To be truly converted is to be as little children

19 Mar

Matthew 18:2-3

Jesus called a little child to himself, and set him in the midst of them, and said, “Most certainly I tell you, unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Bishop J.C. Ryle comments:

…we are taught in these verses, is the necessity of conversion, and of conversion manifested by childlike humility. The disciples came to our Lord with the question, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” They spoke as men half-enlightened, and full of carnal expectations. They received an answer well calculated to awaken them from their day-dream–an answer containing a truth which lies at the very foundation of Christianity–“unless you turn, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.”

Let these words sink down deeply into our hearts. Without conversion there is no salvation. We all need an entire change of nature. Of ourselves we have neither faith, nor fear, nor love towards God. “We must be born again.” Of ourselves we are utterly unfit for dwelling in God’s presence. Heaven would be no heaven to us if we were not converted. It is true of all ranks, classes, and orders of mankind. All are born in sin and children of wrath, and all, without exception, need to be born again and made new creatures. A new heart must be given to us, and a new spirit put within us. Old things must pass away, and all things must become new. It is a good thing to be baptized into the Christian Church, and use Christian means of grace. But after all, “are we converted?”

Would we know whether we are really converted? Would we know the test by which we must try ourselves? The surest mark of true conversion is humility. If we have really received the Holy Spirit, we shall show it by a meek and childlike spirit. Like children, we shall think humbly of our own strength and wisdom, and be very dependent on our Father in heaven. Like children, we shall not seek great things in this world; and having food and clothing and a Father’s love, we shall be content. Truly this is a heart-searching test! It exposes the unsoundness of many a so-called conversion. It is easy to be a convert from one party to another party, from one sect to another sect, from one set of opinions to another set of opinions. Such conversions save no one’s soul. What we all want is a conversion from pride to humility–from high thoughts of ourselves to lowly thoughts of ourselves–from self-conceit to self-abasement–from the mind of the Pharisee to the mind of the Tax-collector. A conversion of this kind we must experience, if we hope to be saved. These are the conversions that are wrought by the Holy Spirit.

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