The story of Cain & Abel: Helping your kids to develop a proper doctrine of sin.
Written by Brian Dembowczyk: Brian is the team leader for The Gospel Project for Kids. He served in local church ministry for over 16 years before coming to LifeWay Publishers.
Several years ago when I was pastor of a church in Kentucky, I went out to lunch with a group from the church and was introduced to my first hot brown. They had two sizes—regular and large—so of course I ordered the large and I enjoyed every bite of the creamy, cheesy bacon and turkey sandwich. As I finished my lunch, one of the ladies in the group said, “You know, Brian, they have this huge brownie sundae here that I have never seen anyone finish. I’ll buy you one if you think you can finish it.”
Two things I need to mention at this point. First, I don’t back down easily from a challenge. Second, this kind, sweet lady set me up. She knew all along that she was going to challenge me to this and yet she allowed me to order the large hot brown instead of the regular one. Needless to say, I finished the brownie sundae (although I really only enjoyed the first half of it). Also needless to say, I had a stomach ache for pretty much the rest of that day. But, alas, like a moth to the flame, I kept shoveling brownie ice cream goodness into my mouth. Spoon after spoon. I knew better, but I didn’t listen to my brain or my swelling belly. I listened to my pride instead.
All of us are that way when it comes to sin, too, aren’t we? We know better, yet we find ourselves drawn toward sin and the next thing you know, we are sick to our stomach spiritually. We weren’t the first. I’m sure Adam and Eve felt that way right after the Fall, and we know that Cain did soon after.
As you walk through Cain and Abel (Genesis 4:1-16,25-26) with your kids this week, you will want to help them understand how serious sin is and how we are all susceptible to its pull. We often hear people talk about their sin with a “the Devil made me do it” or a “the world is pulling me down” mentality. It is certainly true that Satan and his demons are active in leading people astray. It is also certainly true that the world’s fallen systems entice people to rebel against God. However, we have to be careful that we don’t give our own flesh a free pass.
We are quite good at sinning on our own without the help of Satan or the world.
Notice that God warned Cain bluntly that if he was not careful, sin would devour him. That is a warning we want our kids to hear and appreciate. As much as we love our kids, as cute as they are, and as innocent as they seem, let’s not forget that they are sinners by nature, just like us. They want to sin. They enjoy sin. And the world is indeed making it easier for them to give in to sin.
So don’t miss this opportunity to talk with them about how serious sin is. But at the same time, we don’t want to demoralize our kids and lead them to believe that there is no hope. This is the perfect opportunity to share the gospel and talk about how following Jesus is not a matter of what we can do for Him, but what He has done for us. Through Christ’s death and resurrection, He has provided total forgiveness for all who trust Him. And because of the gospel, we can live in freedom and grace, knowing that we are fully forgiven and fully accepted by God.
With all of that said, here are seven action steps you will want to help your kids take as they develop a proper doctrine of sin. Read More…
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