What is our only hope in life and death?
If you're familiar with the New City Catechism, you'll recognize this as the first question. According to the catechism, the answer is, "That we are not our own, but belong body and soul, both in life and death, to God and our Savior Jesus Christ." This question and answer reveal that as followers of Christ, our hope in life and our hope in death are one and the same. This is a countercultural truth that the world rejects. The world offers hope in the form of temporary remedies, such as relationships, accomplishments, things, fame, or power; but even the world acknowledges that relationships can fail, accomplishments are surpassed, and our possessions don’t last. If this “hope” is insufficient in life, it is certainly inadequate in death.
When my father passed away unexpectedly this past year, I was continually amazed and encouraged by the hope that we have in Christ and the truth of the gospel, which is indeed sufficient in life and death. As I reflected on my father's life and his realized hope in Christ, I recalled what the Apostle Paul noted in 1 Corinthians 15:19, "If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied." But we are not to be pitied! Christ rose from the dead and conquered sin and death, and as believers we have a hope in life that is sufficient in death because "the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in us." (Romans 8:11) May we live our lives in a way that manifests this radical hope that we belong to Jesus, and experience the life-changing power of the Spirit that dwells in us!