"Permit the children to come to me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all." (Mark 10:14b,15)
Jesus often used children as examples of the humble, dependent and trusting attitude required to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life. As Pastor-Teacher Warren Wiersbe puts it; "We tell the children to behave like adults, but Jesus tells the adults to model themselves after the children!"
Anyone who has ever been around children knows that even the youngest soon manifest their inherited sin nature; "Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me." (Psalm 51:5) Children then are certainly not, of course, examples of sinless perfection. So what was Jesus teaching us concerning the pattern of children?
Pastor Wiersbe explains; "In what ways are children a pattern? In their humble dependence on others, their receptivity, their acceptance of themselves and their position in life. Of course, Jesus was speaking about an unspoiled child, not one who was trying to act like an adult. A child enjoys much but can explain very little. Children live by faith. By faith they accept their lot, trusting others to care for them and see them through."
Everyone who receives forgiveness of sins and eternal life in the kingdom of God, does so by faith, like little children. Adults soon become proud, self-dependent sinners who diminish their own unrighteousness, as well as, diminish the holiness of God. But those who receive the kingdom of God (salvation and eternal life) are like helpless children, totally dependent upon the mercy and grace of God provided in Christ Jesus. They recognize that they are unworthy and without hope apart from their faith in Christ alone.
This childlike faith grows even after salvation. Like children, we are to take our hurts, our needs and our fears to our heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is not only our Lord and Saviour, He is our example as children of God; Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children." (Ephesians 5:2) Only those with childlike faith will enter the kingdom of God as beloved children who want to imitate their heavenly Father; "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3) Maranatha!