Print out a cross pattern (see below) and get some crayons, so you can follow along with me, and then I’ll begin telling you about a letter of love from God to you. Don’t color anything until I say.
In Genesis 1, we find the account of how God created the earth, the universe, and the first two people, and everything was very good. In fact, it was perfect. As mentioned, God made the earth to be kind of like a tropical rain forest, the whole world over. He made the first two people, Adam and Eve, to live in a perfect garden. The garden had lovely plants and friendly animals—even dinosaurs! It was a beautiful place.
What color should we use to remind us of the Garden of Eden and the very good, perfect world? Let’s color the top square of the cross green.
Everything was very good in this perfect place. But then something happened to change all that. The devil, in the form of a serpent, played a trick on Eve to get her to eat a piece of fruit God told her not to eat. The devil got Eve to doubt God’s words. Read Genesis 3:1.
This is the same trick the devil uses on us today. He tries to get us to doubt God’s Word, the Bible. God’s Word is true and perfect, so we should never, ever doubt it. But Eve did. She listened to the devil’s lies and started thinking about what God had said. She and her husband Adam ate the piece of fruit God told them not to eat. The Bible describes it this way (read Genesis 3:6).
The world that was beautiful and perfect now changed. Sin entered the world. Sin is disobeying God’s commands. Adam and Eve didn’t obey God and they sinned. When they had children, their children sinned, and their children sinned, and their children sinned, and guess what? This continues today with us sinning, too. Because we are all descendants of Adam and Eve, we are all born sinners and we each choose to sin. The Bible tells us that all have sinned. Read Romans 3:23. We all disobey God’s commands. For example, have you ever lied? God says we are always to tell the truth (Ephesians 4:25). Have you ever disobeyed your mom or dad? God says we are to obey our parents (Ephesians 6:1). Have you ever said mean things to anyone? God says we are to be kind (Ephesians 4:32).
All of these, and many more things, are sin. God said that the punishment for sin is death (Genesis 2:17). When we die, we will be separated from God’s goodness forever in a terrible place (Matthew 10:28).
The Bible says that those who are sinners are living in darkness (John 1:5). That doesn’t mean we’re in a room that is dark. It simply means that we don’t understand our need for God.
What color should we use to remind us of living in darkness and sin? Let’s color the second square on the cross dark.
But there was hope in this darkness. God promised to one day send someone who would be the Savior from sin (Genesis 3:15).
As time went on, mankind was so wicked that things definitely were not very good anymore. Genesis 6 and 7 tell of a time when only one righteous man, Noah, was left. All the rest of mankind was so wicked that God chose to judge the world. Read Genesis 7:23.
As mentioned, God sent a worldwide Flood and destroyed all the land animals and people not on the Ark. He saved only Noah and his family, along with some animals. Things were not perfect at all. We see the remains of the Flood in many of the rocks and fossils we find today. The Flood shows us that God judges sin but that He also provides a way of salvation from His judgment. For Noah, it was the Ark. For us today, it is the one God promised to send in the beginning.
What color should we use to remind us of the worldwide Flood? Let’s color the next square blue.
After the worldwide Flood, Noah’s children had children, and so on, and guess what? They once more turned away from God. God told Noah’s family to fill the earth. But in Genesis 11, the Bible relates to us that the people disobeyed God by staying together and building a tall tower. So God gave the various family groups different languages, causing them to scatter all over the earth. All the people groups that we have today, no matter where they live or what they look like, come from the same family. And because we are all part of the same family, we all have the same sin problem and we are all in need of a Savior. This happened on the plain of Shinar at a city called “Babel.” The city of Babel reminds us that they started babbling in different languages. Read Genesis 11:9.
What color should we use to remind us of the confusing, sinful time at the Tower of Babel? Let’s color the next square light gray. Use your dark crayon, pressing lightly, to make it gray.
As time went on, all people continued to sin, including us. Because we’re sinners, we aren’t allowed to live in God’s perfect heaven, where everything is perfect! When we die, we would go to a terrible place instead. But God the Father had a plan to save us from the very beginning. Remember His promise to one day send a Savior? He sent Jesus, His Son, from heaven to earth. Jesus, who is God, came to earth and was born as a baby—a perfect baby. Read Luke 2:7.
Don’t color square five. Leave it white to remind us of Jesus, who was perfect and without sin.
Then, the Bible relates that Jesus grew up and lived a perfect life without sin—the only person ever to do so. At the right time, He died on a cross and shed His blood to take the punishment for our sin. In the beginning, God killed at least one animal to provide a covering for Adam and Eve after they sinned. And over and over from that time on, people continued to sacrifice animals to cover their sin. But the blood of animals could never completely take away sin. We needed a perfect sacrifice, someone who could take our sin completely away.
Let’s think of it this way. What if your dad asked you to clean your room, but you were playing and didn’t feel like it? Instead of obeying, you kept right on playing. Dad came to check on you and saw that your room was still a mess and you hadn’t obeyed. What do you think might happen? What happens when you get in trouble?
Dad would probably punish you for disobeying. He might take your favorite things away and not let you play with them for awhile, or he might make you miss supper while you clean your room.
Wouldn’t it be unusual if your older brother asked to be punished instead of you? Your brother had cleaned his room. He hadn’t disobeyed, but he wanted to take your punishment.
You deserve punishment for disobeying God, but perfect Jesus came and was punished so you wouldn’t have to be punished. He wasn’t punished for His own sins, since He was perfect. But He took the punishment for sin. He offers us the gift of spending forever with Him. If we receive this gift, when we die, we’ll go to be with God in heaven. That’s the best gift anyone could ever give you! And He did it because He loves you.
Jesus died and rose again so you can receive this free gift, which is to be God’s forever child. But to be God’s forever child, you have to repent of your sins (turn from them) and believe that Jesus died on the Cross to take the punishment for sinners and then rose to life.
What color should we use to color the square after the white one to remind us of Jesus’ blood, which He shed for our sins? Let’s color the next square red (remember—not the white one). While you’re doing that, I want you to answer these questions silently to yourself.
Do you believe you have sinned, or disobeyed God? Are you sorry for your sin? You need to admit that to God.
Do you believe Jesus is God?
Do you believe Jesus died on the Cross to take the punishment for your sin? Do you believe Jesus rose from the dead?
Do you want to follow God and become His child? Do you want to forever receive the gift He offers us?
If you said yes to these questions and you want to learn more about this, read Good News. But first, let’s finish the last square of our cross.
Now what color should we finish with? Color the last square yellow to finish your cross. This last square represents heaven, with its streets of gold, where there will be no more death or crying or pain. The Bible describes it in Revelation 21:3–5.
This means there won’t be any divorce, or cancer, or wheelchairs, or bullies, or death, or anything sad or bad! It will be a beautiful, perfect, very good place once again, and all the children of God will live there forever. And the best part is that God, who loves you more than you can ever imagine, will be there with you! We know all this because it’s found in the Bible, God’s letter of love to us!
If you are interested in talking to someone more about this, make sure you tell your parent or pastor.