Saved by Whaaa? – A Discussion of Faith and Works


Our youth group tonight studied Galatians 3, which you can read online here.  I wanted to jot down a few thoughts, as well as our discussion questions for the night.  If you are a youth leader and need a lesson, always feel free to stop by here and take any thoughts.  Before I share parts of the lesson, I want to show this incredibly awesome video explaining the concept of faith and works, which is a lot of what Paul focuses on for Galatians 3.

That video is just fantastic.  If you want to purchase it, go to Image Vine.

“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.” Gal 3:26

The youth listed off ways we have heard of explaining how to attain salvation, other than through Jesus of Nazareth.  We talked about most world religions teaching that it is by how good of a person someone is, whereas Jesus says it is about faith.

We defined works as things you do.

We defined faith as what you believe.

Then we had a brief history lesson on Martin Luther, and how he got so upset with the people of the church selling what were called “indulgences” – where people could pay money for their sins to attain salvation.  It was a bad period for the church, to say the least.  Luther also put the Bible into the language of the people, and made it accessible for everyone, not just the main pastor/priest.  We also clarified that Martin Luther is different from MLK Jr.  Good distinction for 7th graders. 🙂

Then we talked about failure.  What it feels like.  How we all have failed.  Then we looked at Romans 3:23, which says that everyone who does something wrong falls short of God’s glory.  We discussed that even the best of people could not make it without Jesus.  A few of the kids had never heard this.  That is always exciting for me to share.

It’s so basic, but so huge.

Sarah proceeded to talk about John Newton and the story of Amazing Grace.  John Newton did some horrible, horrible things (like participate in chaining up slaves from Africa, participating in the killing of African babies, and many more inhumane treatment of people).  Of course, John Newton goes on to write about he was the lowest “wretch”, but that God’s grace saved him from that.

We concluded with the video I posted at the start of this post (we actually started with a funny, edited version of “100 Greatest Hits of Youtube Videos in 4 Minutes“) and focused in on the line:

We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.

I really liked how the video distinguished faith and works, and how that relates to our salvation.

What we do matters a LOT, but it’s faith in Jesus that saves you.  Doing good for the world though has to be a part of a vibrant faith.  This is an important distinction.

Here were our discussion questions.  Feel free to add your two cents or thoughts on these:

– Have you ever struggled with not thinking you weren’t “good” enough to be saved?

– Do you really believe that we’re saved by faith?

Does the idea of people who have done awful things going to heaven b/c of their faith in Jesus bother you?  What about people who do good things not being saved because they don’t believe in Jesus?

– The final verse in Galatians 3 says there is ‘neither Jew nor Greek, male or female, slave nor free, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.’  What does this mean?  What doesn’t this mean?

Questions raised by the students:

– What about people who have never heard about Jesus?

– What about people with mental health problems who are not fully functioning?

– What about babies who die and never hear about Christ?

We concluded by understanding that we have a ridiculously gracious God and that God doesn’t give us every single answer.  It was a good night.


What are your thoughts on these questions?  Anything to add to these?


  1. Interesting how they considered the average math majors in the video…factor families…very nice. Sounds like it was a great lesson! Hope you’re doing well, bro. Peace

  2. @Ken Haha! I know I was impressed by that as well. They should’ve ended the video with a cheesy “Math is fun” or something. Thanks for the well wishes and peace be with you as well.

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