There are two steps for entering the Kingdom of Heaven, according to the Scriptures.
For those of us who desire to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, Yahushua Messiah [the Hebrew name for Jesus Christ] has told us the two initial steps we must take.
In the Gospels of John and Matthew, Yahushua made these statements:
- “…Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3b).
- “…Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3b).
These verses teach us that there are Two Steps for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven. These two steps are extremely important!! Yahushua says ‘except’ — meaning, if these two steps are omitted and do not occur in our lives, then we shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Here are the two steps we see from Scripture:
Step 1. Be converted, or be Born-Again
Step 2. Become as a little child
Let’s look at further details of these steps.
Step 1 — Be Converted
The Scripture has much to say about this First Step — to be Converted – or to be Born-Again! This First Step is vitally and eternally important!
The Biblical meaning of being converted is what Yahushua was discussing in the Matthew 18:3 and John 3:3 verses.
Being converted is not water baptism. It is not a religious ceremony or ‘confirmation’. We must distinguish this step for entering the Kingdom of Heaven from all other religious experiences.
This very essential and crucial First Step for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven is unique from all other religious ceremonies. This First Step is a personal encounter with the Living, Almighty God. This step of ‘being converted‘ is the necessary step for becoming a ‘new creation in Messiah’ (2Corinthians 5:17), when we have a life-changing experience with God, and as a result, all things become new to us!
Being converted is when we enter into a oneness with Messiah. Our spirit becomes birthed into the family of God, and our whole life becomes hidden in Messiah. It is a oneness with Messiah that He desires for each one of us, according to His prayer:
Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in me, and I in You, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that You sent me. (John 17:20-21)
Being one with Messiah is the start of a newness of life, and we are raised up into the heavenly places, being a partaker of the divine nature (See: Romans 6:4; Ephesians 2:6; 2Peter 1:4).
We discussed in detail, how to take this vital step of ‘being converted’ in the article: Good News! Please see the Good News article if you are not sure if you have been converted, or Born-Again.
Many have come to know the joy of this First Step! Those who have personally called out to Yahuwah Elohim [the Hebrew name for the LORD God] for His salvation, they have received the forgiveness and cleansing of their sins by the precious blood of Yahushua Messiah [Jesus Christ]. These have therefore, been converted, are now walking in newness of LIFE, and they now qualify to enter the Kingdom of Heaven!
Let us now consider the Second Step for entering into the Kingdom of Heaven.
Step 2 — Become As a Little Child
Perhaps we have witnessed the type of little child Yahushua was referring to in Matthew 18:3. The ‘type’ of little child we need to imitate is important. There are some little children we would not want to ‘become as.’
The Scriptures teach us that even little children can display a type of behaviour that is very revealing of their spiritual condition. A child is known by his doings, whether his deeds be pure and right, or whether his deeds be impure and wrong (Proverbs 20:11)!
When Yahushua told us to become as a little child, He was referring to the child-like quality of having a right spirit!
Consider the little child, Samuel [who later became Samuel the Prophet], when his mother brought him to the temple to be given to Yahuwah. This is the type of little child that Father desires for us to ‘become as.’
When Samuel was brought to the temple, he was very young, tender-hearted, honest, and very willing to learn. In other words, he was teachable! He was very respectful and showed honour toward his new guardian, Eli the priest. Little Samuel would not have argued with Eli, nor would he have been disrespectful in any way.
Samuel is an example of exactly the type of little child that we need to ‘become as.’ (See 1Samuel 3:1-10). Samuel, at a very young age, had the necessary ‘ears to hear’ his Heavenly Father’s voice (Matthew 11:15; Mark 4:23; Luke 8:8; Revelation 2:7).
Even as adults, Father expects us to maintain this disposition of teachable-ness and a tender-hearted nature that is unique to a little child. This is to be an on-going quality as we are walking with Yahuwah, because if we lose this quality, then it is questionable if we will be able to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore, it is worthy for us to remind ourselves from time to time to be as a little child.
Put Away Childish Things
This is not about the childish quality of foolishness which is also typical of little children. Foolishness is a childish element that needs to be driven out of a child:
- Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him (Proverbs 22:15).
- When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things (1Corinthians 13:11).
- For every one that useth milk is unskillfull in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe (Hebrews 5:13).
