Except You Be Converted
At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:1-4 KJV
To be converted is to revert back to or turn back to the Lord, but it also means to change to something different. Many have tried to change in some way—using sheer will power—and became discouraged when the change didn’t happen, or happened but didn’t last; but, unless you are converted and change your attitude, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
When Jesus told His disciples that if they weren’t converted, they would not enter the kingdom of heaven, He was not talking about going to heaven, but rather, He was saying to them that they would not experience the inward realities of the kingdom unless they changed their feelings and opinions about being the greatest (See Mark 9:33-37; Luke 9:46-48). Remember, Jesus’ disciples were already believers and followers of Him but they needed a serious attitude adjustment. Generally, children don’t have haughtiness, pride, worldly ambition, and a lust for power So Jesus used a child to teach this object lesson of humility. God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (James. 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5-6). Without humility, you will not enter into the kingdom realities of righteous, peace, and joy (Rom. 14:17) and other kingdom blessings.
But to enter into these kingdom of heaven realities, you must be converted, i.e., you must change! You don’t have the power to change anything about y9urself apart from God’s help (Jer. 13:23); and, repentance precedes conversion (Acts 3:19). To truly repent (Metanoia, Greek word) is to change your mind. Change your mind about what? Change your mind about yourself and be not conformed to this world (Rom. 12:1-2). Change your mind about God and be changed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18). Except you be repent and be converted, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven!