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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Week 3 - Psalm 103:8-10

Click here to download or print this post as a pdf.

Before reading this post with your children, we suggest you review it yourself and then discuss with them some words they may not understand. We have linked to definitions, pictures and/or other information about the "Words to Know" below, in the "Notes to Parents" section of the post for your convenience.

  A Thing Called...Sin  

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will He harbor His anger forever;
He does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities."
– Psalm 103:8-10

source: wikipedia
We have looked at God as our Creator, as the designer of the earth and heavens and as the maker of each one of us. We've explored a bit of His creativity and wisdom. Over the next two weeks, we will be learning and memorizing verses from Psalm 103. We will learn more about God's character, His attitude toward us and in today's post, we are going to talk about a thing called sin.

In order to begin to truly understand and appreciate the compassion, grace, patience and love that God has for us, we will need to first recognize and acknowledge our sin and catch a glimpse of His holiness. Once we understand our desperate need, His forgiveness comes alive and with it blooms hope and freedom. This is not merely a kind act from a nice God. His forgiveness is the most spectacular expression of the greatest love this world has ever experienced.

The Bible uses different words for sin: iniquity, transgression, trespass, wrongdoing - sin is anything we do that violates God's law. What is God's law? Jesus summed it up this way in Luke 10:27, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Have you ever violated God's law?

source: wikipedia
When people break the laws of their government, they often have to pay a fine or fulfill a sentence to community service or time in prison. It is fair and right for people to be punished when they do something that is wrong. Justice is the quality of being fair and reasonable. God is just. He is fair and reasonable. When people break God's law, it is fair and right for them to be punished.

In our justice system, we punish wrongdoing at different levels. If you park your car where you should not park your car, you may need to pay a small fine. If you hurt someone else purposefully, you may spend many years in prison. Both wrong actions have a consequence.

Sin is very serious. The Bible tells us that the punishment for sin is death and separation from God. When we violate God's law it is a serious offense and deserves a serious punishment. But there is good news - Psalm 103 tells us that God does not treat us as our sins deserve. Romans 6:23 says that even though our sin should be paid for with death, God's gift to us is eternal life in Christ Jesus.

How can this be fair? If the punishment for sin is death, is it fair for God to give us life instead?

Do you remember that we learned that God made us, that He knows us and that He loves us? When sin came into the world, God was very sad. He loved the people he had created and He did not want them to be separated from Him. God had a plan.

John 3:16 says that God so loved the world that He sent His son and that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but will have eternal life. Someone needed to pay the fine and serve the sentence for our sin. Jesus was born on the earth, He lived a life without sin, then He let men take His life and when He did, He paid the price for our sin, so that we would not have to be punished.

1 John 1:9 tells us that if we confess our sins, He is just [fair and reasonable] and will forgive us. It is fair for Him to forgive us, because someone has already paid the price for our sin.

God is compassionate and gracious. He is slow to anger. He is full of love. Even though we are guilty of sin [breaking God's law] and deserve death and separation from God, He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. Instead, He died in our place and rescued us from the punishment that our sins deserve.

Three days after Jesus died, an amazing thing happened - He rose again! He is alive! Jesus paid the price for our sin, and then He conquered sin and death.

source: kevinpierpont
As you study and memorize Psalm 103:8-10 this week think about the wonderful thing that God did for you - that He paid the price for your sin. He took the punishment for you.

Has your brother or sister, cousin or friend ever done something wrong? Have they ever been unkind to you or treated you unfairly? Were they punished? Have you ever offered to take the punishment for them? Most people don't ever think of being punished for someone else. Jesus loved you so much that He received all the punishment for you, so that you would not need to be separated from God. He loves you and you are His because He made you. He has a purpose for you. He does not want you to be separated from Him. He provided a way for you to be forgiven and to have a friendship with Him.

Ask God to help you understand how big His love for you is. The Lord is full of love! Confess to Him the wrong things you have done and ask Him to forgive you. Know that He is faithful and just and will forgive you.

           Notes to parents:         

Words to know:


Discussion Questions:

Do not be afraid of addressing this issue of sin with your children. They already know that they do wrong. And at a very young age children begin to feel and express emotions such as anger and frustration at others when they are treated unfairly and shame and remorse when they do something wrong. Children need to know that they can be forgiven. They need to learn how to forgive others. Even before our children are able to talk, we can witness in them the result of this ugly thing called sin.

Remember that in many ways, you as the parent, are the example to your child of who God is and what He is like. The way you deal with issues of sin and forgiveness within your own family will certainly impact everyone within your home. Are you compassionate and gracious? Are you slow to anger or quick to accuse? Do you hold bitterness inside or remind your children over and over of past wrongs or mistakes they have made? Do you forgive each other? Do you insist on giving one another "what you deserve"...or do you balance training and discipline with grace and love? Consider how you can reflect God's character as you interact with your children this week.

- What is sin?

- Do you sin?

- What was God's plan to save us from the punishment of sin?

- Does God punish all sin?

- What can we learn from Psalm 103:8-10 about the character of God?

- If the Lord is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger, full of love and forgiving, then how should you and I treat one another?

Additional Resources:
Please review all links before sharing them with your children. 

- Read the context. Read Psalm 103

- Learn more about God's plan of salvation at Blue Letter

- Read the account of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:15-3:24. What lie did they believe that made them decide to disobey God?

- Here are some verses that may help you as you study and discuss questions regarding sin: Romans 3:23-24, Romans 7:18-25, James 4:17, 1 John 1:8-10, Romans 5:6-8, and Romans 10:9-10.

- Visit our companion site, Grow Little Seeds, for more activities and ideas and free printable pages as you study Psalm 103:8-10.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather! I just want to encourage you in this journey. We have taken a HUGE hiatus from sowlittleseeds, due mostly to my stepping away from God and His Word. I am so grateful to you for making this program available to us and it has rescued me and motivated me. I am praying for you, my wonderful friend!