June 21: Sin and grace  — Family faith formation at home


Invite various persons to bring a designated item and use this liturgy to begin your time of learning together. 

One:    Come, let us gather around and see how the Spirit will nurture our faith today.

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Christ, the light of the world.
(Place a candle on a table in your gathering place and light it.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:   The Love of God, who came to meet us in the world.
(Place a cross on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Wisdom of God, who speaks through the Scriptures.
(Place an open Bible on a table in your gathering place.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    The Grace of God, who proclaims we are children of God.
(Place a symbol of baptism – a bowl of water, a seashell – on a table in your gathering space.)

All:      Who is with us?
One:    Our risen Lord, who meets us at the table.
(Place a symbol of communion – a plate and cup, a loaf of bread, grapes – on a table in your gathering space.)

One:    We are here, Holy Spirit, ready for your leading.

God sightings and prayer offerings 

Invite each person to share where they saw or experienced God this week. Invite each person to share something — a person, community, experience, event, etc. – for which they want to offer prayer. 

Good and gracious God, we thank you for all the ways you were and are present in our lives and in the world. [Invite each person to say aloud the sighting they named earlier.] We bring our prayers to you, prayers for… [invite each person to say aloud the prayer need they named earlier]. In Christ’s name we pray, Amen.

Connecting with Scripture: Romans 6:1-11

Read the Scripture aloud the first time using the New Revised Standard Version or the Common English Bible.

For the second reading, give each person a piece of paper (if you have non-readers in your gathering, pair them with someone who can write.) As the Scripture is read again, ask each person, regardless of age, to write down words they don’t understand or would like to explore further from a faith perspective. Let those gathered know that at the end of your time together you will circle back around to these words, but first let’s see if we can determine the meaning through today’s session. Child-friendly definitions of faith terms that will likely arise from a child’s reading/hearing of this text are included below.

Connecting through story

Watch this episode of “On the Road with Steve Hartman.”

  • To whom did Austin give food and drink?
  • What did the people who received the food and drink do to deserve it?
  • Why do you think Austin gave away his allowance and the money that he could have used to buy toys?
  • What is he asking each person to do after he gives them food and drink?
  • Why do you think he asks them to “not forget to show love”?

Connecting with our lives

Engage in dialogue:

  • What point was Paul trying to make when he asked, “Should we continue to sin?”
  • Why do you think God decided to send us Jesus?
  • What are some examples of the “old life of sin” from which we are to turn away?
  • What are some examples of the “new life in Christ” in which we can now live?
  • What makes it possible to turn away from sin and to live in grace?
  • Why is it important that we understand that we can live from a place of love rather than a place of fear?
  • How do you live out grace in love?
  • What are some specific and concrete ways you would live differently if you fully believed you were dead to sin and filled with grace?

Teaching points that can be incorporated into your discussion:

  • Earlier in Romans, Paul explains that our relationship with God was broken by the ways we turn away from God and God’s will for our lives. (Sin – doing things that displease and distance us from God.) The only way we are brought back into a good and right relationship with God is through the grace that comes from Jesus Christ. We are saved by faith, and faith is a gift from God, so even that which saves us, faith in Jesus Christ, is given to us by grace. It is not something we deserve, do or can get for ourselves. It’s a free gift. (Grace – a free gift from God that we don’t deserve.)
  • When Paul asks in this week’s passage, “Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound?” he is using a way of speaking that asks a question that seems absurd and then immediately answers it, “by no means!” He spends the next several verses explaining how Christ has freed us from sin (we are dead to sin) and given us new life (we are alive in Christ).
  • In baptism we are marked as Christ’s own. When we are baptized, just as Jesus was, we share in his death to sin and new life in Christ. This is the grace and gift God gives us through Christ. (Baptism is the sign and seal that we are God’s own beloved children and are siblings of Christ. Baptism is the visible sign of the grace of belonging.)
  • Our encounter with and our relationship with God through Jesus changes us. Baptism is the tangible sign that we are forgiven and that sin no longer holds power over us. (Sharing in Christ’s baptism – because Jesus was baptized, and commanded us to be baptized, we share all the benefits of Christ’s baptism – sin and death no longer have the last word because God ended death and sin’s power through Christ’s resurrection.)
  • Freed from sin, and the fear that accompanies it, we can live in grace. Grace changes us and the concrete expression of grace is love.
  • We are now free to live a new way. We don’t do good works in order to get God to save us and love us; that’s already done through Christ. We do the things that Jesus would do and that please God as a way of saying “thank you” (gratitude) because God has already forgiven us and given us new life (grace).
  • For Presbyterian Reformed people, we are called to live lives of grace and gratitude. God’s grace comes first and then our gratitude is reflected in the way we live.

Now that you’ve explored the words and meanings from earlier, read the text again and discuss how those gathered understand the scripture passage differently.



Close your time together by praying for one another, your neighbor, community and the world.

REBECCA DAVIS is the associate professor of Christian education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. A teaching elder and certified educator, she served congregations for over 20 years before moving into academic teaching. In addition to teaching and mentoring students, her passion is child advocacy and ministry.