- If his children forsake my law [Torah], and walk not in my judgments; If they break my statutes, and keep not my commandments; Then will I visit their transgression with the rod, and their iniquity with stripes. (Psalms 89:30-32)
As the above verses teach us, Yahuwah expects us to mature and grow up. Father wants us to mature in our understanding, to grow familiar and skillful in His Word of righteousness, and to put away childish foolishness.
The last verse above shows how Yahuwah continues to deal with us, and chasten us, even as Born-Again adults. He chastens us as a Father (Hebrews 12:7-8), for we are His own children, whom He dearly loves! We would do well to consider, that much of our ‘troubles’ are explained in the verses above, from Psalms 89.
Even as an adult, there are unique characteristics of a little child that are vital for us to have and maintain, in order to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
When I picture ‘a little child’ I think of a two-year-old child who is small, energetic, innocent, defenseless, and teachable. These characteristics in a child naturally inspire protective-ness in parents. Their child-like qualities make parents want to protect them, shield them from danger, and teach them the good and right way. Their innocence, their tenderness, their vulnerability could be summed up in one word — humble.
Abba Father is absolutely protective of His own children as well. Those who look to Him with innocence, honesty, and humility inspire His parental instincts. It is genuine humility that is the one major characteristics of becoming as a little child!
The word humble in the Hebrew means ‘to bend the knee’. Bending the knee will bring a person’s face, and their disposition, closer to the ground — their face will naturally be closer to the floor. When someone is genuinely humble, they are also what we would call meek and lowly in heart (Matthew 11:29).
When we are lowly, then we are often empty and deflated — that is, we are not puffed up with our own self-importance or selfishness. Sometimes, it takes painful suffering and difficulties to, at last, be humble enough to receive instruction, and be willing to BE taught! [See Psalms 89:30-32.]
We all know that pride is a troublesome flaw. Father does not like pride! In fact, He resists and opposes those who are prideful! But, He gives grace to those who are humble (1Peter 5:5).
A Little Child’s Humility
There is one unique characteristic about a little child’s humility. The very size of a little child makes them uniquely humble, because they are already so close to the ground. It seems to me that this nearness to the ground makes little children especially beloved by the Heavenly Father. This may be part of the reason why Yahushua said that the angels of these little ones do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven (Matthew 18:10).
This humbleness, this ‘bending the knee’ quality, this lowliness is indispensable for Yahuwah’s people to begin to know Father, to receive His instruction, and to walk in His blessings. Throughout Scripture, humility is repeated over and over as a pre-requisite for Father’s blessings and guidance.
Therefore becoming as a little child is definitely a characteristic to maintain. Being converted is certainly absolutely essential for entering the Kingdom of Heaven, and it is the First Step to entering the Kingdom!
And yet, all of us had to possess the humble qualities of a ‘little child’ in order to be converted.
Once we are converted, it is equally important that we nurture and maintain an on-going tender-hearted humility — keeping a teachable heart, trusting completely in Father’s love and care for His own children — these are the unique qualities of a little child.
It would be good to frequently ask ourselves:
- Am I behaving as a little child before my Heavenly Father?
- Am I being open, tender-hearted, respectful, and teachable?
- Am I bending easily to Father’s direction and instruction, trusting in His loving care for me?
- Or am I arguing with Father?
Our natural tendency is usually to be hard and self-sufficient. Granted, there certainly are times for being firm and resistant to the enemy of our souls and his schemes! Yet in our relationship with our heavenly Father, we would be wise to always remember that He, the Almighty God, is to be respected and honoured, and we are His little child.
One thing that would be helpful too, is that whenever we see a Scripture verse with the word ‘child’ or ‘children,’ let’s be more sensitive to what that verse is saying. It is usually going to contain a clue for helping us to maintain the humility of a little child.
These two steps — being converted, and becoming as a little child — are the First Two Steps we must take initially, if we desire to walk daily with the heavenly Father, and enter into the Kingdom of Heaven!
- Father Knows Those Who Are His
- Acquiring A Teachable Heart
- The Peculiar Treasure of Yahuwah
- Chosen For The Master’s Use
- Blessed Are They Which Do Hunger
- Messiah In The Wilderness – from the series ‘Whom Do You Say That I Am?’ at thewayprepared.com
- Seeking God With All Our Heart
- Only The Wise Shall Understand