Questions About the Work of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in Salvation:
- Q: What does Christ do to save his people?
- A: He fills the offices of prophet, priest and king.
- Q: How is Christ a prophet?
- A: He reveals God to us and teaches us his will.
The New Testament presents Jesus as a greater prophet even than Moses. He is the Word of God and he the ultimate revelation of God. Kids need to know that to know God they must know Jesus and his words.
- Q: Why do you need Christ as a prophet?
- A: Because I do not know God's will.
- Q: How is Christ a priest?
- A: He sacrificed himself for our sins and prays for us.
- Q: Why do you need Christ as a priest?
- A: Because I am guilty and separated from God.
All the priests and sacrifices of the Old Testament were temporary pointers to the greater priesthood and final sacrifice of Jesus. Explain to your kids that in the Old Testament the main job of a priest was to sacrifice animals in the temple. Jesus, on the other hand, sacrificed himself.
- Q: How is Christ a king?
- A: He rules over us and defends us.
- Q: Why do you need Christ as a king?
- A: Because I am weak and helpless.
- Q: What has God the Father done to save his people?
- A: He elected them and has determined to justify, adopt, and sanctify them.
- Q: What is election?
- A: God’s good and gracious choice of certain sinners for salvation.
While the doctrine of election or predestination is most often a source of contention today, in the New Testament it serves as a source of encouragement and comfort. We need to teach our kids about God’s absolute sovereignty in all things. God does not choose us because we first chose him. Rather he loves us and chooses us and we respond by loving him. Our kids may not understand election, but then again, neither do we!
- Q: What is justification?
- A: It is God counting us as righteous and forgiving all our sins.
Words like “justification,” “adoption,” and “sanctification” need to become a part of our regularly vocabulary. If we’re going to teach our children what God says in his Word, then we will have to use some of the same words he uses. Don’t shy away from long words; instead take the opportunity to use them and teach your children what they mean. We want to build a biblical vocabulary into ourselves and our kids as early as possible.
- Q: What is adoption?
- A: It is God’s acceptance of sinners as his own children.
Many people mistakenly believe and mistakenly teach their kids that all people are children of God. The Bible teaches that all people are created by God, but that only Jesus is God’s true Son. Others become children of God when they believe in Jesus and are adopted into his family. If we really ant to be able to call God our Father, we need to be united to his Son by faith in him.
- Q: What is sanctification?
- A: It is God’s freeing us from sin and making us holy and obedient to his Word.
- Q: Is sanctification ever complete in this life?
- A: No. Believers will grow in love and holiness their whole lives, but will never be perfect in this life.
- Q: What keeps us from becoming perfectly holy in this life?
- A: The sinful nature that remains in us.
Children get just as frustrated as adults about their own disobedience. We need to teach that they can become more obedient and more holy, but only through the work of the Holy Spirit. Just like adult believers, children need to be reminded of how far they have come. You may have to say to your child, “Do you remember when you used to throw fits all the time?” “Yes.” “Well, you don’t do that as often, so maybe the Holy Spirit is working in you.” Of course, you don’t want to confuse normal growth with spiritual growth and you don’t want to encourage a non-believing child to think that he or she has the Holy Spirit.
- Q: Who can change a sinner’s heart?
- A: Only the Holy Spirit can change a sinner’s heart.
- Q: What does the Holy Spirit do to save God’s people?
- A: He regenerates, baptizes, and seals them in Christ for salvation.
- Q: What is regeneration?
- A: A change of heart that leads to repentance and faith.
- Q: Can you repent and believe in Jesus by your own power?
- A: No. I can do nothing good without the Holy Spirit.
While it is popular to think that we are born again, or regenerated because we believe, the New Testament actually teaches us the opposite. The New Birth is a supernatural, sovereign work of God in our hearts that causes us to believe and repent. It is God’s making spiritually dead hearts come to life so that they respond to the Gospel by believing in Jesus.
- Q: How does the Holy Spirit baptize believers?
- A: He puts them into the body of Christ and dwells in their hearts.
Many Christians confuse baptism in the Spirit with the ongoing work of the Spirit in the believer’s life that is sometimes called being filled with the Spirit. Baptism in the Spirit, however, is a work that occurs when we believe and it unites us to the body of Christ. It is the initial work of the Spirit in the life of a believer.
- Q: How does the Holy Spirit seal believers?
- A: He comes to live within them and guarantees that they will receive all that God has promised to them in his Word.
Explain that God gives us the Holy Spirit to “hold our place” in God’s Kingdom. He guarantees that we will get everything that God has promised us. So, if we have the Spirit living within us and working within us, we can be sure that we will also receive eternal life.