Jesus Gives Freedom from Sin (John 8:32) Lesson Plan

Boy praying in open field

This Bible lesson plan about freedom in Christ follows our new hassle-free format. The basic version makes it easy to teach with very little preparation or outside materials. We’ve also suggested more activities so you can expand the lesson to best fit your ministry setting.

Lesson Title: Following Jesus & Freedom from Sin
Bible Reference: John 8:31-32
Printer Friendly: Print Print this lesson.
Target Age Group: Age 4 – 12
Learning Context: Sunday School or Kids Church
Target Time Frame: 30 minutes

Memory Verse: Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31a-32 NIV

Gospel Connection: Jesus first spoke these words to Jewish leaders who claimed to believe him, but did not continue believing what Jesus has said & walking in obedience to him. The surrounding verses clarify that Christ is talking about freedom from the guilt and enslaving power of sinful patterns of behavior. Without Jesus, we are unable to escape from the power of sin over our lives. Through faith in him and following his teaching, we can have true freedom. This practical freedom from sin is one aspect of the Good News. Be sure to emphasize that only Jesus’ power can set us free from these habits.

Learning Aim: After this lesson, children will identify specific habits (from a list) that trap them in sinful patterns. Look for the Learning Outcome Test section in our Basic Teaching Plan below.

Target Age: Our no-hassle lesson plans are broadly graded and easy to adapt for a variety of children’s ministry settings. Look for specific adaptations within the Basic Teaching Plan below.

Basic Supply List:

  • A marker board or poster board to display the memory verse. You should write it out in advance in the translation of your preference. Underline the phrases similar to what I’ve done above. This will be used in the activity Another Way to Say.
  • One large black trash bag cut into about 5 long strips. These will be used as pretend ties that represent the bondage of sinful habits in our life. This is used in the activity called Bondage of Sin below.
  • One pair of safety scissors for the children to cut the plastic strips off the volunteer. This is used in the activity Set You Free below.
  • A marker board (or single sheets of paper) to display the following words. Lies / Stealing / Mean Talk / Anger / Prayer / Helping Others / Forgiveness / Sharing. This will be used in the Learning Outcome Test below.
  • The optional activities at the end of this lesson may require additional supplies. Carefully read the directions while preparing your lesson.

Other Notes: In the teaching plan below the words in italics are meant to be read aloud. The regular text is simply directions for the teacher.

This lesson plan touches on several central themes of the Gospel message. We have a whole section of our website to help you be more effective in sharing Jesus with children. You might want to review those articles if you are new to children’s ministry.

Many American readers will use this Bible lesson as their Fourth of July Sunday School lesson. We have kept more to the biblical concepts of freedom from sin. If you want a more patriotic connection browse our links related to the 4th of July.

> > > > Basic Teaching Plan < < < <

Introduce the Memory Verse: Ask for a volunteer to read the memory verse aloud from the display. Say, “Today we are going to learn about freedom from sin. Let’s practice this verse a few times before we start the lesson.” Lead the group to repeat the verse aloud about three times. See the Optional Activities section from more ways to practice the verse.

Bondage of Sin: Ask for one volunteer to come to the front of the class and sit in a chair. Explain to the children that you are going to show that sinful habits can become traps in their lives.

Ask the children if they can explain what habits? Say, “A habit is something you do over-and-over and it becomes hard to stop. It’s an action or thought you repeat many times and it becomes a pattern. Some habits are good and some are bad.”

Show them the black trash bag strips and say that each one will represent those type of habits. Offer the following examples and carefully use the plastic to tie up the volunteer’s feet and hands. Use caution to not hurt the child. If safety is a concern, you can substitute an adult volunteer for this demonstration.

  • Making mean jokes about other children at school
  • Telling made up stories so other kids will like you better
  • Keeping secrets from your parents

Say, “These are not just bad things. They are habits that get easier each time you do them. Soon they become traps and you find it hard to not do those things. This is how sin becomes more powerful and takes charge of your life. The Bible says this is like becoming a slave with sin as your master.

