Your toddler or preschooler probably thinks waiting until tomorrow or next week is an eternity, so the concept of eternal life might take some real explaining. The Bible contains many references to eternal life, so she might ask you, “What does eternal life mean?” after sitting with you in church. A simple explanation will do for now, and you can explain in more detail as she matures.
1. Explaining Eternal Life
John 3:16, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son…”, is perhaps the most familiar Scripture after the Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm. Your child will hear this verse in Sunday school or in church that explain how to receive eternal life. You might say, “Eternal life means that you will live with God forever, and forever never ends. God loves you so much he doesn’t want you to be anywhere but with him. So, God sent Jesus so you would learn about God and want to live with him forever. I want you to learn about Jesus so you and I can live with God forever.” This lesson explains to your child why you want to teach Bible lessons at home.
2. Love Like Jesus
Jesus said that anyone who listens to him and believes in God receives eternal life in John 5:24. You might explain, “God helped Jesus do everything he did while he lived on earth. He showed people who God was by treating people with love and care just like God. By loving and wanting to be like Jesus, you love and want to be like God.” You might say, “Jesus showed he loved people by healing them, teaching them and by dying and coming back to life. When you love people and care for them, you show God’s love and get to live with Jesus forever.”
3. Life With God
Your child might wonder what eternal life with God will be like. You could say, “Eternal life will be in Heaven where God is.” You can talk about various verses that describe heaven, such as Revelation 21, 1 Corinthians 1:9 and John 14:2. You might say, “Jesus said he was going to make a place for us. No one will hurt others, feel pain, go hungry or feel sad. Heaven will be so beautiful I can’t even imagine it. What do you think eternal life with God will be like?” Your child might have ideas different from yours.
4. Life After Death
Your child might wonder how eternal life begins. He might have some knowledge of death if a friend, family member or pet died. You might say, “People enter eternal life after they die. You probably won’t die for a very long time, but when you do, eternal life begins if you love Jesus.” He might ask if he will see family members and friends after he dies. You could say, “Everyone who loves God will spend eternity with him. That means you will see them in Heaven.”
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