I was 9 years old and sweating in the open-air sanctuary at my church’s summer camp. The special guest speaker that year had a lion puppet. A huge lion puppet that could never ever remember the Bible verse. He said it crazy every single time . . . until he got it right, along with every kid in the auditorium.
I still remember that long, drawn-out lion’s voice saying, “Fooor byyyy graccce, arrre yeeee saved, through faith and that not of yourself. It is the gift of God, not lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Even though I was only 8 and I was quoting the King James Version, I still understood the point: God gave me salvation as a gift. I didn’t do anything to get it. I don’t really deserve it. I couldn’t sneak around and find it for myself. God gave salvation freely.
That’s really all grace is. God gives us something (mainly: salvation) because He loves us, even when we don’t deserve it.
We were sinners, dead in our transgressions and before we even loved God, He sent His son Jesus to die in our place, because of those sins. That’s a great gift. That’s great grace.
The perfect picture of this is the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. Remember it?
A son demands his inheritance from his father, who willingly gives it. Then, the son goes to a faraway country and wastes his money on wild living. When he runs out of money, there is nothing left for him. He doesn’t even have money to eat. So, he takes a job on a farm feeding pigs.
Suddenly, as he is thinking how good the pigs’ slop looks he realizes, “My father’s servants have a better life than me! I’ll go home and apologize and ask to be a servant in my father’s house!” He gets up and turns toward his father’s house, rehearsing his apology speech.
However, while he was still a long way off, his father saw him, ran to him, threw his arms around his son, kissed him and said, “My son! My son was dead and is alive! He was lost and is now found!” He then calls the servants to bring new clothes, a ring for his son’s finger, and to prepare their best animal for a feast!
I literally can’t make it through that story without crying. The father is so extravagant in his love! Did you know that was the meaning of the word prodigal? We usually use it on the son—how extravagantly he wasted his money. Instead, I like to think of the prodigal father who extravagantly lavished love on his son. The loving father who was looking for his lost son and before the son even apologized, was throwing gifts and favor and grace on him.
This is grace. God, our extravagant father, gives us His gift of love. Not just any love. Love that gave His only Son, love that gave His life for us. Amazing grace.
Want to dig deeper into the concept of grace with your kids? Try this Bible memory verses about God’s unmerited favor!
5 Bible Memory Verses for Kids About Grace
Ephesians 2:8-9 (ESV)
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
2 Corinthians 12:9a (NLT)
My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.
Psalm 103:8 (NIV)
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
Titus 2:11 (ESV)
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all people.
Ephesians 4:7 (ESV)
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
Family Activity Idea: Watch The Prodigal Son story on Minno. Now, imagine yourself as the wasteful son and our Heavenly Father, God as the father. How does it make you feel knowing God the Father loves you so much? Use this story to remember that the word “grace” means a great gift or favor from God.
Download a printable of these 5 Bible Memory Verses About Grace.