“Verily I say unto you, whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”
The disciples struggled to comprehend the ways of the Savior. A few verses before, our text records that people were bringing infants to Jesus that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. They could not understand why Jesus would have the time or the interest in little ones. Jesus responded by saying that the children should not be hindered from coming to Him, and then these words, “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.”
This statement should make it clear to us that children can come to Jesus. He wants them to come to Him. Of course, they must be able to recognize their guilt before God and realize that the death of Christ alone is the payment for their sin. They must then by faith receive Him as Savior. Nowhere does the Bible teach of infant baptism or any form of salvation except repentance and faith. Children can come to Jesus as they are convicted of their sin and are drawn to the Savior. We must all “receive the kingdom of God as a little child.”
This was an interesting concept to the disciples and to others in our generation. The model that we are given for how to receive the kingdom is a child, not an adult. What might we learn from this? Receiving Christ and His gift of salvation is not about natural ability or maturity, for children are not able to do many things that adults can do. Salvation is God’s miraculous work. Nor is the new birth based on human understanding or intellect. Salvation is not reserved for those who perfectly understand or are exceptionally learned. Regeneration is not simply an academic decision based on acquired information. Salvation is an eternal work of the Spirit of God, wrought in the heart of a repentant sinner, who is sincerely trusting in Jesus Christ as his Savior.
Coming to Christ “as a little child” reminds us that the Gospel is simple. Too many seek to make the Gospel seem complex or complicated, when it is just the opposite. To come to Him “as a little child” implies that we come without prejudice or pride. We must come to Him in meekness and humility. One cannot come to Christ with aims or hopes of ambition, or with deceit and hypocrisy. We must lay aside our pretense and come, “as a little child.”