So far in our series we have talked about God, sin, and Jesus. Now it’s time to talk about salvation. It’s important to tell kids that God is one who saves. All we can do is receive His gift of salvation.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17
It is God who saves
“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one can boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9
Because of God’s great love, He made a way for sin to be punished and sinners to be saved by sending Jesus to die in our place. Because Jesus took our punishment when He died, we can have a relationship with God. God will forgive our sins and help us to live for Him.
Salvation means to save someone.
Salvation is a present; the best present ever. We do not deserve it and there is nothing we can do to earn it. Jesus did all the work for us. Because of what Jesus did, God now wants to give sinners the free gift of salvation. The gift of salvation is given to everyone who repents of their sin and believes in Jesus.
Illustration: Have large beautifully wrapped gift. Place it at the foot of a cross. Ask a child to come to the front and open the present. Inside the child should find a sign that reads “Salvation is a free gift!”
So, God offers us the gift of salvation. We can do nothing to earn it. Jesus did it all for us. Some kids might now be asking some very good questions:
Does this mean that all people are saved because of what Jesus has done? Does it mean that as long as you know the story about what Jesus did on the cross, you will be saved? How can I get this free gift from God?
Receiving the gift of Salvation
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 8-9
“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. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10:9-10
Accepting God’s gift of salvation is all we can do. There is nothing we can do to earn salvation and forgiveness. Our sin is just too big. There is no way we can get rid of it on our own.
How can we be saved? By believing what Jesus did for us on the cross and nothing else, we can be saved. Salvation is a gift. We can’t earn it. We can only receive it or accept it.
God gives salvation to everyone who repents of their sin and believes in Jesus.
To repent means to turn away from our sin and look to Jesus for forgiveness. It means that you understand that you are a sinner who deserves punishment. You are very sorry for your sins. It means that you want to stop sinning and ask Jesus for forgiveness. You understand that Jesus is the only one who can do something about your sin and who can forgive you.
True repentance shows itself with a new desire to follow Jesus and obey Him.
Illustration: For this illustration you will need a sign that says ‘sin’ and the cross from the previous illustrations. Put the ‘sin’ sign up somewhere the kids can see it – on a wall or an easel. Put the cross opposite the ‘sin’ sign. Say, “Repentance means to turn away from sin.” Turn your back to the ‘sin’ sign. “It means you don’t want to do that anymore; you don’t want to live that way anymore.” Now turn towards the cross. “Instead, you want to ask Jesus to forgive you. You want to live Jesus’ way; following Him and obey Him every day.”
In part 2 of Talking about Salvation I will share some ideas for explaining what it means to believe in Jesus.
Check out the other blogposts in this series!
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Introduction
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about God
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about Sin
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about Jesus Part 1
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about Jesus Part 2
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about Salvation Part 1
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about Salvation Part 2
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about Following Jesus Part 1
- Sharing the Gospel with Kids – Talking about Following Jesus Part 2
- 7 Tips for Sharing the Gospel with Kids
- Recommended Resources for Helping Kids Understand the Gospel