Dear Titus: The Hope of Eternal Life The faith, knowledge, and godliness of the elect all culminate in the hope of eternal life. Noah Webster defined the English word “hope” as, “Confidence in a future event; the highest degree of well-founded expectation of good.” He also made the helpful contrast between hope, and wish or desire. “Hope differs from wish and desire in this, that it implies some expectation of obtaining the good desired or the possibility of possessing it. hope therefore always gives pleasure or joy; whereas wish and desire may produce or be accompanied with pain and anxiety.” As a professing Christian, Webster helped capture the biblical use of the word hope. There has to be a certainty of obtaining what is hoped for. What do God’s elect hope for? The promised eternal life. a. A promise of God. Eternal life is a promise of God who never lies. Paul’s argument for the assurance of eternal life is the character of God. If a person possesses eternal life it is not because of their good works or their ability to stay in the good graces of God, but it is found in who God is. He has promised eternal life to his people and God never lies, so God’s people will most certainly have eternal life. b. Given before the ages began. The promise of eternal life was given before time began or as the literal Greek says, “before time eternal.” Before time began, in the eternal timelessness that God exists in the promise of eternal life was founded. Our finite minds are unable to comprehend this which should strike us with awe at the enormity of this promise. Our promises that we make are on a level so far beneath God’s promise that it is almost comical that we call the promises. c. Made known through preaching. Eternal life is made known through the preaching of God’s word. This is a trust that was bestowed upon Paul, which he often says he is unworthy of. For example, in 1 Corinthians 15:9, he says, “For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.” Though the servants of God are unworthy to preach the Gospel, they must preach. Paul was commanded by God our Savior. He said in 1 Corinthians 9 that he was under a necessity to preach and called a curse upon himself if he didn’t preach. “Woe to me!” His preaching was not by choice but by commission and command.