June 17, 2021

Explaining Salvation to a Child


My children believe that any person wearing metal armor or a head piece is a “Men-o-Knight”.  So, you can imagine the smiles that crack on people’s faces when they talk about dressing up as “Men-o-Knights” and fighting with swords.  This took a whole different turn, however, when they brought home a paper from Sunday School that had Jesus on the cross, surrounded by Roman soldiers.

“The Men-O-Knights killed Jesus,” my oldest one said.  You can’t help but wonder what Mennonites think of this accusation.  But hence the challenge of explaining why Jesus had to die to younger children.  They are concerned about “the ouchies in Jesus hands” and they want to give Him a hug, but they cannot yet grasp the concept that He had to die because they did wrong.

This realization is something that we all must come to.  At some point we must all realize that it wasn’t the Jews, the Romans, or anyone else that put Christ on the cross– it was all of sinful men.

It was for the rebellion that we expressed.  It was for the disobedience we do every day.  It’s for the ungodly thoughts we have and the things that we do in the flesh.  Our sin sent Jesus to the cross out of His love for us.

We must first realize we are sinners in order to see our need for a Savior.

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7 thoughts on “Explaining Salvation to a Child

  1. In our home we have carefully explained that Jesus took our sin on the cross, so that God would not have to punish us. We relate this to the spanking received for disobedience.

    My son is four. Even though I have told him over and over that no one is righteous (does right), and that ALL of us are headed for Hell unless we ask Jesus to forgive us for doing wrong (sin) and follow Him and that this is how we can go to Heaven, he thinks that we get to heaven by doing good things, and by being good. He thinks his daddy is perfect just like Jesus, and he doesn’t understand that even “bad people” will go to heaven if they ask Jesus to forgive them and then follow Him.

    It is interesting to try to explain this to my kid. Very interesting indeed.

    Mrs. Meg Logan

  2. I’ve heard it explained “Jesus took my spanking for me.”

    While it is an oversimplification, it puts it at a level most kids can understand. Jesus got in trouble and paid the price so we would not need to.

    It’s pretty amazing how simple yet complicated the whole thing is.

  3. It’s pretty amazing how simple yet complicated the whole thing is.

    Well, as you are “perfect just like Jesus” :whistle: , you can help me explain it to my children 🙂

    Elin, who is 5, loves singing and making up songs. The songs frequently contain refrains such as: “he died for our sins and we are forgiven. And then he came back to life. He is alive” (The last bit at twice the volume).

    You will note the lack of a rhyming scheme. The tunes are also somewhat unorthodox, but she is clearly absorbing the message.

  4. Doug, how do you teach them that Jesus was God if “Jesus got in trouble and paid the price so we would not need to”? I guess they’re not exclusive– since Jesus was punished from something He didn’t do. Just seems like it could get complicated.

    Stephen, I’m surprised that she’s not singing in iambic pentameter by now. Truly you must be slacking. (I was also waiting for you to say that it rhymes in Welsh, just not in English.)

  5. As we have our AWANA meeting tonight at our church, I was thinking of the way they say to give out the gospel. One thing they say not to ever do is to tell a child to ask Jesus in to their heart. I have always agreed with this from the standpoint that children are literal and that can be pretty confusing to them, (maybe even for some of us adults). A child will think of his/her literal beating heart inside their body.

    Yes, with our children we have always tried to keep it pretty simple. “God sent His Son to be born, live on the earth for 33 years then die on the cross for our sins. He was buried and rose again on the third day. Anyone that believes this will go to heaven to spend eternity with God.” We work on Acts 16:31 a lot with our children.

    I think if you start very early with your children…there is a God ‘belief’ long before there is an understanding of all that He has done. If you keep reinforcing that God is there; watching over them, caring for them and that He is doing the same for us as parents…it is not long before they are ready for more.

  6. I’ll have to remember that comment about not talking about asking Jesus into your heart. I think this may have been the first time that I’ve read that.

    The plan is simple, and it’s best to start early!

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