Having grown up going to church from the ripe age of, well, birth, I have memories of being taught about salvation in Sunday school. These lessons often ended in a call to action for us to raise our hands if we wanted to “ask Jesus into our hearts.” My hand shot up on more than one occasion for several reasons:
- I was scared of hell.
- I liked the attention and I am a people-pleaser.
- I didn’t fully understand how salvation worked.
- They may have given a piece of candy or a certificate to celebrate the occasion.
Because of my experience in church as a child, I’m careful, and if I’m honest, a little nervous, to find the right words to clearly explain salvation through Jesus Christ to my own little people.
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We all desperately want our children to know the deep love of Christ, but the weight of adequately communicating the Gospel feels daunting. The good news is, we have help.
The Holy Spirit will equip us to teach our kids about salvation as he readies our children’s hearts. We have to be careful not to put the salvation of our children solely on our shoulders. We are called to teach the Gospel and to live it, but we should not force it. Their salvation is ultimately their decision; a commitment that is between them and God.
Salvation is a beautiful, grace-filled gift. As we share the joy of salvation, we can do so seeking the wisdom of our Father. We can entrust our children to him and remember that their salvation is not by our doing but by the precious death and resurrection of Jesus. We can be gentle and patient with their hearts as our Father lavishes the same love on us.
How to Teach Kids about Salvation
When God created the world, everything he made was perfect. Adam and Eve, the first people, lived closely with God and everything was good. But then they made a choice to disobey God; a choice that was wrong and brought sin into God’s perfect world. Sin is anything we do that separates us from God’s holiness. It is doing what we want to do instead of what God tells us to do in the Bible.
But God had a plan to rescue us from our sin. He sent his son, Jesus to earth to die on the cross and forgive our sins so we could once again be close to him. When we make a decision to be a follower of Jesus, we accept God’s free gift of salvation.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
Ideas for Discussion:
1. When we sin, there is a consequence. The consequence of sin is separation from God (Romans 6:23). Ask your child, “How do you think our sin separates us from God?”
2. God doesn’t want to be separated from us. So he sent his own son to die on the cross and forgive us so we could live in relationship with him and be free from the sin in our lives. This doesn’t mean we stop sinning completely, but it does mean we learn to live like Jesus did, according to God’s Word. Ask your child, “What do you think it looks like to live according to God’s ways?”
3. The Bible tells us that if we confess our sins and believe in God’s great love for us that he forgives us (Romans 10:9). When we put our trust in Jesus and receive this forgiveness, our lives are made clean from our sin. Our relationship with God is not broken anymore, and we will one day be with him in heaven. If you feel they might be ready, ask your child, “Would you like to accept God’s gift of salvation and choose to follow Jesus?”
Related Post: How to Lead Your Child to Jesus
1. As you talk about what sin is, have your children share some ways that they have sinned or made bad choices. On a smooth rock, write their responses with a marker. Talk about how rocks feel heavy just like sin can make us feel burdened. If you live near a body of water, take your rocks and throw them into the water. Explain that God takes our sins away as if they were thrown into the depths of the ocean (Micah 7:19). You can also throw your rocks into the woods or in a field to demonstrate this.
2. This fall when you are carving a Jack-o’-lantern, talk about how God takes all of our yuck (sin) and cleans us with his forgiveness. When we trust in Jesus and are forgiven, his light then shines through us for others to see.
4. Share your own story with your children of how you came to trust in God and what that means for you.
5. Write a thank you letter to Jesus for loving us so much that he was willing to die on the cross to save us.
Related Resource: The Gospel for Kids
Dear God, thank you for loving us so much to rescue us from our sins so we can be close to you. Thank you for Jesus, his death and resurrection, that gives us forgiveness and hope. We trust you, God and your ways for us. You are our great rescuer! Help us to show your love to others so that they might come to know you, too. In Jesus’ name, amen.
The beauty of the Gospel is how it weaves its way into every area of our life. Look for little ways to reinforce this truth to your children as you go about your week. When you make a mistake, point out how thankful you are that you are already covered in God’s love and that you don’t have to earn it. When you see a cross on a church while driving, praise God for the visual reminder of his love.
What conversations have you had with your children about salvation? What truths have you shared about our great rescue?
A special thanks for Lindsay who helped with this post by sharing her own, personal salvation journey.