Be All And End All

I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven” –Matthew 18:3, NIV.

If you ask the average person what it means to “become like little children” you will often be told that a person needs to be “innocent” in order to gain heaven. Theologically that is true–though it isn’t our innocence that gains us heaven but the innocence that is declared to be ours when we ask Christ to forgive us and to cleanse us from our sins.

But the verse tells us that there is something we have to “make” ourselves in order to be ready for the declaration of innocence that only God can make on our behalf.

The question the disciples asked was, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” (18:1, NIV). Jesus didn’t answer that question that way the disciples anticipated. There is no class system in heaven, no hierarchy of believers. The Lord turned the discussion to how a person gets into heaven in the first place, and pride (which probably prompted the “greatest in the kingdom” question in the first place) was a guaranteed barrier.

Jesus went on to say: “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Humility means taking a modest view of one’s own importance. Not all children are humble–some are insufferable, thanks to the adults in their lives–but in Jesus’s day He made a point of elevating women and children because society didn’t.

To be ready for forgiveness and for entrance into the Kingdom of God, we have to learn our place in relation to God, our importance in relation to His importance, our dependence on Him for everything, including His grace.We need to learn that He is the “be all and end all” not us. For those not familiar with this idiom, it means: “...something that is the final, or ultimate outcome or result of a situation or event.” 

There is nothing more heart-wrenching that seeing a child begging for bread on the streets, or in an abusive home, or in a circumstance of helpless misery. Those upon whom that child is supposed to be dependent have failed him in some way. A child is not equipped to look after himself. He needs an adult, a guardian, a protector, a friend, a Saviour.

To be prepared to enter the Kingdom, to be ready to receive God’s grace through faith in Christ, requires a heart and a mind that recognizes that unless Christ is that “be all and end all” there is no hope.

That kind of trust, dependence, continues long after the gate to the Kingdom has closed behind us. It needs to become a lifestyle that characterizes us as we journey toward our eternal destination.

He is our “be all and end all” and until we recognize that and count on Him to look after all our needs, we will never truly know the greatness of the blessing that total dependence on Him can bring.

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