The Gospel in its simplest form can be broken down into three parts; our separation from God because of sin, repentance of that sin along with belief in Christ as our Savior, and restoration of our relationship with God based upon the sacrifice of Christ. This flow of the Gospel (Separation, Repentance, Restoration) can be seen many times in our daily lives but unfortunately we aren’t paying close enough attention to see it.
The group of kindergarteners I teach in an after school Bible club became one of those “Gospel Moments” this week, which reminded me just how much God loves us. For some reason the kids were really out of control this week; that may be the result of being out of School for Thanksgiving, eating large amounts of candy, Christmas getting closer, or watching too much NFL football made them violent. Whatever the reason, early in our class the naughty chair was used.
For those who are unaware of what this is, it’s a chair put in the corner where the disobedient child is made to sit separated from everyone else and unable to take part in all the fun. One of the reasons I love working with kindergarteners is the naughty chair still fills their heart with dread…doesn’t work so well with first or second graders.
After the first naughty chair didn’t meet its desired result other chairs were set up and within about ten minutes we had four naughty chairs filled with children, two of them in tears (a new record)! Watching those boys and girls sitting in their chairs desperately wanting to be part of the group reminded me of how sin separates us from God and will always fill our hearts with sadness.
Before being restored to our group by moving their chair to the back row there is always a waiting period of at least ten minutes, started by sitting in front of the children and explaining why they are in the naughty chair. One boy kept taking other students seats and wouldn’t calm down when we asked him too. Two girls decided they didn’t want to stand up and sing our songs when everyone else was. The last child just couldn’t stop talking to other people. While these aren’t terrible sins I had to make them realize why what they did was wrong.
One by one the children nodded their heads as I asked if they understood why they were there, and if they had done something wrong. While this isn’t a complete picture of repentance the Biblical definition of confession is to agree with God that we have sinned. There is no way we can experience Salvation without first admitting that we have done wrong, which in most cases is the hardest part of repentance.
Following their confession of doing wrong the children if they are good within fifteen minutes experience restoration by moving their chair to the back row so they can sit beside one of the other leaders. It was encouraging to see all four of the kids from Tuesday restored to the back row but also notice a difference in their attitude and actions.
It’s true that the Gospel is far greater than my Separation, Repentance, and Restoration idea from the naughty chair but I believe God puts illustrations or experiences in our daily lives that point to His glorious plan of redemption. These reminders are not only motivation to reach the lost, but praise the Lord for his Grace and mercy.