At Home with The Trails March 15, 2020
CHRIST OUR HOPE IN LIFE AND DEATH
Psalm 28:7-9, Romans 8
The New City Catechism begins with the question, “What is our only hope in life and death?” If we simply pause there for a moment before rushing to its answer, we may feel the exposing impact of those words ringing in the air. What is our only hope in life and death? Stop and think about how you would answer this question.
Some people will no doubt immediately trace their only hope straight to God. Their hope is built securely on the Word of God and in the completed work of Christ. Yet, we as Christians must often be reminded of where our hope is located as we face many dangers, toils, and snares in this life. Still, those that have not come to know the hope of Christ will hear this question and grasp for an answer but find their hands empty of any true and enduring hope; especially as they think about death and what lies beyond the grave.
The answer to this question is overflowing with gospel hope, “That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.” This truth is drawn from Romans 14:7–8, “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.” The Apostle Paul looks us straight in the eyes and speaks truth into the storms and trials of life. He reminds us to fix our eyes on the only place where true hope is found both in this life and in the life to come – upon the Lord Jesus Christ.
I remember when our kids were much smaller, hearing their voices echo back the modified children’s version of this catechism, “That we are not our own, but belong to God.” Even the simple children’s answer contains a strong enough dosage of truth to comfort the shaky soul. God has us. Even well into Christian maturity, we will often need to come back to these basic truths of God’s Word and allow it to administer its comfort to our hearts and minds.
Allow some of the central truths from God’s word to wash over your hearts and minds today filling you with the gospel hope: We are made in the image of God. (Genesis 1:27) We were chosen by God. (Ephesians 1:4-5) We are loved by God. (Romans 8:38-39) We are redeemed and completely forgiven of all our sins. (Ephesians 1:7) We are justified by God. (2 Cor. 5:21) We are clothed in the righteousness of Christ. (Galatians 3:27) We are adopted as sons and daughters by God. (1 John 3:1) We are united with Christ. (Romans 6:5) We are accepted by God. (Romans 15:7) We are raised with Christ in new life. (1 Corinthians 15:22) We are citizens of heaven. (Philippians 3:20) We are a kept people. (Jude 1)
Since I cannot look you in the eye this morning and remind you of these things, I pray that our attention will be fixed on God’s promises as we walk through this day of uncertainty with gospel courage and gospel hope. I pray that we will live in light of God’s word and continue to trust that the one who made us and saved us is the one who will keep us forever.
Thy hymn “Christ Our Hope in Life and Death” has been in the works for nine months and will officially be released to music channels on Friday. We had already planned to sing it at our next meeting, and it felt fitting to “introduce” you to it today so that the next time we gather together we are able to sing it. Click here for the lyric video.
Christ alone, Christ alone.
What is our only confidence?
That our souls to Him belong.
Who holds our days within His hand?
What comes, apart from His command?
And what will keep us to the end?
The love of Christ, in which we stand.
O sing hallelujah!
Our hope springs eternal;
O sing hallelujah!
Now and ever we confess
Christ our hope in life and death.
What truth can calm the troubled soul?
God is good, God is good.
Where is His grace and goodness known?
In our great Redeemer’s blood.
Who holds our faith when fears arise?
Who stands above the stormy trial?
Who sends the waves that bring us nigh
Unto the shore, the rock of Christ?
Unto the grave, what shall we sing?
“Christ, He lives; Christ, He lives!”
And what reward will heaven bring?
Everlasting life with Him.
There we will rise to meet the Lord,
Then sin and death will be destroyed,
And we will feast in endless joy,
When Christ is ours forevermore.
Are there any doubts or fears you face right now that need to have truth applied to them? What are they? What truths can you find in God’s Word to help you continue to trust in the Lord?
As Christians we may face seasons doubting that God is Sovereign and in control of all things. What can we do to remind ourselves of this reality?
What opportunities for gospel advancement might there be right now in our nation? What ways can we be praying specifically for opportunities to share our faith?
Have you believed in Christ to forgive you of your sin and trusted him as your Savior? If not, ask a Christian to talk with you today about finding true hope in life and in death.
1. Ask God, in His mercy, to stop this pandemic and save lives -- not only in our communities but around the world, particularly in places that are unequipped medically to deal with the virus. (Isaiah 59:1-2)
2. Pray for our President and other government leaders -- international, federal, state, and local -- to have the wisdom to direct us in the best courses of action for prevention and care. (Romans 13:1–4)
3. Scripture says: Teach us to number our days carefully so that we may develop wisdom in our hearts. Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom in this moment of fear as the foundations of what we know are shaken, that others would realize how fragile life is and how real eternity is, and they would see their need to turn to God. (Psalm 90:12)
4. Ask God to protect our missionaries and their families around the globe, using this global crisis to advance His Good News to the whole world. (Mark 16:15)