“It’s not rocket science.” How many times have you heard or used that one? I drag this line out every year with my new crew of summer work study painters. Painting, I point out, is all about being neat and having the proper materials while using good technique. Certainly a much easier undertaking than the science of rockets. As I rethink this old favorite, it makes me wonder what rocket science is all about. It must be incredibly difficult for everything else in the world seems to is easier to do/understand than it is.
I have used the comparison between rocket science and faith as well. Though technology was still centuries away, if available in the Apostle Paul’s day he might have tried this line. In the letter to the Romans, he spells out with great clarity the ‘how’ of salvation: That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved (Romans 10:9 NIV).
No degree in advanced learning required for this. If you can say the words that Jesus is your Savior while believing in your heart He is who He claimed to be, the issue of where you will spend eternity is settled.
This straight-forward declaration seems almost too good to be true, but this is one time when the truth behind the claim is everything it says it is. Yet, if it is as easy as it seems, why aren’t more people following Jesus as their Lord? The answer, it seems to me, lies in the fact that the practice of accepting this truth is more difficult. Maybe even more difficult than rocket science.
In my opinion, it is quite easy to mouth the words, “Jesus is Lord.” They can sound sincere regardless if you mean them or not. The difficulty arises from the second part of Paul’s explanation of salvation: believing in your heart that Jesus was brought back to life by the Father. Our human experience tells us that the body, once dead, remains that way. Few if any of us have seen a corpse come back to life. The first hurdle, then, is to believe that someone deceased three days can be reanimated. A rational brain would have to rank this up there with rocket science.
As challenging as this can be, the even harder concept is the ‘why’ of God’s salvation plan. I have talked with many folks who put their hope in doing more good than bad as the basis of their hope for eternity in heaven. I see the appeal in this as it ultimately puts the individual in control of their eternal fate.
Unfortunately, this less than rocket science approach discounts the magnitude and magnificence of God. It skews the balance toward us and away from Him. If God is who He says He is, perfectly holy, then we have no business attempting to earn our way into His presence by having a balance sheet showing we’ve done more good than bad. Here’s the bottom line: He’s perfect, I’m not and I cannot change this truth.
Thankfully He does! Because rocket science is beneath the heart and intellect of our Creator, He knows the woeful state we are in without Him. Because He loves us, shortcomings and all, He has provided the perfect solution: Jesus Christ. Paul describes it this way: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21)
Jesus, the Perfect Son of God, willingly bore the sins of the world in his body as He was crucified. By acknowledging this truth we admit our own failings as we recognize the necessity of God’s salvation being worked out in this way. Believing that God raised His Son Jesus back to life is the final piece. It provides us the assurance of God’s intentions and is His invitation to absolutely everyone to partake of His loving grace and mercy.
Accepting His love and forgiveness is not rocket science, thank God!