Conversion

Matthew 18:3

"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).


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