Earn It or Receive It?
Announce there will be a contest to earn a prize. (Buy a small prize for each child.) Make a list of chores/activities for the kids to do and assign each a point value. (Clean bathroom sink—10 points; Read to little brother—10 points; Wipe the table—10 points; Sing a song—10 points; Set the table—10 points; etc.—chores will depend on the age of the kids.)
Announce that if the kids earn 250 points by a certain time (bedtime?), they will get a prize. (Make sure that the kids will NOT be able to earn enough points to reach the goal.)
At the end of the contest, add up the points and express disappointment that the kids did not EARN enough points. Then announce that you have a gift for each of them.
What is the difference between earning a prize and receiving a gift? (Earning a prize means that you have to do something to get it, but a gift is given, not earned)
Read Ephesians 2:8-9.
How are we saved or made right with God? (By faith; by believing in Jesus; it is a gift from God; etc.)
We are made right with God by faith, by believing in what Jesus has already done. It is a gift that can never be earned by the good things we do.
Share an object lesson to show how God wipes our sins away. Ask kids to name some sins that kids their age do (disobeying, fighting, stealing, etc.). Allow them to write the sin on a chalkboard or whiteboard (or piece of paper, if you don’t have a whiteboard).
When sins have been added, ask:
How does God feel about sin? (He hates sin; He is separate from sin; etc.)
Jesus died on the cross to take our punishment for sin. If we believe in Jesus and what He did on the cross, God will wipe away our sin. (Invite one of the kids to erase all the sins—or rip up the piece of paper.) We will be justified—just as if I’d never sinned.
What? Exchange Places?
When your child disobeys, announce the punishment/consequence for the misbehavior, but then tell your child that you want to take their punishment. Talk about it: Were you surprised when I took your punishment? Who deserved to be punished?
We have sinned against God and deserve to be punished, but Jesus took our punishment. This is grace…grace is getting something you don’t work for or even deserve. God freely gives us grace. When we believe in what Jesus did and accept His forgiveness, all our sins are gone and we are right with God.