In past experiences of examining children’s ministry lesson plans and curricula, I have discovered that within almost every curriculum there will be at least one lesson, if not more, that is on the 10 commandments. I have studied and looked over several lesson plans on this subject, and almost every one has the same basic teaching plan- God gave us the 10 commandments, and Jesus said the 2 greatest commandments were “love God and love others” (paraphrase), so that’s what we should do. While this is right, I feel that this is missing the main point on why God gave us the commandments.
“So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.” – Galatians 3:24 (NIV)
God gave us the law to show us our need for a Savior. It was to show us that we are not good enough to measure up to God’s standards, not that we need to act better. If we only teach children to obey the commandments, they may imply that they can earn their way into heaven by being good enough, when in fact the Bible tells us just the opposite.
I have decided that every lesson that I encounter about the 10 commandments, I will add an ending somewhat similar to this, if it doesn’t already have it:
TEACHER: All of these commandments are very important because they are God’s rules. Now I want us all to be honest on this. I want you to look at each of these 10 commandments and think about the ones that you have broken at least once. Remember to be completely honest.
After kids have finished looking over them, SAY: God gave us these rules so that we can see that we are not good enough to get to heaven on our own (Gal. 3:24). The Bible says that every time we break one of God’s rules it is called sin and that if we have ever sinned once, it is like we are guilty of breaking all of God’s rules (James 2:10). Just like you get in trouble with your parents when you don’t obey, God must punish people who haven’t obeyed Him (Romans 3:23). But God is so loving that He decided to send Jesus to die on the cross and take our punishment for us (Romans 6:23). Jesus came back to life, after 3 days, proving that He was God and that we could trust his word. When we tell God that we are sorry for our sins, ask Him to help us not to want to sin anymore (Acts 17:30), and ask Jesus to save us (Romans 10:9), the Bible says that we can be forgiven for all of our sins.
The 10 commandments are important for us to follow because we love God (John 14:21), but they won’t get us to heaven. Only Jesus is good enough to get us to heaven so we must put our trust in him, instead of ourselves (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So what is your opinion on this subject? Have you found lessons on the 10 commandments that have left out the gospel? Have you found some that have included it? Leave your thoughts, comments, and opinions in the comment section!