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a group of people standing in a room
a group of people standing in a room

Sin Separates Us from God: Object Lesson

Sin has a devasting effect on people’s lives. Its worst consequence is the fact that it separates people from God. “It is your sins that separate you from your God. He turns away from you when he sees them.” Isaiah 59:2 ERV Nothing could be worse than having God turn away from you. So, exactly […]
A Sunday morning gathering in a large fellowship hall area.  Seated at several tables are all adults with disabilities, attending a Sunday school class.  A speaker is at the podium and on the large screen in the background, it reads "Sin separates us from God."

Sin has a devasting effect on people’s lives. Its worst consequence is the fact that it separates people from God.

“It is your sins that separate you from your God. He turns away from you when he sees them.” Isaiah 59:2 ERV

Nothing could be worse than having God turn away from you. So, exactly how bad is this sin problem? Who all has sinned?

“Everyone has sinned. No one measures up to God’s glory.” Romans 3:23 NIRV

Okay! This is serious. What can be done about it? Can people work their way back into God’s good graces? Can they do more good things than bad things in their life to earn back God’s favor? What can they do?

Nothing! Ouch. So is there no hope? Thankfully, there is hope because of Jesus!

“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. The only way to the Father is through me.’” John 14:6 ERV

Praise God for Jesus and the hope he brings to all people! What can people do in return? People must believe in Jesus and be baptized. If they do they will be “clothed with Christ” and when God the Father looks upon them He will only see His Son with whom He is well pleased.

“This is because all of you who were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. You have put him on as if he were your clothes.” Galatians 3:27 NIRV

The idea of wearing Jesus as our clothes is wild! A different translation of Galatians 3:27 puts it simply states that we are “clothed with Christ.”

This is a powerful concept that can be taught in a very simple way. This object lesson is vitally important to get the idea of being “clothed with Christ” across to your group. Many individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are concrete thinkers and struggle with metaphors. Seeing this concept play out before them will help to bring this concept to life for them.

Two blank Gildan shirts laying on a table.  To the right, also laying on a table, is an unopened package of shirt transfer material.

What will you need?

  • Nine plain T-shirts
    • Four “Sinner” shirts
      • You can go generic and just print the word “sinner” or you can print specific sins for each of the four shirts. If you use specific sins you will get a much bigger reaction out of your group as you play it up in good fun.
  • Four “Christ” shirts
    • Make sure these shirts are a size larger than the sinner shirts as you will want to have your volunteers put them on top of their sinner shirts
On the left, a gray shirt lays folded on top of a table.  On the top shirt, in bold black text, it reads "CHRIST". On the right, a white shirt lays folded on a table.  On the front of the shirt, in bold black text, it reads "GOD"
  • One “God” shirt
  • Iron on transfer paper
  • Printer
  • Iron     

Where to purchase?

  • Most local craft stores like Michaels, Pat Catan’s, Hobby Lobby, etc. will have everything you need for this object lesson

How much will it cost?

  • Craft stores always run sales and offer online coupons. When I prepared for this lesson, I was able to hit a sale and use coupons to get nine T-shirts and the transfer paper for $42. Plan for $50. Trust me. It will be worth every penny!

I’m ready to go!

How do I pull this off live?

  • When you are ready to go live with this object lesson have your shirts tucked away up front with you. You don’t want to give away the surprise. Ask for five brave volunteers. Be mindful of whom you are selecting based on the sizes of T-shirts you have prepared. If your shirts are in smaller sizes you don’t want to embarrass anyone by making them wear a shirt they cannot fit into.
  • Pass out the first four sinner T-shirts to four of your volunteers. Play it up! If you are passing out shirts with specific sins on them like a liar, thief, cheater, or murderer your group will go crazy. Have fun with it! Next, pass out the shirt that says “God” on it to the last person without a T-shirt. Explain to your group that when we have sin in our lives it separates us from God. Now visually move your volunteer with the “God” shirt away from the volunteers in the sinner shirts. Explain why this is a bad thing and how there is nothing we can do on our own to be reunited with God.
  • Next, explain to your group that there is only one way that we can be reunited with God and that is through Jesus. Now get ready to pass out the “Christ” shirts to your four volunteers wearing the “sinner” shirts. Ask them if they believe in Jesus one at a time. When they say “yes” hand them a new shirt. Ask them to put their “Christ” shirts over their sinner shirts. Once they are “clothed with Christ” tell them that they can now be reunited with God. Have them each give a fist bump, handshake, high five, or hug to God. Of course, be sure that everyone is comfortable with a hug if you go that route. 

When you are finished allow the volunteers to keep the “Christ” shirts and the “God” shirt if they would like. Encourage them to use it as a talking point when people ask questions about their shirts. Make sure to collect the sinner shirts. You don’t want people to wear those around town!

Several individuals with disabilities at the front of a Sunday School classroom.  They are all wearing various custom shirts as described in the blog post.
Originally posted November 7, 2022

About Ryan Wolfe:

It is Ryan's passion to equip and empower churches, organizations, and individuals to reach their disability communities for Jesus. Ryan comes to Ability Ministry with 15+ years of ministry experience. He previously worked at First Christian Church in Canton, Ohio as their full-time Disability Pastor. He also worked as a Church Consultant for Key Ministry. Micah 6:8 and Proverbs 31:8 best describe Ryan's commitment to life and ministry.
Read more by Ryan Wolfe

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