As a Christian parent, you will have a deep desire to teach your own children about God and His free gift of grace. You will have the longing for each child to choose to follow Jesus for him or herself. Salvation is not a one-time conversation but will be ongoing as your child understands more and more. You will want to clearly know how to explain salvation to your child.
The Bible has laid out everything we need to know about God’s plan, the gift of Jesus, how Jesus alone is the only One who can atone for sin, and what happens if we believe His death covered our sin. We have what we need to explain these truths to our children.
Plan of Salvation for Kids
Your job as a Christian parent is to teach your children about God, the Bible, Jesus, and His work throughout history. The salvation message is the most important thing that you need to teach your child since Jesus is the only way to heaven. We can’t let the distractions of this world keep us from this.
While living a life for God can be challenging, thankfully salvation itself is simple. It’s important to teach our children about salvation in a way they can understand. However, it is ultimately the power of the Holy Spirit that will draw our child to Jesus Christ. The gospel of Jesus has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the blood of Jesus and His work on the cross.
Your child does not need to wait until he is an adult to trust in Jesus but even young children can understand. Salvation is for little children, older children, and adults. As adults, often we tend to overcomplicate the message of salvation or underestimate what our children can understand. Check out what Jesus said about children.
“Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Mark 10:15 ESV
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How to Explain Salvation to a Child
As parents, we often make things harder than they need to be. We overthink so many things! However, salvation is simple and we only need a simple explanation of salvation to share with our children. Also, sharing the message of salvation needs to be ongoing from an early age.
I love the point Lifeway makes when teaching children about salvation. Before a child can choose salvation, they need to know the beauty of the gospel . . . why they need salvation in the first place. This is an important part of the plan of salvation for kids. Let’s not neglect to give them the whole message of God’s story. It’s not enough to only share that Jesus died on the cross for our sins so we can go to heaven. Let’s look at some important points below.
God is in charge
God is the One Who created the world and all that is in it, including you and me. He is the One in charge of how things work. He made people special and wanted a personal relationship with us (Colossians 1:16-17).
However, we have a sin problem. Adam and Eve sinned and disobeyed God, which gave all of us the desire to be selfish and choose wrong. This is our sin nature. We now have a sinful heart.
Do you know what sin is? Sin is anything we do that goes against God’s commands (give some examples of sin here). We are all sinners . . . and sin cannot enter heaven. In fact, the wages of sin is death. (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23)
This printable scripture coloring book features each verse from the Romans Road to Salvation scriptures with cute boy and girl elements to color.
This activity is perfect for use at home, in a homeschool setting, or Sunday school.
God made a way
The good news is that God’s love is so great, that He made a way for us to go to heaven. He sent His perfect Son Jesus, who lived a perfect life, to die in our place. When Jesus was on the cross, He took the full wrath of God upon Himself . . . the wrath that we deserved. But Jesus didn’t stay dead! He rose again and now lives back in heaven. Because He died in our place, we can go to heaven and have eternal life. (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:4; John 3:16)
Once your child understands that the way of salvation is through Jesus alone, he or she has a personal decision to make. Unfortunately, as Christian parents, we can’t make this choice for them.
This most likely will be a process, especially if you are talking about God, Jesus, the way to heaven, etc. often. Every gospel conversation will be important. However, there will come a point when your child truly understands and needs to choose to be a part of God’s family.
The ABCs of salvation
While many will use the ABCs of salvation as a tool, as mentioned above, first your child needs to know why salvation is needed. The ABCs are a response to the gospel message.
- A – Admit that you are a sinner. You don’t need saving if you don’t think you do anything wrong.
- B – Believe that Jesus died for you. Believe that He is the only way to heaven.
- C – Choose. Okay, traditionally the C is for confess that Jesus is Lord, which is important. However, I often think we make light of the importance of this decision. Even the demons confessed that Jesus is Lord (Luke 4:40-41). Jesus told His followers to count the cost of following Him. That is why I love the word “choose.”
“And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” Luke 9:23
When our child comes to true faith in Jesus for his salvation, he or she will begin to change from the inside out. Having your child say a prayer will not save them. Is a prayer helpful? I believe that it is.
However, make sure your child isn’t trusting that prayer for salvation, but trusting in the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross. True salvation will result in spiritual fruit or growth in their life.
What does the Bible say about the role of a mother? To learn more about being a godly mother, check out these 10 characteristics of a good mother according to the Bible.
Resources for Teaching Kids about Salvation
Whether you are a Sunday school teacher, working in children’s ministry, or a parent, sometimes it can help our children if they have a visual aid to help them understand salvation. Something like a salvation bracelet can help explain the colors of salvation in the gospel message. A wordless book is another great tool using those colors. A salvation object lesson can also be helpful.
Salvation object lesson
These lessons illustrate how trusting in Jesus to forgive you of sin will change you. They can help your child picture how salvation works and can be a great starting point. While not necessary, an object lesson can help your child see that because of Jesus, they can be pure and clean.
- Hard-boiled egg. I loved this for a simple, hands-on object lesson about salvation.
- Iodine and bleach. This is a video on YouTube that you can share with your children. It’s a pretty cool visual about how we are contaminated with sin, but when we trust in Jesus, our sin is washed away. It also covers forgiveness as well.
- Simple Salvation object lessons. There are 5 simple object lessons that you can use to teach your children about salvation.
Salvation Prayer for Kids
When your child is ready to trust in Jesus for salvation and become God’s child, you may want to pray with him. As previously mentioned, make sure your child understands the gospel message and the choice to choose Jesus. They need to know that the prayer won’t save them but their trust in Jesus is what will. Below is an example of a prayer of salvation for kids.
“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner and that sin can’t enter heaven. I know that nothing I do will get me into heaven. I thank You that You sent Jesus to earth to be the perfect sacrifice in my place. I thank You that He didn’t stay dead, but rose again on the third day according to Your plan! I receive this free gift of salvation and choose to follow You with my life. Thank you for providing the way to heaven. Help me to follow You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
Teaching our children about God and being there when they make that choice is one of the greatest joys a parent can have! I’m praying that each one of us gets to witness our children following God with their lives. Do you have any helpful tips or experiences about explaining salvation to your child? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
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