This week we begin with Question 1 of the New City Catechism. It begins Part 1 of the catechism (questions 1-20), which focuses on God, creation and the fall, and the law. You can download the catechism app free from the App Store or Google Play. It's a great tool to grow in understanding and/or to help teach your children basic Christian doctrine.
Here is the question and answer to memorize this week:
Question 1: 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.
It is fitting that a teaching tool that lays out an overview of Christian doctrines would begin by asking about the basis of our hope. Hope shapes the vision of our lives. It carries us through the seasons of suffering, as well as the grind of day-to-day responsibilities that can so often yield frustration in a cursed world. It motivates us to go on, knowing that continuing to “show up” everyday is a worthwhile endeavor, because it is all leading somewhere. “Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor. 15:58).
Hope gives us not only the motivation to live, but also to face the certainty of death. “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). The good news of Jesus’ death in our place and his triumphant resurrection is the story that has set our destiny. Just as Jesus was raised from the dead, so will we be raised from the dead. Death, the great enemy of humanity, has been utterly tamed by Christ. That is why the New Testament so often speaks, not of believers dying, but “falling asleep” (Acts 7:60; 1 Thess. 4:13; 1 Cor. 15:51). For the believer, death is as non-threatening as going to bed. It is a peaceful repose until the time comes to wake up again.
Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Romans 5:1-11. What does this passage teach us about the hope that we have as believers? How does that hope grow within us?