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For the Son, to the Son


Paul, a bond-servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the faith of those chosen of God and the knowledge of the truth which is according to godliness, in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago . . .

—Titus 1:1–2


But notice the end of [Titus 1:2], which is the key: this whole unfolding miracle of salvation comes from God, “who cannot lie,” and, as it says at the end of verse 2, “promised [it] long ages ago.”

“Long ages ago” is a biblical expression referring to eternity past—the age before time began (cf. Acts 15:18; Rom. 16:25). It is equivalent to the expression “before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24; Matt. 25:34; 1 Peter 1:20). So Paul is saying God decreed the plan of redemption and promised salvation before the beginning of time.

Promised”—to whom? Not to any human being, because none of us had been created. And not to the angels, because there is no redemption for angels. Second Timothy 1:8–9 helps answer the question. There, it says, “Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity” (emphasis added). To whom did God make this promise? It’s an intra-Trinitarian promise; a promise from the Father to the Son.

This is sacred ground, and our best understanding of it is still feeble, so we must tread carefully. We recognize that there is an intra-Trinitarian love between Father and Son, the likes of which is incomprehensible and inscrutable to us (John 3:35; 17:26).

But this we know about love: it gives. And at some eternal moment, the Father desired to express His perfect love for the Son, and the way He determined to do so was to give to the Son a redeemed humanity—whose purpose would be, throughout all of the eons of eternity, to praise and glorify the Son and serve Him perfectly. That was the Father’s love gift.

The Father wanted to give this gift to the Son, and He predetermined to do it. Not only that, but He predetermined who would make up that redeemed humanity, and wrote their names down in a book of life before the world began. He set them aside for the purpose of praising and glorifying the name of Christ forever.

That means, in a sense, that you and I are somewhat incidental to the real issue here. Salvation is primarily for the honor of the Son, not the honor of the sinner. The purpose of the Father’s love gift is not to save you so you can have a happy life; it is to save you so that you can spend eternity praising the Son.

—John MacArthur, None Other (Reformation Trust, 2017), 14–16.

Posted 2018·04·04 by David Kjos
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Posted in: John MacArthur · None Other · Soli Deo Gloria · The Trinity

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