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New City Catechism 1.2

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.

Scripture teaches that our hope lies, not in self-determination, not in getting everything we want, not in living ultimately for ourselves, but in the joyful surrender of ourselves to the lordship of Jesus Christ. “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it” (Luke 9:23). The flesh resents being told, “You are not your own.” It sounds restrictive and limiting. But God’s promise to us is that we only find true freedom by giving ourselves up to him.

As Michael Horton has put it, God is not willing to play a supporting role in the movie about your life. It is our natural tendency to develop a tunnel vision that focuses narrowly on our own plans, dreams, and interests, and to assume that God must fit himself somewhere into that plan. Here we must follow the example of Jesus, who, when faced in the garden with the imminent events of his suffering and death, made known his desires to the Father, but ended his prayer with, “Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done” (Luke 22:42). The all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving God who has destined us for glory in his Son knows far better than we the path we must follow to that glorious destination. Let us give up all aspirations to find our way apart from him, and rest simply in knowing that we belong, body and soul, in life and in death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Suggested passage for family or personal reading: Romans 14:7-9. What does this passage teach us about how we are to live and die? What does it teach us about the purpose for which Jesus died and rose again? Is there anything you need to do now to bring your life more in line with what this passage teaches?

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