NCC Question 1 Resources
This is part of an ongoing series of posts that provides some resources on theology and applications behind each question of the New City Catechism. This is an expansion of the resources provided on the official site. We hope these posts will help you better understand biblical teaching as you study and memorize each question and answer.
Q1. What is our only hope in life and death?
That we are not our own but belong, body and soul, both in life and death, to God and to our Savior Jesus Christ.
Rom 14:7-9. 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. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.
1 Cor 3:23. You are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.
1 Cor 6:19-20. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Titus 2:11-14. For the grace of God has appeared . . . the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
“The question of comfort is placed, and treated first, because it embodies the design and substance of the catechism. The design is, that we may be led to the attainment of sure and solid comfort, both in life and death. On this account, all divine truth has been revealed by God, and is especially to be studied by us.”
– Zacharias Ursinus (1534–1583)
If we, then, are not our own but the Lord’s, it is clear what error we must flee, and whither we must direct all the acts of our life. We are not our own: let not our reason nor our will, therefore, sway our plans and deeds. We are not our own: let us therefore not set it as our goal to seek what is expedient for us…. We are not our own: in so far as we can, let us forget ourselves and all that is ours. Conversely, we are God’s: let us therefore live for him and die for him. We are God’s: let his wisdom and will therefore rule all our actions. We are God’s: let all the parts of our life accordingly strive toward him as our only lawful goal. O, how much has that man profited who, having been taught that he is not his own, has taken away dominion and rule from his own reason that he may yield it to God! For, as consulting our self-interest is the pestilence that most effectively leads to our destruction, so the sole haven of salvation is to be wise in nothing and to will nothing through ourselves but to follow the leading of the Lord alone.
– John Calvin (1509–1564)
The lordship of Christ over our lives implies that he possesses us, that he provides for our needs forever, and that we do everything to please him and honor his name. To that end God sent Christ into the world to die and rise again. And since that is the destiny which God wills for the world, you and I will never enjoy true authenticity until we yield to the lordship of Christ. We were not created to be independent, self-sustaining people who simply do what is right in our own eyes. We were made for God, to depend on him and to be sustained by him and do what he advises. And, O, what a sense of rightness and fulfillment and freedom and authenticity, when we yield to his lordship! The discovery of authenticity—of being within what God created you to be—is one of the most precious discoveries a human being can make. And the text teaches that Christ died and lived again so we could have this gift. Therefore, Jesus is very precious and worthy of all trust and allegiance.
– John Piper
Lord, here am I; do with me what thou pleasest, write upon me as thou pleasest: I give up myself to be at thy dispose…. The ambitious man giveth himself up to his honours, but I give up myself unto thee;…man gives himself up to his pleasures, but I give up myself to thee;…man gives himself up…to his idols, but I give myself to thee…. Lord! lay what burden thou wilt upon me, only let thy everlasting arms be under me. . . . I am lain down in thy will, I have learned to say amen to thy amen; thou hast a greater interest in me than I have in myself, and therefore I give up myself unto thee, and am willing to be at thy dispose, and am ready to receive what impression thou shalt stamp upon me. O blessed Lord! hast thou not again and again said unto me. . . ‘I am thine, O soul! to save thee; my mercy is thine to pardon thee; my blood is thine to cleanse thee; my merits are thine to justify thee; my righteousness is thine to clothe thee; my Spirit is thine to lead thee; my grace is thine to enrich thee; and my glory is thine to reward thee’; and therefore. . . I cannot but make a resignation of myself unto thee. Lord! here I am, do with me as seemeth good in thine own eyes. I know the best way. . . is to resign up myself to thy will, and to say amen to thy amen.
– Thomas Brooks (1608–1680)