Catechism Mondays: Week 1

Q: What is our only hope in life and death?

A: That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. 

“For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” Romans 14:7-8

Hope. Hope is something we are constantly seeking. It is what our hearts are long for and what we seek in times of despair. We find hope in lights at ends of tunnels, new beginnings, and in unexpected improvements. Getting a good grade on a test may give you hope that you will actually pass a class. Opening the last packed box will give you hope that your new home will be unpacked and organized how you like it. New jobs and new relationships can give you hope for a better quality of life.

But these hopes, these positive, confident expectations are fleeting. You feel the swell of joy or peace at something finally being completed or started, but that feeling goes away. Once again, you find yourself in the trenches, looking for hope. Or, as sometimes happens, the things we were hopeful about don’t work out. You don’t pass that class, as soon as you get unpacked you’re moving again, or a new relationship or job does not work out. You lose that hope. It’s not lasting.

But there is a hope that lasts. That we can put our confidence in. That we can say, “this is true and will always be true.” This is our one, true, lasting hope: that we belong to God. In all of life, in every death, our hope, the thing we hold confidently to, is that our entire being, body and soul, belongs to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. For believers, this truth is world-changing. It means we are never alone. We can never be lost. We can never be without hope.

Life is lived in the valleys. It is found in the lows, in the darkness, in the pain. We live every day with the consequences of sin: our own and the sin of others. When Adam sinned, he ensured that all of mankind would suffer here on earth. He ensured that we would desperately need hope. And God ensured that we would have hope. He ensured that there would be something that we could point to and say: there is my certainty. There is my hope.

God gave us hope through himself. He gave us Jesus Christ, who paid the sin-debt we owed but could not pay. He gave us forgiveness and certainty in himself, in that we belong to him forever. Body and soul, we as believers are in his loving hands. We belong to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ. This is our anchor. This is our hope. 

Catechism question and answer taken from The New City Catechism by Tim Keller. This week’s question, answer, and verse can be found on pages 16-17 of The New City Catechism.

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