How can we be saved?
Only by faith in Jesus Christ and in his substitutionary atoning death on the cross; so even though we are guilty of having disobeyed God and are still inclined to all evil, nevertheless, God, without any merit of our own but only by pure grace, imputes to us the perfect righteousness of Christ when we repent and believe in him.
“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 may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9)
Only through faith in Jesus can we be saved from there punishment we rightly deserve from God
Outline for lesson
- Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you for saving me through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Please cause me to rejoice in my salvation and boldly proclaim the gospel to the people around me. Amen.
- Introduction: Familiarize yourself with the story of the Chilean miners who were trapped underground for sixty-nine days in August 2010, when the San Jose Mine collapsed. Print out some pictures of the scene, the mine, and the rescued men. Begin by asking the children if they have ever been saved from something terrible happening to them. Try to keep this question grounded in real life, rather than jumping straight to the gospel at this stage. Perhaps they’ve been saved from: Getting lost in the mall Running out in front of a car, Falling and breaking a leg Ask, “What did it feel like to be saved?” Ask the children if they’ve ever heard any stories about people being saved. Once you’ve exhausted their stories, share the story of the Chilean miners. Ask, “Who did the saving? What kind of people do you think they were? Were they brave or strong? Why did they want to save someone else?”Introduce Question 29: “How can we be saved?” Commend the children for their participation in the discussion. Remind them that everyone needs to be saved, not from a fire or from drowning or from a car crash, but from the punishment of God that is due to everyone who sins against him.
- Read: Cut out two large paper hearts for each child; they must be suitable for writing on. Stick up a cross at the front of your meeting room. Pass out markers. Begin the teaching time with prayer, asking that God would help you to teach the lesson faithfully and the children to listen well. Remind your children that in the story of the Chilean miners, you encountered people who really needed a savior. They needed to be saved. They were helpless and unable to save themselves. Explain that it’s not only people who are stuck in a burning building or a collapsed mine who need to be saved. that’s why the question “How can I be saved?”is such an important one! The Bible clearly teaches that everyone needs to be saved. Everyone who has ever lived or will ever live is facing punishment and death because everyone has disobeyed God. Emphasize to the children that this includes you and them. Tell them that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves from this fate. Briefly discuss what sin is (refer to Question 16) and the consequences of sin for each man, woman, and child. Be sensitive to those children who may be worried by this reality, but also seek to engage well with children who behave as if they’ve heard it all before. Be prepared to explain sin in a more detailed way to new or visiting children. Explain that you’re going to read a bit more from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Ephesus. Read Ephesians 2:1—3. Provide Bibles for the children so they can read along with you. Help the children to see that the passage describes those without a Savior as “dead in [our] trespasses and sins,” a devastating description that applies to everyone who has lived, is living, and will live. Help them to understand how people can be described as dead, when by all appearances they’re living and breathing. Those who have sinned against God are dead spiritually. They have no relationship with God because their sin separates them from God, and therefore they can do nothing to please God. We need a Super-Savior to save us from this terrible predicament! Explain to the children that in the passage Paul identifies everyone as a sinner— someone who has rejected God’s rule and failed to live according to his laws. Have the children write some of their personal sins on a paper heart. Gently help the children who believe that they’re sinless to see where they disobey God. This may be an appropriate time to share a little of your own testimony, highlighting how you came to realize that you were a sinner and dead in your trespasses and sin, one who deserved to be punished by God. Have them fold the heart in half so that no one can see inside. Read Ephesians 2:4—10. Tell the children that these verses are truly amazing because they explain that God so loved the world that he sent his only beloved Son to save all those who are dead in their sins, to bring them from death to life. Jesus is the Super-Savior! He’s the only One who is able to save. Explain to the children that God still had to punish someone for all the sins committed because he is a just God; Jesus took the place of and bore the punishment for sinners.Jesus was the only person who ever lived a perfect, sinless life. He was the only person who didn’t deserve punishment and death, because he never disobeyed God. Tell the children that when Jesus died on the cross, he stood in to take the punishment for sin. He paid the price that was required for people to be made alive to God. It is the greatest swap of all time: God takes the repentant sinner’s sin and puts it on Jesus. And he takes Jesus’s perfect righteousness and imputes it to all those who have faith in him. Ask the children to bring their sin-stained paper hearts to the foot of the cross and have them pick up a clean, unblemished heart. Explain to them that if they put their faith in the Lord Jesus and confess their sins, he gives them a clean heart. Remind the children that those who don’t trust in Jesus are described as dead, but those who trust in Jesus are made alive—they have a heart transplant. The good news is that those who are alive—those who have put their trust in Jesus to deal with their disobedience and sin—will enjoy a relationship with God forevermore. Remind the children that new life is a free gift from God. The Bible calls that saving grace. We don’t have to do anything to be saved except repent and believe in Jesus, whose resurrection from the dead ensures our eternal life.
- Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.