This five part series expands on my answer to the question from Children’s Ministry Think Tank #5 on the Ministry-to-Children.com website. In my response to the question:
“How do you teach the doctrine of sin to children without harming their self-esteem? Especially with preschool children, how explicitly do you teach them about their own depravity? How do parents in your ministry respond to these issues?”
I noted five areas I believe children must be taught about sin in order to fully understand the concept. Those were:
- What is sin?
- Where does it come from?
- Who sins?
- What are the consequences of sin?
- What is the solution for sin?
In this installment, we will look teaching kids the answer to the question “What Is The Solution For Sin?”
What is the solution for sin?
Finally, we get to the good news! There is a solution to our sin problem. In teaching kids about sin, it is critical that it be coupled with the good news of the cross. I might approach it something like this:
“Remember that we learned that sin is about an attitude of the heart. It’s about wanting to be our own God instead of following the real God. If sin were just a series of bad actions, we might be able to avoid those actions and fix our sin problem on our own. But sin is about the heart, and only God can change our hearts. Remember that God made us in his own image, as his masterpiece, and that God’s masterpiece was broken by sin. Remember that God does not sin, and he can’t live with, or be in relationships with, people who do sin. Sin has consequences and everyone must pay the price for their sin, and there is nothing that we can do about it. The consequence for sin is living forever without God. It sounds like a pretty bad situation without a good solution, doesn’t it? Fortunately, God had a solution for our sin problem before he ever made the earth. God knew that we would sin, and he knew that someone would have to pay the price for that sin. But, he also loves us very much. So, he sent his son, Jesus Christ, to earth as a man to die in our place and pay the penalty we deserve for our sin. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God no longer looks at us and sees sin. He looks at us and sees his sinless son.”
Kids must understand that they are sinners. However, they should also understand that they are God’s masterpieces, and God has made a way to restore his masterpiece to the way he intended it to be!
Finally, kids must understand that, accepting Jesus Christ sets us free from slavery to sin but does not make us sinless. Christians continue to sin despite the fact that they don’t want to sin. Kids should be assured that this does not mean that they are not saved and taught that God continues to work in our lives so that we can be aware of our sin and strive to sin less, but that we are not immediately made sinless. Instead, we must be aware of our sins as Christians and repent of those sins. Kids should be taught that repentance is more than just saying I’m sorry. It is admitting our sin problem to God and genuinely desiring to turn away from that sin. That said, I think teaching kids about repentance is better left for another series!