For an introduction to the series, read this.
We are nearing the end of our series through the Apostles’ Creed:
Memorization for the Week
I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth;
And in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. The third day he rose from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there he will come to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins.
Thoughts for Discussion with Children
Have you ever been in a situation where one of your friends did something mean to you, but then later said he was sorry for it? How did you respond? I know a lot of children in that situation often say, “That’s okay.” And then they’re friends again.
If you have ever said, “That’s okay,” to somebody who wronged you, it’s good that you had a heart that wanted to forgive him. However, I don’t think saying “That’s okay” is really the best way to do that. Because if you say, “That’s okay,” it sounds like what you mean is, “What you did wasn’t very bad, so no big deal.” But is that always true? In fact, it’s not always true. Sometimes people, even close friends, do things that are not okay. They are sins that hurt us and break God’s law. And truth be told, sometimes we do the same kinds of things. Instead of saying, “That’s okay,” it’s better to say, “I forgive you.”
The Bible teaches that God forgives our sins if we repent and turn to Jesus in faith for forgiveness. That does not mean that God says, “That’s okay” to us, as though our sins are not really so bad. In fact, our sins are far, far worse than even we realize! Every time we sin, it’s like shaking our fist at God’s face and telling him, “You won’t be God over me!” And if you think about how terrible that is, it is really quite overwhelming.
But praise God that he still loves us, even though we have rebelled against him! And as we have talked about, God sent his Son to die and to be raised for our sins, and he sent his Spirit to give us new hearts that turn away from sin and to his Son in faith. And he did all of this, not because our sins are not bad, but because they are. Only his grace can bring forgiveness of sins to us. And because he has forgiven us so much, we also have to forgive others, because there is no way we will ever forgive another person as much as God has forgiven us through Jesus Christ.
A lot of people think either that sin is not bad, and so it can be forgiven, or that it is very bad, and therefore it cannot be forgiven. But the good news of the Bible is that our sin is indeed very, very, very bad, and yet it can be forgiven. That’s because Jesus is a greater Savior than we have ever imagined, and what he did on the cross paid the penalty for our sins until there was nothing left for us to pay.
Suggested Readings for the Week: Mark 2:1-12; Luke 7:36-50; 1 John 1:9