How Would You Explain Sanctification to a 5-Year-Old?

How Would You Explain Sanctification to a 5-Year-Old?

Sanctification is at the same time a gift given to believers at the time of salvation, as well as a life-long process that will last until the believer dies or is raptured (Phil 1:6). It is a special gift to become transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor 3:18)—to become more Christlike—but this only happens when we desire to be like the one whom we love and long to be united with him in heaven. Believer’s know that we are to put forth effort to die to self everyday (Col 3:5–10) and yet we know that it is also only by God’s constant grace that we are enabled to walk like him. It takes careful thought and attention to the Bible’s teaching on this topic to help Christians understand the seemingly contradictory aspects of  sanctification—and this is especially true when teaching the little ones. To break down this topic, we will further define sanctification and provide object lessons for teachers or small group leaders to use when illustrating what sanctification is. 

Sanctification is a long biblical word that we would be wise to define before teaching on the subject. Sanctification is “The ongoing work of God with the cooperation of the believer whereby the Christian is brought more and more into the likeness of Christ. In this process the Spirit (Gal 5:16–23) works through the transforming power of the Word of God (Eph 5:26) to make Christians mortify (kill) sin in their lives (Rom 8:13; Col 3:5) and live holy lives (1 Pet 1:15–16)” (Adventure Club: The Truth About Man, Sin, and Salvation, page 239.) This being said, we do not live life perfectly sinless once being justified, but believers are marked by a new heart (regeneration) and now live in a way that is pleasing to God. Believers are actively sanctified by putting off sin, renewing their mind with truth, and putting on good works (Ephesians 4:22–24). This process results in less and less sin as the believer grows in his or her faith—as the believer’s delight in God grows and they habitually kill sin.

When teaching 5-year-olds, it may be a challenge to keep their attention while teaching the concept of sanctification. To aid in illustrating sanctification and its stages, you can bring in a plant with all the different parts (roots, leaves, and flowers). Explain that roots are the source of all growth, this represents the Holy Spirit that causes a believer to grow, the fruits of sanctification are the leaves and flowers, they reflect the beauty of the Lord’s work in our lives and are confirmation of true faith.

Another thing you can do is show pictures of mountain climbers. Ask the students what direction the climbers are going. What happens if they stop moving? Explain that Christians will increase in sanctification throughout their lifetime, ultimately looking more like Christ as they climb through life.

Finally, you can give each student a dirty penny and ask them to clean it on their own. After this doesn’t work, add a couple pennies to a mix of vinegar and salt, polish after a few minutes and show the class how they are shiny and clean again. Explain how we cannot cleanse ourselves from sin on our own, but God helps us to see it and change.

In summary, teaching 5-year-olds is not as complicated as it may seem. For more object lessons, see our website for free videos: Adventure Club Teaching Tips - Grace Media

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