One of the very first words my grandson learned to write was his name, “David.” Five letters of the alphabet, written in a specific order, and they now identify a little boy. Each letter significant. Each unique. Each letter necessary for his name.
In the past several posts, I have used the example of teaching children the alphabet to highlight the necessity of teaching children a type of “Gospel alphabet
.” This alphabet consists of foundational truths—antecedents
—that are meant to help our children properly understand the person and work of Jesus. In brief summary, children need to be taught…
Introducing these truths in a slow, step-by-step, progression is an important part of our children’s formal Bible education. These truths provide the necessary foundation for understanding these two words:
Two very short words. Only six distinct letters…yet incomparable in their greatness, worth, and meaning! But unless we have given children some antecedents for understanding these two words, their grasp of the riches of the Gospel and the glory of Jesus will be sorely deficient.
Jesus—Who is He? What is He like? Why does it matter?
Saves—Who does He save? Why does He save? How does He save?
Again, providing our children with a biblical alphabet, beginning in the Old Testament, that has addressed the main questions regarding…
- Who is God, and what is He like?
- Who is man in relation to God?
- What is sin, and why is it our most important problem?
This gives children the basic truths and biblical context needed for understanding what it means that “Jesus saves.” Here are some basic truths we need to communicate to our children regarding the Person and work of Jesus.
- is the promised Savior foretold in the Scriptures.
- was born of a virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit, without a sin nature.
- is God’s own Son.
- is fully God.
- became fully man while remaining fully God.
- perfectly obeyed God’s holy and righteous law.
- willingly died a substitutionary death on behalf of His people.
- received the full wrath of God on behalf of His people.
- conquered sin, Satan, and death as evidenced by His resurrection.
- imputes His perfect righteousness to His people.
- reconciles His people to God.
- obtains eternal life for His people.
Yes, at first glance this seems like a lot for children to grasp. But, if we have taken care to provide them with a Gospel alphabet, these concepts will not be wholly new. They will have been introduced, slowly, precept-upon-precept, step-by-step. These foundational truths serve to magnify the incomparable greatness and worth of Jesus and the riches of His saving work on behalf of sinners for the glory of God!
Looking for a practical resource to help provide your children with a better understanding of the Gospel? Here are two family devotional resources:
Helping Children to Understand the Gospel
Read Part 1: Giving Children a Gospel Alphabet
Read Part 2: The Gospel Alphabet—Teaching the “Antecedents”
Read Part 3: The Gospel Alphabet—A Robust Doctrine of God
Read Part 4: The Gospel Alphabet—Who We Are in Relation to God
Read Part 5: The Gospel Alphabet—Sin