spoke the universe into existence, he had already promised eternal life. Before God ever created the first human being, Christ has already been slain in the eternal mind of God. Revelation 13:8, "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." Notice the words, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." In God's mind, Jesus had been crucified before the world began, which is why God was able to promise eternal life BEFORE the world began.
God in His foreknowledge knew that mankind would choose to go into sin. God created Adam and Eve, knowing fully that they would rebel against His Word. Yet, God loved humanity and made a way of escape before man was even created. Before the first man was ever formed from the dust of the earth, God had already PROMISED eternal life to mankind. Thus, God made a provision, the sacrifice of His only begotten Son, Jesus, to take away the sins of mankind.
We must realize that God does not live in the limitation of time as does humanity. God lives in eternity, where there is no past, present, nor future. This is why the Bible tells us in 2nd Peter 3:8, "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Whereas mankind is forced to wait and wonder and hope due to the uncertainty of our future; God KNOWS exactly what the future holds, because it is not the future to Him. This is why it is important as Christians that we pray and trust upon the Lord, because He knows the way.
Notice in Titus 1:2 the words "hope of eternal life." The word "hope" here does not speak in the sense of uncertainty; but rather, in the sense of expectation. Thus, we don't hope that God will give to us eternal life; but rather, we HAVE A HOPE that God has given to us eternal life. We already have it! Every believer has the blessed assurance of sweet salvation and eternal life. When we pass away from this earthly life as believers, our spirit which is already alive forevermore will simply enter into eternity to be with the Lord. 2nd Corinthians 5:8, "We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord."
The Bible does not teach soul sleep. This is clearly taught in Acts 7:54-59, "When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit." Notice that as Stephen was being martyred, he looked up into Heaven and saw Jesus standing on the right hand of the Father. Jesus was welcoming Stephen home, giving him a standing ovation. The Bible says that Stephen said, "I see the heavens opened." How much clearer could the Bible be, that departed loved ones who have been saved go to Heaven to be with the Lord? Amen! Stephen saw the Heavens opened and his wonderful and precious Lord waiting to receive him home into glory.
The Bible tells us that eternal life is A PROMISE to the believer! If salvation were by works of self-righteousness, then eternal life would merely be a reward. But salvation is not a reward, it is a free gift from God. If salvation were by religious affiliation, then it would be a privilege. But salvation is not a privilege, it is a free gift from God. If salvation were by nationality, then it would be inherited. But salvation is not an inheritance, it is a free gift from God. Ephesians 2:8,9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
Those who teach that salvation can be lost attempt to nullify and cast doubt upon the PROMISE of God to give eternal life to him that believeth. John 3:36a, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life." This is God's promise to mankind. God's Law indicts all humanity as guilty sinners. Romans 3:19, "Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God." Notice the words, "all the world may become guilty before God." We are all guilty sinners. God the Father is the Prosecutor, whose holiness demands justice and punishment for sin. Jesus Christ came to the Father as our Attorney and offered a plea agreement on our behalf, that we might be pardoned for our crimes against God. Jesus, the holy Lamb of God Who knew no sin, became as sin, that we who knew no righteousness could be made the righteousness of God in Christ. 2nd Corinthians 5:21, "For He [God the Father] hath made Him [God the Son] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." If the proponents of the heresy that salvation can be lost would only accept this Biblical truth, they would cease from attacking the PROMISE of God to save those who simply believe. We are saved by HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, i.e., the righteousness of God which is through faith in Christ Jesus crucified.
Before God ever created the world, He had already made a promise to mankind. That promise was eternal life according to Titus 1:2, which also states that God “CANNOT LIE.” To say that salvation can be lost renders a believer hopeless, living in constant fear and doubt, wondering if they've sinned too much and have lost their salvation. How tragic! How unbiblical! The very fact that the Bible proclaims the PROMISE of eternal life, is clear evidence that God wants the believer's heart to be comforted and settled concerning salvation. If salvation can be lost, then there is little comfort or assurance of salvation. God wants each believer to have the peaceful assurance of salvation because of what Jesus did for us, and not because of what we're doing for Him.
Let's break down Titus 1:2 to disprove the notion that salvation can be lost:
God has provided ETERNAL LIFE to mankind through the redemptive work of Christ. But God wanted us to have more assurance than that, so He,
Made us a PROMISE that He'd give to us eternal life through His Son. But God goes further than that to comfort us in our salvation, He,
Tells us that He made this promise BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN. Even still, God goes further and wants us to be completely comforted in our salvation by telling us,
GOD CANNOT LIE.
So we see that God not only has provided eternal life to mankind through the blood sacrifice of His dear Son, Jesus, but has also committed Himself to us in the form of a promise, that He made before we were ever created, and God reminds us that it is IMPOSSIBLE for Him to lie about anything. God went out of His way in Titus 1:2 to comfort our hearts concerning eternal life. If I may paraphrase a bit, God is saying to us, "Look, I have a plan to redeem you, and by the way, you can hold me to this because I'm making a promise, and by the way, I made this promise before the universe was ever created, and if that's not enough, I absolutely cannot lie. So you can rest assure in your faith in Jesus as the Christ." This is our blessed hope of salvation. We can depend on Jesus that He won't disappoint us for our faith in Him. What a Savior!
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