Allow the children to suggest other habits that do the same thing. For each add another tie to the volunteer in the chair. Listen carefully to their ideas and affirm their efforts by saying, “That’s a good suggestion, who else wants to try…”  Use these extra examples if they are confused:

  • Arguing or yelling at your parents / Daydreaming in church / Stealing from a friend’s house / Eating more food than you need / Doing lazy work for chores or school / Playing video games without a time limit / etc

Set You Free: Explain to the class that you need their help to set this person free. Ask for volunteers who can repeat the memory verse (or read from the display). Allow each child to say the verse and cut off one strip of the black plastic tie. If you have younger or timid children, you could have the group say the verse as they cut the tie.

  • Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31a-32

Another Way to Say: Direct the children to the phrases you underlined in the Bible verse display. Ask them to think of other words that could get across the same meaning as those phrases. This exercise is about clarifying vocabulary more than precise definitions. Here are some examples:

  • hold to my teaching = do what I say = obey
  • disciples = followers = learners = friends
  • know the truth = understand = learn =
  • set you free = break you out = untie you = off the chain

Learning Outcome Test: Display the following phrases on your marker board (or single sheets of paper). Explain that some of these are good habits that follow Jesus teaching and some are sinful patterns than will lead trap them. Ask for volunteers to come up and point to the habits that will bring bondage to sin. After they point, allow them to erase (or crumple that piece of paper) as they recite the memory verse. Leave the good habits on display.

  • Lies / Stealing / Mean Talk / Anger / Prayer / Helping Others / Forgiveness / Sharing

After a child removes these signs lead the group to repeat, “Jesus can set us free from _____ ” for each habit they’ve removed.

Gospel Application: Ask the children to listen carefully because you want to tell them a secret. Say in a whisper voice, “I have done each of those bad habits and sometimes still have to fight them now. Even the good habits are hard sometimes. I am not strong enough to set myself free I need Jesus to save me everyday. When he died on the cross, he defeated sin forever and lives to set me free.”

Close this part of the lesson in prayer . . .

We need your help! All the Bible materials on our website are open for improvement. Often our best ideas come from readers just like you. Simply leave a comment below with any corrections to this lesson or more suggestions that will help other readers.

> > > > Optional Activities < < < < <

The following suggestions will help you expand and customize our basic lessons. We always value your opinion, so leave a comment and help make this resource better for other readers.

More Freedom Ideas: We’ve listed a variety of lesson plans & crafts about freedom. You can browse them on our website if you want to expand this basic lesson. You might consider using the Wordless Book to further teach the Gospel with this lesson.

Pray for Leaders: If you are using this lesson on the 4th of July in America, you might enjoy our coloring pages with the theme pray for your leaders.

Resist Temptation Activity Sheet: This simple maze illustration could help spark discussion about what habits and behaviors lead us away from Christ.

Prayer Coloring Page: You could have the children write a prayer of response asking Jesus to help them overcome sin and giving thanks for his sacrifice.

Habits Object Lesson: Watch this video demonstration and recreate the same basketball object lesson for your kids. It’s based on the concept of practicing sin or practicing righteousness.

Suggested Bible Stories: You could read the story of the Exodus or Jesus Overcoming Temptation. Either of these could easily be related back this lesson plan’s theme.

Bible Memory: Use any of our creative methods to help the children memorize the Bible verse from this lesson plan.

Prodigal Son Video: Watch this short video clip that tells the story of the prodigal son. Discuss how sinful habits could have led the boy away from home.

More Bible Verses: Devotional Christian has a longer list of freedom Bible verses. For an older group of children, you could have groups look up those verses and report back how they relate to this lesson plan.


  1. Rachel says

    Thank you for this really helpful lesson which I’m using in preparation for Easter with the theme of Jesus Rescuing us. I noticed one idea was to share a secret (that we sometimes struggle with habits too). Totally agree to be honest with kids, just think we shouldn’t use the phrase “secret”. I’ve known bad things be referred to as “secrets” by adults even in church settings so we need to avoid that.
    Really appreciate being able to come on this website and be inspired.

  2. Amy GB says

    I’m going to have the children make a paper chain. Each “link” can have a sin written on it. The bible verse will be the “key”. Hoping that I can find some plastic keys large enough to write the scripture reference on, if not I’ll make paper keys that they can cut out.

  3. Amy GB says

    I remember a visual that a pastor had used 20 years ago! Using a volunteer child from the congregation he talked about sin and how habits begin. Slowly he wound a string around the child as the child turned around on his own. He emphasized how it is our choice to become entangled . As he continued speaking the string became a clothes line and than a thicker rope and so on until a large chain was wound around the child.
    I think this is an excellent visual, it had an impact on me.

  4. Aimee says

    An extension for the “Bondage of Sin” activity: Pre write on each strip the type of bondage it is. For example, keeping secrets from your parents is a form of lying, so write lying on one strip. Then when it is time to take the bondages off recite a verse from the Bible that deals with that type of bondage ex Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue lasts only a moment. Proverbs 12:19. As God’s word is Jesus teaching referring back to the main memory verse. Also, another great verse that I constantly teach: I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:10-11)

  5. Ethel says

    This is an awesome website…I loved it!! This is not only for the kids Coz at the same time i am also learning….:-);-)

  6. Dixie says

    I just taught the lesson “Freedom from Sin…John 8:31-32. The kids loved the “Bondage of Sin” activity! I love your lessons. They kid the point across because the kids have fun and they listen and learn when they have fun. You are a life saver for me AND God’s children. I am proud to teach your lessons and God’s Word.

  7. pastor laba James says

    pastor laba James July 4, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I am rural Evangelist in liberia Monrovia that is why you have not been hearing from me.but with with what i read today iam exited.
    I am bless greatly.Please continue your good work.
    I will surely check my mails weekly to see those wonderful things you put there.
    God bless your efforts as we work together to reach more children .
    Pastor James Laba

  8. pastor laba James says

    I am rural Evangelist in liberia Monrovia that is why you have not been hearing from me.but with with what i read today iam exited.
    I am bless greatly.Please continue your good work.
    I will surely check my mails weekly to see those wonderful things you put there.
    God bless your efforts as we work together to reach more children .
    Pastor James Laba

  9. Danelle says

    I can’t wait to use this lesson on Sunday July8th. Due to bad storms last week we had to cancel Church Services due to no electric. But I for sure will use this this up coming Sunday, with variations I’m sure.

    Thanks :)

  10. Soklyda Mao says

    Thank you for the lesson!
    I have been thinking lately on what I should teach to my Sunday School students this month. Now would love to use this lesson right a way!! Because it fit to the situation of their life.

  11. whitney says

    Thank you for the idea and lesson.. I’m very excited to teach this, I’ ve found my own twist to it as well. Each child will get a strip of paper and will write down a sinful/bad habit they have. We will put them all together to make a chain. Chains are hard to break, just like bad habits. But, Jesus tells us in Romans 8:37 that we are more than conquerers! After we read this verse we will pray that God helps us to overcome these habits and then we will break that chain!!

    • Danelle says


      What a wonderful twist. I was thinking of using this lesson plan and now I think I may use your twist on it. :) Have a wonderful 4th of July and God Bless You


  12. Jillene says

    Thanks for the ideas. We had children at the younger end of the scale, so rather than binding one of the children, we sat a large Teddy bear on a chair and wrapped him in toilet tissue instead.

  13. Denise says

    Thank you for the lessons, my 13 yr old son and I teach together and your lessons are so basic that he is able to teach with confidence. He loves your sight as I do again thanks!

  14. Janelle says

    Follow-up: I just did this lesson a few hours ago and my students actually came up with a suggestion that we incorporated on the spot.

    We created a web of sinful habits (use toilet tissue or yarn). Students stand in a circle. The first person calls out a sinful habit or behavior and then tosses the toilet tissue roll to someone across from them. This person catches, calls out another answer and tosses, etc, etc until a “web” is made. Once the roll was finished then we reversed or undid the web. Starting with the last person we then repeated, “Jesus has the power to free us from ________” and students called out things Jesus had the power to break (or you can call out good habits that would replace the bad habits). As they share out the web begins to get untangled until you’re left with just a big ball of paper or yarn in the center that can be thrown away (symbolic of how Jesus frees us from our sins, throwing them away and remembering them no more. ) We then followed that up by thinking of good habits we could work on developing to keep us from sinful behavior. Students talked about things like praying publicly at school before meals, reading their Bible more and posting their weekly Bible verses or Sunday School lesson on their Facebook pages.

    Thanks for another great lesson!!

  15. Janelle says

    Love this lesson!!

    *Tip: Instead of plastic bag strips to represent bondage, toilet tissue could be used (safer, easier, and can be ripped instead of needing to be cut).

  16. Catherine Hernandez says

    An armor of God lesson. Also I have done backward lesson. Listing the order of the lesson and pointing out we do it backwards. Such as begin by closing in prayer, then snack, then lesson, songs and open with greeting. If God isn’t in control of our life’s we have confusion or disorder. Kids always love it.

  17. lois anderson says

    i’m a fairly new teacher for our children’s church, and someone recommended this site. it has quickly become my very favorite resource children’s church lessons , and i have recommended it to all my teachers as well. thank you so much for being a conduit for God’s word to our kids!

  18. Katherine Spratt says

    I do appreciate the time and talent you have used to help teachers like myself teach lessons that captivate the minds of children. Of course each teacher must make the lesson applicable to their group of children but you make it so easy to do that.

    Thank you so much

  19. Sherry says

    I appreciate you offering an easy to get to lesson for short notice teaching. I appreciate the others comments. I must say thou, we can’t or shouldn’t expect someone to have every detail laid out for us, we need to add a little leg work as well.

  20. j p says

    The concept of the “Freedom from sin” lesson is OK, but it is bloodless. It talks little about the blood of Christ and His sacrifice that gave us the victory over sin. Rather, it talks about obedience to His teachings. Obedience is needed, but one cannot acheive ultimate obedience, or PERFECT obedience. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23. See also Romans 3:21-24. We can never be perfectly obedient, despite our attempts. That is why we need a Savior to take the punishment for the sin we commit and always will commit.
    I would add something about the blood and the exchange that took place at the cross and resurrection. Also mention that our freedom from sin is really a misnomer. We are free from the POWER of sin, or it’s power to destroy us.

    • says

      Good points. I was sticking fairly close to the context of John 8 (where Jesus says to “if you hold to my teachings”) and maybe could have brought together the larger theological issues. Thanks for the feedback.

  21. Mary A. Bonds says

    Very easy to follow, basic but very good material, but i must agree with others, please take the twitter icon off, can’t read all the information

  22. Ruth Marshall says

    the twitter box is annoying, please take it away …. it is a distraction from the otherwise great material on the site
    thank you!

    • says

      Thanks for the feedback. I was testing the feature but for some readers the box was rendering on top of the page content! It was supposed to be entirely in the margin. Problem solved and thanks again for the feedback.

  23. abegail mendoza says

    Hi! Greetings through our Lord Jesus! I want to thank you for these very powerful tool you are sharing for all of us teachers. I thank God for your group, I thank God for you are full of Wisdom and Knowledge from the Lord and you let them shared to us. Thank you!
    More power, wisdom, blessings and abundacy from God, in Jesus name!

  24. Leah B. Dela Paz says

    The first time I’ve read it on my website, I was so impressed then I recommended it to our church’s Sunday school teachers for kids; they liked it, the steps and instructions are so simple and easy to follow. Thank you for this wonderful information and Bible lessons for the kids. To God Be The Glory!!


  1. [...] Freedom from Sin (John 8:32) This lesson plan shows how obedience and faith in Christ can overcome the power of sinful habits in our lives. No-hassle lesson format makes this one easy to teach with very little preparation or supplies.  Ideal for Sunday School or Children’s Church. [...]

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