Does trusting in Jesus impact the way I live my life?
When we trust in Christ, we begin a great journey. This journey is not always easy, but the outcome is certainly life-changing. I was looking at Titus 1:1-3 recently. The passage reads:
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, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior… (NKJV)
Even though this is Paul’s introductory statement for his epistle to Titus, it contains a wonderful message for those who trust in Christ. Specifically, Paul provides three critical components of the Christian life.
Faith in Christ Begins with Justification
In verse 1 we see that Paul based his relationship to God through Christ “according to the faith of God’s elect.” Justification is a legal term and in the Bible, it involves God declaring those who trust in Him as just or righteous. This means that when we trust Christ as savior we are then seen by God as if we had always been righteous or just.
There are two elements of justification. First, justification involves the forgiveness of sin. Rom 4:5-8 tells us that justification results through faith in Christ alone. Faith alone, apart from works, results in forgiveness of sins (Eph 2:8-9).
Second, justification involves declaring the person of faith as righteous or just (Rom 3:21-30; 4:2-9, 22; 5:1, 9-11, 16-21). This does not mean the believer is made righteous. We are still sinners, albeit, we are saints who sin. The ungodly are justified (Rom 4:5) and justification involves God seeing us as righteous; God does not make us righteous—He merely sees us as righteous.
Thus, those who are justified by God through faith will not be condemned (Rom 8:1).
Faith in Christ Continues with Sanctification
Paul then continues by acknowledging that his relationship with God is based on “truth which accords with godliness.” God not only sees us as being righteous, but He also sees us as holy and pure. Though God sees as holy we are not immediately holy. Rather, those who put their faith in Christ begin the process of becoming holy.
Those who have trusted in Christ to reconcile their relationship with God (see Rom 5), being chosen by God for Himself, have also been set apart from the world and are holy (1 Cor 1:2). Sanctification is a relational reality, completed in Christ’s death on the cross, experienced through the indwelling Holy Spirit, and brought to its final goal when we see God (Heb 12:14; 1 John 3:2–3).
Christians, once justified are called to grow in their faith. This process of sanctification (being set apart) continues throughout the life of the believer and comes to completion only when we see the Lord.
Faith in Christ Results in Glorification
Paul saw that justification followed by sanctification leads to glorification. Paul lived “in hope of eternal life which God…promised…” Sanctification is linked with glory. When we turn to the Lord, our veil (that which stops us from see the things of God) is taken away (2 Cor 3:16). Then with the veil removed, we can behold the glory of the Lord. The eventual outcome is that the believer is transformed into the image of the Lord (2 Cor 3:18).
The thought for Paul, and therefore for us, is that all that we do should be done with a view to eternal life. Our actions should be conducted with eternity in mind. This is a WOW statement. I need to ask myself, “How differently would I conduct my actions if I always had my mind focused on the eternal consequence of those actions?”
Thus, Paul spoke of our justification, sanctification, and glorification. Then he makes an interesting statement. He said these things were “promised before time began.” Who did He promise?
We learn more about our calling from 2 Tim 1:9. Here we see God saved us and called us with a holy calling. We also see that this calling is not based on our works. Salvation is a gift from God apart from our works. Salvation is in accord with God’s grace and purpose. Salvation was given to us in Christ “before time began.”
God promised Christ that those who would trust in Him would be justified, sanctified, and glorified. What a promise! We are the ultimate benefactors of this promise. This knowledge alone should cause us to live the transformed life God expects of us (Rom 12:1-2).