Catalytic Converter

Yesterday, someone asked me if I was a teacher or a student. As a home educator, I can proudly answer, “Both!”

The kids and I did a science experiment this week that still has the wheels of my brain turning. In Jay Wile’s Science in the Industrial Age, he details the life and work of Jons Jakob Berzelius. In addition to exploring chemical formulas, denatured proteins, and organic chemicals, we also learned about catalysts.

Our experiment explored the behavior of a catalyst.

First, we added vinegar to some baking soda in a cup. The excitement of the first fizz died away as we continued pouring the vinegar in. Eventually, all of the baking soda was used up, and there was no more fizz.

Next, we poured hydrogen peroxide into a cup that held yeast. It bubbled and fizzed delightfully. No matter how much hydrogen peroxide we added to the cup, the bubbles continued to entertain us, and the yeast was never used up.

Wile defines a catalyst as “a chemical that speeds up a reaction without being used up in that reaction.”

It just so happens that that very day I was reading Romans 5:17: “For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.”

When Adam sinned, it was like a chemical reaction had begun that would use up the entire human race. Just as every bit of baking soda fizzed away in the vinegar, so each of our lives is fizzing away to death because of sin. We will all be completely used up and die someday. Death will reign supreme over our silent graves.

It makes me shake my head over that first sin. If only Adam hadn’t eaten that fruit! Just one simple sin brought about death for all.

However, the experiment isn’t over at this point. Don’t be dismayed because the fizz has died away!

The yeast in our experiment sped up the process of hydrogen peroxide converting to oxygen, but it was never used up. The fizz would go on endlessly, converting peroxide to oxygen.

Jesus’ sacrificial death did away with sin for all for all time. He ends the reign of death. Because He is Life, He is never used up! We can lay hold of His abundant grace and His free gift of eternal life because He is a catalytic converter. He never runs out of Life to give us! 

He died and rose again so that we can have abundant life now and eternal life forever. He transfers us from the kingdom where death reigns to His Kingdom where we will reign in Life through the One who is the catalyst for this type of change- Jesus!

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