How Can We Teach Children How to Go to Heaven?

We need to teach our children how to go to heaven, and what Christianity is all about.  From God's point of view, our purpose here on earth is to bring glory, honor, and praise to Him.  From our point of view, this means that we need to develop a relationship with God that will last throughout our lifetime on earth, and forever in heaven.  So, it's only natural that we want to know how to go to heaven. 

There's a song called "I Wasn't There, But I Believe It Happened," and I think that the words of this song explain what Christianity teaches about how to go to heaven, and it does so in a way that children, as well as adults, can understand. 

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This song starts by saying, "Many many years ago, in the town of Bethlehem, Jesus Christ the Son of God was born."  Jesus was a real historical man.  Even though Jesus is God, the Bible says that He also became a man and lived on the earth (John 1:1,14).  He was born to Mary, much like each of us was born, except that His father was God the Holy Spirit, although Joseph became his earthly father.  The Bible also tells us that when Jesus walked among men, (He emptied Himself of his deity and) He didn't use His supernatural powers (Philippians 2:6-7).  So, he experienced life just as we all do, with all of its pain and disappointments.  The difference is that He did it all without every doing anything wrong. 

Then the song says, "the law that God gave Moses was fulfilled in Him, for on that day the grace plan was born."  About 3,500 years ago, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, as well as hundreds of other detailed laws.  He gave these laws to us as His commands to obey, but also to teach us that none of us can live up to His perfect standards (Romans 5:20) by actually keeping all of His laws all of the time (Romans 3:23).  We all do some things that are wrong.  One of the easiest ways to prove this to ourselves is with God's command for us not to covet.  Coveting means selfishly wanting something that someone else has.  It's when we would rather have what they have instead of letting them have what is rightfully theirs.  If you're a young child, you may have wanted a toy doll or a truck that your friend has, and you're not even willing to share it with them.  If you're a teenager or an adult, you may have had the same feelings about something like an iPhone or a car that someone else has.  The Bible says that this is wrong, because we're actually supposed to be unselfish and be more concerned about others than about ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4). 

Although each of us has done something wrong like coveting (Romans 3:23), there was one man who never did anything wrong, and that was Jesus Christ.  He is the one person that completely fulfilled the law of Moses.  But we're very fortunate that God loves us, and he created a plan called the plan of grace (Romans 6:14).  This means that He knew that we would never be able to get to heaven on our own, so He created a way for us to get to heaven by giving us His Son. 

The second verse of the song says, "He (Jesus) was scorned and ridiculed down in Pilate's hall, and the angry mob kept crying, 'Crucify.'  So they led Him up Golgotha's hill and nailed Him to a cross, raised Him up, and with a spear, pierced His side."  Jesus never did anything wrong, yet He suffered and died on a cross.  He was sacrificed for our_ sins, not His own, just the way the Jewish priests used to sacrifice the best sheep.  Jesus took our sins onto Himself so that we could have the benefit of spending eternity with Him in heaven. 

The last verse says, "They took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb, and sealed it with a great big old stone.  When many came to see Him on the third morning, that stone was moved and Jesus was gone."  This is called the resurrection, and it's how we know that His sacrifice was big enough to get us into heaven.  This is why I believe that Easter is more important than Christmas.  If Jesus had only been born, lived a perfect life, and died for us, this would have been wonderful news.  But He also conquered death by coming back to life, so that we can live with Him forever in eternity. 

The chorus of the song says, "I wasn't there, but I believe it happened, just as the Word says it did.  (I wasn't there, but I believe it happened, and I believe He's soon coming again.)"  This is called faith, which just means believing in something even though we've never seen it.  Everyone has faith in something.  I believe that George Washington was the first president of the United States even though I never saw him.  I believe that Uzbekistan is a country in central Asia even though I've never been there.  I also believe that I can go to heaven because Jesus died for my sins, even though I didn't see Him on the cross. 

We usually have faith in something because of certain evidence that makes sense to us.  We sometimes believe things that we haven't seen because of reliable historical accounts of people who did see with their own eyes.  At other times we have faith because of things told to us by somebody who we trust.  We can have faith in Jesus Christ faith because of the historical record of eye witnesses who saw these things happen and then recorded this history for us in the Bible.  But most of all, we believe it because the Holy Spirit of God compels us to do so (Romans 5:5). 

The Bible tells us that we don't go to heaven because of the good things that we do (Romans 4:4-5, 11:6) because even our best deeds are only like filthy rags compared to the perfection demanded by God (Isaiah 64:6).  Instead, we go to heaven because we simply have faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior (John 3:16).  

Owen Weber 2012