We are all dead! Dead to sin, that is…this lesson focuses on the joy we have in knowing that the death and resurrection of Jesus changes our lives and gives us the hope that we are a new creation. Children understand the concept of change, and see it all around them. Use familiar “transforming” items such as animals and food products to demonstrate how things can be made utterly different. Similarly, our lives change when we allow Jesus to live and work through them.
As Christians, we know that we share in the death of Jesus through baptism. We share in His resurrection, too! Thanks to the sacrifice and life of Jesus, we are free from former sins. We are not slaves to sin anymore. We still make mistakes, of course, but Jesus washes those away and makes us clean. We are united with Him in death and resurrection, so we can live like a new creation! The law does not rule over us, but grace.
Passage: Romans 6:1-14
Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Construction paper; decorative supplies; glue; markers or crayons; tape; scissors; paper bags; tissue paper; coffee filters; sponges; food items that change; pictures of “transforming” animals; Bibles.
Lesson Opening: This Bible lesson how we are transformed and made new by Jesus. He gives us new life, trading our sins for blessings. Consider a few simple activities to kick things off:
- Have a large cross cut out of cardboard or drawn on paper. Invite students to write down sins and mistakes they have made, and then “nail” (tape or write) them to the cross, showing that Jesus has paid for our sins on the cross.
- Remembering baptism…discuss baptism (for students who have been baptized) and why it is important and reminds us of new life in Jesus.
- Remembering baptism…uniquely! Play a water game (especially if the weather is hot) to recall the joy of baptism and how it cleanses our sins. Consider a sponge relay (passing a wet sponge and squeezing into a container), “leaky cup relay”, or even a water balloon toss.
- Trading up: Give children an old worn out item, or an empty paper wrapper. Then trade them for something new and better, or a treat inside, to show how God takes our sins and gives us new life.
- Washed clean: watch a powerful object lesson of sin cleansing. Show students a jar with colored water (use food coloring). Demonstrate how the water is made clean by pouring bleach inside. When we have Christ in our lives, our sins are wiped out and we are made new and clean!
Share with students that this lesson comes from the book of Romans, and focuses on how we are made new and clean in Jesus. We give up the old sinful ways and have new life in Christ!
This passage from the book of Romans reminds us of the importance of salvation through grace. Students can know that they have new life in Christ, and are not slaves to sin. For younger students, explain verses as they are read. Older students can take turns reading the parts of the passage in turn.
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
If students have been baptized, this is a great opportunity to discuss the importance and significance of baptism, celebrating our “death” and “resurrection with Jesus. Even without baptism, children can be glad for freedom from sin. These verses remind us that Jesus has covered our sins. They are behind us. Some people think that because we have been forgiven, we should just keep sinning with reckless abandon, knowing that God takes away our sins. This passage explains how silly that concept is. Yes, we make mistakes and God forgives them, but we shouldn’t even want to sin. Those ways should be behind us, because life with Jesus is so much better! We want to please and bless Him with our lives.
Ask: What are some things that get new life? (Think of butterflies, plants, etc.). Those things wouldn’t want to go back to their old ways. Neither should we! We are made new!
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. -Romans 6:5-7
Invite children to consider what being trapped or tied to something would be like. Would you want to be kept in captivity? Of course not! This reminds us that we are not slaves anymore. We don’t have to be stuck in sins, but can be set free. No one would willingly want to be a slave. We are free in Jesus! We are also united with Him. He has made us new!
Ask: What would you do if you were suddenly set free from something that had you held down?
Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. -Romans 6:8-11
Death has no dominion. That means we don’t have to fear death, because it doesn’t control us anymore. We are alive in Jesus. He is our master and controller, more powerful than sin, death, or destruction. Jesus is our ruler and gives us life!
Ask: What does new life mean? How can you celebrate being a new creation?
12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. -Romans 6:12-14
This reminds us to live as free people, not as slaves. Our whole lives should demonstrate that we have been made new and don’t live in sin anymore. Yes, we sometimes sin. But God forgives us! We are not ruled by those old mistakes. We should live in grace, rejoicing in the new life that Jesus gives us.
Ask: How can we serve God with our whole lives? How could you honor Him in body, action, and spirit?
Close with prayer, thanking God for giving us new life in Jesus.