“. . . so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).
PAUL’S MEMORABLE STATEMENT OF HOPE IN THIS VERSE IS SET IN THE CONTEXT OF A LARGER STATEMENT ABOUT GOD’S SALVATION. After speaking in v.3 of our sinfulness, he said that “when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us” (vv.4,5). To be in Christ is not to occupy some position which we have achieved by our own goodness; it is to have been rescued by a God whose tender love reached out and saved us.
In v.7, then, Paul wrote that those who are in Christ have been “justified.” This language is from the courtroom, and it describes the fact that in forgiving us, God moved us from being “guilty” before His law to being “innocent.” We stood before Him as lawbreakers, but He now treats us as those who have kept His law.
As Paul emphasizes, it was “by his grace” that God justified us. He “saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy” (v.5). How humbling this is! And yet, the way in which it humbles us is not humiliating. It energizes us, filling us with a wholesome desire to spend the rest of our days expressing our gratitude to God for His kindness.
The result of God’s justification is that we are “heirs.” Far beyond the greatness of any legacy we could receive from an earthly father, our inheritance from God is valuable in the highest sense of that word. When the time comes, we will hear Christ say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).
As heirs, we envision our inheritance daily: we live fervently and serve faithfully in “the hope of eternal life.” The life we enjoy in Christ right now is a foretaste of the banquet that is coming, and we should be extremely thankful for it. But our inheritance is still ahead, so we must not lose our focus. “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13 NKJV).
“In the cross is health, in the cross is life, in the cross is protection from enemies, in the cross is heavenly sweetness, in the cross strength of mind, in the cross joy of the Spirit, in the cross the height of virtue, in the cross perfection of holiness. There is no health of the soul, no hope of eternal life, save in the cross” (Thomas à Kempis).