Matthew 18:3,4 - Child-like Humility & Conversion

Mat 18:3 (KJV)  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.
Mat 18:4 (KJV)  Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this
little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Mat 18:3 (EAV)  And said, Truly I say to you, unless you repent
(change, turn about) and become like little children [trusting, lowly,
loving, forgiving], you can never enter the kingdom of heaven [at all].
Mat 18:4 (EAV)  Whoever will humble himself therefore and become
like this little child [trusting, lowly, loving, forgiving] is
greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Pride is a basic part of human nature. People seek to do things
which exalt themselves over others. [Disciple SB]

Pride threw the angels that sinned out of heaven, and will keep
us out, if we be not converted from it. (Matthew Henry's

In life it is all a question of what a man is aiming at; if he
is aiming at the fulfilment of personal ambition, the acquisition
of personal power, the enjoyment of personal prestige, the
exaltation of self, he is aiming at precisely the opposite of the Kingdom
of Heaven; for to be a citizen of the Kingdom means the complete
forgetting of self, the obliteration of self, the spending of self in a
life which aims at service and not at power. [Barclay Commentary]

Jesus used a child to help his self-centered disciples get the
point.  We are not to be childish (like the disciples, arguing over
petty issues), but rather childlike, with humble and sincere hearts.
[Life Application SB]

The absence of pride in position is the aspect of childhood
referred to here. To enter Christ's kingdom, a man must realize his
personal inadequacy, and his complete dependence on the Lord. He must
experience a new birth (Jn 3:3 ff). [Wycliffe Bible Commentary]

Jesus took a little child, who had no rights according to the
Law, and stood him in their midst. He told the disciples a change in
their thinking was necessary. Greatness in the kingdom was not based
on great works or words, but on childlike humility of spirit.
Jesus' reply indicated they were asking the wrong question. They should
have been concerned about serving the Lord, not asking about
positions in the kingdom. Their service needed to be directed toward
people,... A truly humble person does not concern himself with position or
power, but is concerned about active service, especially toward those
who are most in need. [Bible Knowledge Commentary]

To be great in the kingdom of God one must humble oneself as a
servant of others and of God. [Disciple SB]

These will not be talking of self, vindicating self, but will
lose their identity in Jesus Christ. To be great in God's kingdom is
to be a little child in humility, in simplicity of faith, and in
the purity of love. All pride must perish, all jealousy be overcome,
all ambition for supremacy be given up, and the meekness and trust
of the child be encouraged. 5T130

The people of Israel did not respond when Jesus called them to
Him. They stood off at a distance, reserving judgment. When Jesus
called the child to Him, the child responded immediately. Without
pride, humble and trusting, the child accepted Jesus' invitation at
once. Greatness comes only when we humble ourselves to trustingly
respond to our King's every call. [Victor Teacher's Commentary]

Christ taught and performed miracles for three years in the
little Jewish homeland-and the adults of His time either overtly
rejected His claims, or held back, uncertain. Now He calls a little child
and "had him stand among" the disciples. The child responded to
Jesus' call when adults had not. To be followers of Jesus, much less
great in God's kingdom, we must be like a little child in our response
to Christ's word. [Victor Bible Reader's Companion]

Christ has presented Himself to Israel as her Messiah. But the
crowds hold back, taking it upon themselves to stand in judgment on the
Son of God. What a contrast with the child, who simply heard and
responded. Both a childlike sense of dependence and a willingness to
respond are to mark our relationship with God... We acknowledge our
dependence and our powerlessness before Him, and humbly submit to His
words. [Victor Bible Background Commentary]

"You must be converted, you must be of another mind, and in
another frame and temper, must have other thoughts,... The pride,
ambition, and affectation of honour and dominion, which appear in you,
must be repented of, mortified, and reformed, (Matthew Henry's

Be converted. Gr. strepho, "to turn," or "to turn around";
hence, in reference to one's course of conduct, "to change one's mind."
In Biblical usage strepho is equivalent to the Heb. shub, commonly
used throughout the OT of "turning" to the Lord [SDA Commentary]

Continuous conversion
These words of Our Lord are true of our initial conversion, but
we have to be continuously converted all the days of our lives,
continually to turn to God as children. If we trust to our wits instead of
to God, we produce consequences for which God will hold us
responsible. Immediately our bodies are brought into new conditions by the
providence of God, we have to see our natural life obeys the dictates of
the Spirit of God. Because we have done it once is no proof that we
shall do it again. The relation of the natural to the spiritual is one
of continuous conversion, and it is the one thing we object to. In
every setting in which we are put, the Spirit of God remains unchanged
and His salvation unaltered but we have to "put on the new man." God
holds us responsible every time we refuse to convert ourselves, our
reason for refusing is wilful obstinacy. Our natural life must not
rule, God must rule in us.
The hindrance in our spiritual life is that we will not be
continually converted, there are 'wadges' of obstinacy where our pride spits
at the throne of God and says-'I won't.' We deify independence and
wilfulness and call them by the wrong name. What God looks on as obstinate
weakness, we call strength. There are whole tracts of our lives which have
not yet been brought into subjection, and it can only be done by
this continuous conversion. Slowly but surely we can claim the whole
territory for the Spirit of God. [My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald