Today we continue our detailed look at a presentation given by Jill Nelson at the 2007 Children Desiring God Conference entitled “Presenting the Gospel to Children.” In my last post, I introduced the series (including links to both the audio and the handouts. Thus far we have looked at the following:
- Essential Truth #1 – God is the Sovereign Creator of All Things
- Essential Truth #2: God Created People For His Glory
- Essential Truth #3 – God is Holy and Righteous
- Essential Truth #4 – Man is Sinful
Today we will continue with the next Essential Gospel Truth which kids need to understand to combat false gospels and to understand the true and saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. So, let’s get started. ESSENTIAL TRUTH #5 IS:
God is just and right to punish sin.
In her talk and in the handouts to the talk, Ms. Nelson gives poignant, concise and theological sounds explanations for each of the truth which will work great with kids. I have included my notes of these explanations below, but I would encourage you to listen to and/or read her full narratives as well.
- Sin, even one sin, is not ok with God because he is just and holy.
- God hates sin.
- God is angry with sin.
- The right punishment for sin is death and hell.
- Death means experiencing God’s great anger in a place called hell.
- Because everyone is a sinner, including you and me, we all deserve to be punished by God.
- There is nothing we can do to help ourselves.
- We can’t become sinless.
- We can’t obey God.
- We can’t wash away our own sins.
- Mommy and Daddy can’t help either.
- There is nothing worse than hell.
- You can never be happy in hell.
- Sinners can’t go to heaven.
- It is a huge problem. It is our biggest problem.
Ms. Nelson explains that we need to let this sink in for kids. Don’t jump right to the message of salvation. Kids need to have the time to wrestle with this. Don’t worry about them feeling bad. Ms. Nelson explains they:
“Need to feel something about the depth of condemnation before you can truly be amazed by the free gift of salvation and justification from God.”
Let children think about it, ponder it and feel it!
- Look at the world.
- Examine the earthly effects of sin with kids.
- Jails are an indication of crime.
- Is it good to punish?
- What does it show?
- Cookie example
- Bake cookies with your kids
- Do one thing different
- Bake them for an extra half hour
- Ask kids, is this the way cookies are supposed to be?
- Would it be right to say these cookies are good anyhow? No. That would make us a liar.
- What would be the right thing to do with these cookies? Throw them away.
- Can cookies un-burn themselves?
- This is a little bit what it is like that God is right to punish sinners
- As they became darkened and hard when overcooked, our hearts do the same thing.
- It wouldn’t be right for God to say they were good anyway.
- Just as the cookies are helpless to un-burn themselves…we are helpless to change ourselves.
The implication of this truth to kids is:
You deserve God’s punishment of death and hell. You are helpless to save yourself.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. [Romans 1:18 ESV]
For the wages of sin is death, [Romans 6:23a ESV]