"VERILY, I SAY UNTO YOU, EXCEPT YE TURN AND BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN,
YE SHALL IN NO WISE ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN" (Mat 18:3, R.V.).
This was Christ's answer to some of His own disciples, who had been
asking that somewhat half-curious, self-confident question, "Who is the
greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven?" They are not all properly converted
who are the professed followers of Jesus Christ. Three things here
should be noted-
I. The Need of Conversion. "Except ye turn and become as little
children, ye shall in no wise enter the Kingdom of Heaven." We may be
disciples, in a sense, and yet be unfit for the Kingdom of God. Those
who don't need to be converted are those who, at some time or other,
have been converted, for "All we like sheep have gone astray." There
may be an outward conformity where there is an inward deformity. The
tree needs to be made good before the fruit can be good; the fountain
of the heart must be cleansed if the streams of thought and feeling are
to be pure. The Kingdom of Heaven cannot be entered by those who
selfishly seek their own good, and not the glory of God. Not to submit
to the will and purpose of God is to rebel against this Kingdom, which
is the "rule of the Heavens."
II. The Nature of Conversion. "Except ye turn." It is a turning about-a
turning from self-confidence and self-rule unto the rule of God. Saul
was thoroughly converted when he said, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to
do?" He had turned from His own self-made plans and purposes to the
will of his Lord and Saviour. In one sense we need to be converted very
often, for every time we turn aside, like Bunyan's pilgrims, into any
By-Path Meadow that leads us out of fellowship with the Lord, we need
another conversion, another turning back, if we would enter again into
the peaceful Kingdom of Heaven. Christ "suffered for us, the Just for
the unjust, that He might bring us to God." If we have not been turned
unto God we are yet unconverted; and if we have been thus converted,
and are not now walking in the light and joy of His presence, it is
quite clear that we need another turning about. "Turn ye, turn ye, why
will ye die?"
III. The Evidence of Conversion. "Become as little children." The
little child which "Jesus set in the midst of them," was for them an
object lesson of self-abasement and trustfulness. Those who are wholly
turned to God are as open minded and submissive as little children.
They are very conscious of their own weakness, and free from all unholy
ambition and secret intrigue. They are harmless, affectionate, and
sincere, without duplicity and hypocrisy. To become as a little child
is to have the past blotted out and forgiven, and to begin life anew
after another and more heavenly fashion. It is only when a man gets
converted, and becomes again a little child, that he can have all the
prospects and opportunities of a lifetime before him. He has not yet
begun to live in a real, true sense, if he has not been turned to God.
"God is angry with the wicked every day; if he turn not, He will whet
His sword" (Psa 7:11-12).