Our salvation is wonderful, sweet, and absolutely free! This message uses candy to illustrate the grace of God that comes through Jesus. Whether kids go trick-or-treating in October or attend a harvest celebration, they likely receive fun treats that are free, at least to them. Someone had to pay for their prizes, though. As redeemed people, we recognize that we have received free grace from God instead of our deserved death. We know, though, that Jesus paid the price for our eternal life. Thanking God for that gift reminds us that it’s even better than candy!
We are sometimes tempted to think that we can earn or pay for our own salvation by what we do or how we live. The beauty of grace is that it’s free! All people were condemned to death through the sin of Adam, but we can all have eternal life through Jesus! His death conquered sin and death, and we know that we will live forever with Him because of His sacrifice. This passage reminds us of the good news of the Gospel. We have life through Jesus, and all we do is believe and receive it!
The lesson below is the NIV version for this Sunday School lesson, you can get other translation options when you download this PDF Bible lesson from the Sunday School Store. See more Romans Bible teaching ideas at Ministry-To-Children.com
Sunday School Lesson: Romans 5 and the Splendor of Salvation
- Passage: Romans 5:1-11; 15-17 (option: use the entire chapter)
- Target Audience: Kindergarten-6th grade
Materials Needed: Construction paper; decorative supplies; glue; markers or crayons; tape; scissors; candy; candy corn; paper plates; leaves; popsicle sticks; Bibles.
Lesson Opening: This passage reminds students that God offers us grace and mercy, free and wonderful. Consider these blessings with a fun opener, or (if following the theme at fall), incorporate a special fall activity. To get students thinking and ready to learn, consider an activity opener along these lines:
- Get the prize anyway… Challenge students to do something that is nearly impossible, like answering extra tough questions or fixing something only an adult is capable of. Promise a prize if they can complete the task, which they’ll then realize is beyond their power. Offer to give them the prize anyway, explaining that this is what grace is all about: getting what we don’t deserve and cannot earn!
- Who would represent you? Invite students to consider who they would want to stand in for them in varied circumstances. For instance, if they were going up in a trivia contest and could pick a helper to substitute for them, who would they choose? How about a running race? Children can pick from others in the room or famous celebrities. Explain that the lesson today has to do with Someone who took our place in a very important way.
- Falling leaves pickup: If this lesson is taught in autumn, start with some fun fall activities. Scatter real or decorative leaves all over a classroom or playing area. Shout “Jesus never leaves you!” and have kids race to pick up as many leaves as possible, counting who gathers the most.
- Free grace candy grab: provide students with several types of candy, in or out of wrappers. Blindfold one student at a time and invite them to try identifying the candies without looking at them. It might feel tough, but nothing is impossible! In the same way, on our own we cannot gain eternal life, but with Jesus all things are possible. Provide a few pieces of candy as a free reward to students.
Explain that the lesson here involves how we know that we are saved by Jesus. Nothing we do earns His love or grace, but we can receive it freely when we believe in who He is and what He does for us.
Bible Lesson: Romans 5
This passage is from one of Paul’s epistles. Explain beforehand to students that it was originally a letter written by Paul to encourage and instruct believers. Have older students take turns reading, or read aloud to younger kids. This is a good passage to read through a verse or two at a time, pausing for explanations, especially with younger students.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. -Romans 5:1-5
It can be easy for young children to get lost in the wording of these verses, so it’s helpful to explain what Paul describes here. When he talks about being “justified,” it means that our sins are covered and God does not hold them against us. Jesus also allows us to come to Him and through faith brings us into God’s presence.
It also might sound strange to rejoice in sufferings. Why would we be happy that hard things happen? We see the answer in the verses following: suffering leads to endurance, which leads to character and hope. Going through tough things makes us stronger. Sure, you could “lift weights” using pillows, but it wouldn’t really make you stronger. We get stronger by doing heavy lifting.
Ask: Have you ever had something hard happen that wound up leading to something good? Have you ever drawn closer to a person or to God because of tough circumstances?
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. -Romans 5:6-11
These verses are quite important. Note how Paul emphasizes that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. We didn’t and cannot do anything to earn His love and grace. Jesus gave His life for our sake, even though He knew that we are sinful and would continue to sin. When we realize what He has done and continues to do for us, it makes grace all the more wonderful and sweet. We can truly rejoice that Jesus has done the hard work, and we get to reap the benefit of grace!
Ask: Would you do something nice for someone who was mean to you? How does it feel to know that Jesus died for us even though we make mistakes?
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. -Romans 5:12-14
This component hardly seems fair. Because Adam sinned, we are all born sinful. No matter what, we inherit the guilt of the first man and we know that we will naturally do wrong. Not only that, but because of our sins, we deserve death! It seems like we are getting punished for someone else’s wrong, but actually we do our own fair share of sinning. It’s just that we are inclined to do wrong because of original sin. We live in a fallen, broken world. There is tremendous hope, though, and it’s found in the next verses.
But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many. 16 And the free gift is not like the result of that one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brought justification. 17 For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. -Romans 5:15-17
Through one man (Adam), we inherited sin, which seems like we are doomed. However, through another man (Jesus), we have the gift offered of eternal life! Everyone is capable of receiving this salvation. It might seem unfair to be automatically born with sin, but it’s also unfair to not have to pay the consequences for our actions. Jesus took the blame and punishment on Himself, and because of Him, we are justified, once and for all, and can inherit eternal life!
Ask: Have you ever gotten in trouble for something you didn’t do? (OR) Have you ever gotten something you didn’t have to pay or work for?
Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. 20 Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21 so that, as sin reigned in death, grace also might reign through righteousness leading to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Here is the really good news! Emphasize to students how these verses summarize the joy and grace offered by the Gospel. Sin leads to death, but grace leads to life! We do not have a choice in sinning. We are born sinful. But we can all inherit eternal life by being willing to receive God’s grace and forgiveness. Thanks be to God!
Close with prayer, thanking God for grace through His Son and asking Him for help to live as His beloved children.