Essential Gospel Truth #6

6) God is merciful. He is kind to undeserving sinners.

Suggested Verses: Psalm 145:8;  Ephesians 2:8-9

Explanation: God is holy and righteous. God is right to demand that people be holy and righteous like
Him. God’s commands show us what it means to be holy and righteous. God’s commands also show us that we are all sinners. Because God is just, He is right to punish sinners – you and me – with death and hell. This is our biggest problem! And we are helpless to solve this problem. Is there anyone who COULD help us? Yes, GOD! God is all-powerful and nothing is too hard for Him to do. How could He help us? And why would He want to help

                  God is a merciful God. That means that God is kind to sinners who don’t deserve His kindness. God’s mercy (or grace) is like a free gift or present. Presents are wonderful things that someone gives to you. God gives helpless sinners the free gift of His kindness. It’s a free gift from God because it is not something that you deserve. God gives it to sinners because He wants to, not because He owes it to anyone. You can’t work for God’s mercy or earn God’s mercy by any- thing you do. How does God show that He is merciful to sinners? 

                  One way is by being patient with us. Even though God is right to be very angry with sin, God is slow to get angry and slow to punish us. God doesn’t have a temper tantrum when people sin. God’s anger isn’t “out of control”. He doesn’t throw us eagerly into hell when we sin. The fact that you and I are still alive, even after we have sinned against God, proves that God is patient with us. It is a free gift of His kindness – even though we don’t deserve His kindness.

                  But even though God is patient, He still must punish sin. So God in His mercy made a way for sin to be punished and sinners be saved. God, in His great kindness, made a way for sinners to be saved from death and hell so that we could go to heaven and live forever with God instead. That is the most merciful thing that God could do! That is the best free gift that God could ever give to sinners Did God have to do this? No. God did this because He is merciful and good.”

For starters discuss the Prodigal son (Luke 15): Read this story with children. Point to how the father gave undeserved kindness to his son. Then use examples in your child’s own life where they have received mercy show them and explain to them: That’s a little bit what it’s like when God is merciful to us.

·       Assign child a task: “If you dust the house today, I will give you one dollar.”  They dust. You say, “You have earned one dollar, I’m going to give you one dollar.” Later in the day, surprise your child and say “You know what? I want to give you a gift.” Give them a gift and ask them, “Now did you do anything to earn this gift?” They could say “Well I dusted the house earlier” and you respond with “No. I gave you a dollar for the dusting the house earlier-you earned that. I wanted to give you a gift just because I wanted to do it-because I love you. It wasn’t for anything special you did.” Then you can use an illustration to show them: “That’s a little bit of what its like that God show’s kindness to undeserving sinners. He gives us a free gift not because of anything we have done or earned but because he wanted to-because he loves us.”

·       Task & with payment: (This time give them something impossible to do). “Move the sofa from this side of the house to the other side of the living room.” (Don’t come up with a solution right away. Let them struggle through it). Later on in the day, you can say something like “You know what? I’ve decided that Dad will move the sofa for you. And Dad doing it, then I’ll give you the dollar. That’s mercy. Something impossible you couldn’t do. You couldn’t get the prize but somebody stepped in and did it for you. Out of kindness, you didn’t earn this dollar, you didn’t deserve it but I accepted that somebody came in and helped you-that’s mercy.”

Implication: You must depend on God’s Mercy in order to be saved.

Heather’s thoughts: Yesterday (explaining about sin & hell) was something very hard to hear & explain to children. However, without that it will be hard for us & others to see the magnificent beauty of God’s mercy on us.  Keeping in mind the things we’ve talked about so far, once we have the complete story or gospel, we will be able better see the wholeness of God’s beauty-the Holy God that came down to save and redeem a sinful chosen people through his son Jesus Christ all for the sake of His glory. May God grant us the grace to understand these things for ourselves so that we may joyfully share the good news to others-and especially children.

Tomorrow will be Essential Gospel Truth #7 which is “Jesus is God’s Holy & Righteous Son.”

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