Question: What is our only hope in life and death?
Answer: That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.
Scripture: Romans 14:7-8
The first question of the New City Catechism lays a gospel foundation for the catechism. While the gospel will be unpacked in future questions, here in the first answer, we discover the gospel in its simplicity. In the first answer we find the doctrine of creation: God created us and therefore we are His (Genesis 1:26-28). We were created to belong to God. But, our first ancestors chose to live to themselves. Satan’s temptation was for Adam and Eve to question God’s authority over them (Genesis 3:1-7). When Adam and Eve fell into sin, God let them go to pursue their own desires without Him (Romans 1:18-32). It is here we discover hopelessness and the doctrine of sin. The question asks, “What is our only hope?” This question implies a situation of hopelessness. We have rejected our creator to pursue our own desires. But we also find the doctrine of salvation in the first answer. Our hope is to return to our creator and place ourselves under Him (Romans 10:9-10). Our answer also gives us the means to this salvation: the Savior Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me” (John 14:6). Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, stepped out of heaven, joined humanity on the earth, died on the cross to redeem humanity back to God, resurrected on the third day demonstrating His power over sin and death (Philippians 2:6-11, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Therefore, the person and work of Jesus Christ provides us our only hope of being restored back to God both in this life and the next.
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