Q1: 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.
Tim Keller observed that the gospel of Jesus Christ always simultaneously confronts and completes any given society's baseline narrative. In other words, the relationship of the gospel to culture is complicated. Inevitably, some elements of the gospel resonate deeply with some of the prevailing values of a given culture, while other elements of the gospel directly challenge other prevailing cultural values.
For the modern West, the claim "that we are not our own" falls into the latter category; in fact this claim may offer the most central challenge Christianity advances against the prevailing modern Western narrative. That narrative imagines our increasing liberation from social, cultural, political and religious oppression. It has given rise to broad notions of individualism and autonomy. And there is undoubtedly some truth to the narrative; the West has gradually expanded--and continues to expand-- freedom from all manner of unjust constraints based on religious confession, nationality, racial category or gender. Given the cultural history of the last five centuries, it's not hard for the modern mind to imagine this kind of progress continuing onward and upward towards a kind of imagined total freedom.
But the fact remains that the Scriptures insist that we are not our own. The autonomy we so desperately desire--or even imagine we enjoy--is ultimately ephemeral. Perhaps the best example we find of this claim is in the Apostle Paul's letter to the Romans, where he declares that we never were our own and never will be our own. He writes, "You are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness." According to the gospel, then, there are only two options: we belong to sin or we belong to Christ. Though we might imagine a kind of god-like freedom, it is not something we will ever truly experience.
The gospel turns our modern notion of freedom on its head. We experience freedom only to the extent that we are liberated from sin and placed in God's service. Any other "freedom" doesn't merit the name. We're not so autonomous after all. Ultimately, we are servants of sin or servants of Christ. Bob Dylan had it right -- you gotta serve somebody.
I Corinthians 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.