Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word?
Yes, so that our lives may show love and gratitude to God; and so that by our godly behavior others may be won to Christ.
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:11-12
Christians have been made citizens of heaven, which should affect the way we live in this world.
Outline for lesson
- Open in prayer: Gracious God, thank you that you call us to become citizens of heaven. Thank you that I can confidently know that my home is in heaven with you and that I have been chosen to be your precious possession, holy and set apart for your glory. Help me to live a fruitful life of gratitude to you. May my life bear great witness to you. Grant understanding to the children who will hear this lesson. May they clearly understand that salvation is by grace through faith and that the right response to you is a thankful heart. In Jesus’s name. Amen.
You will need some passports representing different countries or Pictures of Passports from different countries. Show the children the passports, and ask them to identify what kind of information passports contain. For example:\
Country of birth
Date of birth
Explain that a passport can reveal a lot about a person. It particularly reveals a person’s citizenship. Remind them of lesson 27 when you talked about adoption. If children from another country are adopted by someone, they become a citizen of their adoptive parents’ country. They will receive a new passport, learn the language of their parents, and grow up eating the food that is popular in their new country. Explain that once a person becomes a Christian, he or she becomes a citizen of heaven. We take on the citizenship that belongs to our heavenly Father, and it will change the way we live. Introduce the children to Question 34:
“Since we are redeemed by grace alone, through Christ alone, must we still do good works and obey God’s Word ” Explain to children that citizens of heaven will glorify God and by their witness show a watching world what God is like.
You will need a sticker or label for each child with the name of a famous person written on it. Pick cartoon characters or celebrities who will be easily recognizable! Place a sticker on each child’s forehead and tell the children that they have to figure out who they are they can ask any questions they like to the other children in the group, but they can receive only yes or no answers!
For example, the children could ask:
Am I a man?
Am I a woman?
Am I an animal?
Do I have black hair?
Am I old?
Am I young?
Do I have glasses?
Once the children have figured out the identity of the character on their stickers, explain to them that the Bible clearly declares who Christians are and what their identity is.
- Lesson: Begin the teaching time by asking for God’s help. Ask that the lesson would be taught faithfully and that the children might listen well.
Read 1 Peter 2:9-12 Provide Bibles for the children to read along.
Remind the children that a few minutes ago, when they had a label on their head, they needed help figuring out who they were. In this short passage, Peter is trying to help some of his Christian friends understand who they are. Invite them to look at the passage and see if they can find the four different ways that Peter describes Christians.
Remind them that when someone becomes a Christian, he or she becomes a citizen of heaven. Although Christians live on earth for a time, their real home is with God in heaven—that’s why Peter calls Christians “sojourners.” Peter says that they are members of a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for God’s own possession. Highlight for the children that Christians are:
Chosen: God has chosen people to become members of his family, citizens of heaven, and he wants to spend forever with them. Christians are God’s possessions, which he bought with the blood of his precious Son.
Holy: Christians are set aside by God to be sanctified—to become more like Jesus.
A royal priesthood: Christians have direct access to God and have been called to serve others for God’s glory.
God gives his people an identity, and he also gives his people a purpose in life. Tell the children that as citizens of heaven, God wants Christians to live in a new way, the way of their new adoptive Father and heavenly country. He wants the world to know all about him and about Jesus, and his plan has always been to use Christians to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9).
Explain that when we do good works and obey God’s Word, we are acting like citizens of heaven. We are showing people what our adoptive heavenly Father is like, and we hope that our lives will make them want to join God’s family. Be clear that doing good works and obeying God’s Word won’t make anyone right with God. Instead, Christians will do good works and obey God’s Word as a response to God’s kindness.
Explain that God clearly teaches through his Word who his people are and what their purpose in life is. They have an identity and a job! Ask them if they think that being a Christian is exciting and a privilege. Help them to understand that becoming a citizen of heaven is the most wonderful thing that could happen to anyone ever and serving God in his world is an immense privilege.
Finish up by asking the children to consider whether Christians are good witnesses for God in his world. Discuss with the children how they might live for God and bring glory to God in gratitude for his saving grace.
- Recite: Help children memorize this week’s verse, question and answer.