Have you ever struggled with a problem, only to find that the answer was staring you in the face? When the missing piece of data is discovered (like a negative sign in the wrong place, or an input that is off by a factor of 1000), the outputs suddenly start to make sense.
Certain colleagues and I have agreed that a second set of eyes often helps spot problems that the author can no longer see. (My family members who help with proofreading are the same way.) In fact, sometimes the very process of explaining a problem to another person makes the solution clear.
When it comes to important questions, we – as a society, and as the human race – often struggle mightily with answers. Questions about our origins, purpose, nature, and place in the universe are debated, studied, and wrestled with. All to often, the discussions turn into fights, but these topics are challenging even for those whose conversations remain courteous. It often seems like there is something missing, or extra facts we haven’t yet discovered, which would make sense of it all.
In that context, take a look at this passage from the book of Romans:
But what does it say? “THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART”-that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
Romans 10:8-10 NASB
Perhaps the most significant question that a person could ask – “How can I be saved?” – is answered here. And, for the readers of this letter to the Romans, the answer wasn’t obscure or hidden: the message was simple, understandable, and available.
In the same way, this same answer is still valid today, with the same attributes.
Accepting Jesus’ salvation is pretty simple. It is not free – Jesus paid a great price for us, and the exchange of our failures for His freedom costs everything that we are (and all that we have). However, for those willing to accept it, the message of Jesus is straightforward. The book of Romans outlines a lot of key points, and I encourage anyone who is interested in learning more about this topic to read it. Acts 2:36-39 also summarizes the answer to this question, “What should we do?” Following Jesus involves acknowledging our sins, believing that His sacrifice is enough to pay for our failures, accepting this gift, and turning everything over to Him (a surrender that we start when we choose to be baptized, like the people were instructed to do in the book of Acts). A trusted friend or pastor can help explain this process, but it’s not complicated.
In addition, following Jesus is understandable. I don’t mean that everyone can explain how the Trinity works, or that we all agree on how the end times will play out. However, the basic concept is so simple that a child can understand it: God is perfect and we are not. Jesus is God, and He loves you. Jesus lived out a perfect life, and then traded His right to Heaven for the death that we deserved, and now that He was raised from the dead, we can spend eternity with Him if we accept His offer. It doesn’t take any formal education or a high IQ to comprehend this.
And, the good news of a new life in Jesus is available. The path to abundant life that Jesus offers isn’t encrypted or known only to a few. While there may be some who haven’t yet heard about Him, those who have experienced the joy of following Him are working to get the word out, and technology makes it easier than ever to find the details. A web page or a mobile app makes the Word of God (the Bible) available, translated in dozens or hundreds of languages, and the truth that God has shared with human beings is right there.
So, if you are struggling to find answers – about life, purpose, God, eternity, or salvation – it’s right here. I don’t mean that I have secret knowledge. Rather, these answers are simple, understandable, and available to you. Pick up a Bible (print or electronic), and read about the life of Jesus. Talk with a pastor or friend who already follows Jesus, and learn more about how easy it is to let Him make a difference in your life. There are no more missing pieces to this solution.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation.