I was talking to my kids this morning around the breakfast table and a great illustration came to mind to convey a sinner's condition. Below is how you might be able to describe to a child what it means to be "dead in your sin."
You know how sometimes we drive down the road and see/SMELL a dead animal? Would you want to get out and touch it and pet it? No, I would not want to touch a dead animal with a ten foot pole. Did you know that the Bible says that people are dead in their sins? (Ephesians 2:1) Remember that ALL people sin and fall short of the Glory of God? (Romans 3:23) God looks on sinners like we think of that dead animal. God is so Holy that He cannot look at sin. Our sin is even grosser to God than that dead, stinky animal is to us! (Habakkuk 1:13; Psalm 5:4-5)
The good news is that Jesus Christ made a way for us to be clean and pleasing to God. We never could be good enough to make God forgive us. We could never try hard enough to come back to life - much like the animal on the side of the road cannot come back to life. (Romans 3) The only way to please God is to be perfect. Can you be perfect? No, Never! But, we know of one person who lived on Earth and never sinned. Who is that one perfect Man? That's right, Jesus. Jesus never sinned. (2 Corinthians 5:21) He died as a sacrifice for us! He was killed on the cross instead of us! (Isaiah 53) The Bible promises a curse of death and separation from God for those who sin. But, Jesus took this curse upon Himself. (Galatians 3:13) So, if we believe that Jesus is our Savior - because He died on the cross then rose again - then something amazing happens. When God looks at us, He no longer sees stinky, dirty, nasty, DEAD people! He sees Jesus and His perfect life and His death on the cross. And, do you know what? God says that Jesus' death is a sweet smelling offering! (Ephesians 5:2) We are no longer stinky to God!
Thank you Jesus, for dying on the cross so that God sees your atoning blood instead of the stinky worm that I am!!!