Luke 18:15–17: Let the Children Come to Me
Another short passage: some folks are bringing infants and children to Jesus for him to touch (that is, bless), which the disciples rebuke them for, but Jesus tells his disciples to let the children come because the Kingdom of God belongs to such as them. “Truly, I say to you,” he says to them (verse17), "whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”
Jesus doesn’t claim in this passage that children are automatically saved, but he does command us to be like children, and in fact says that it’s the only way we can be saved. But what does he mean by being “like children?” What he’s referring to is childlike faith in him.
Personally, I think this is one of the hardest things to do for 21st Century Christians in the West. (Which is the only frame of reference I have…) We’ve been told from birth, from every direction—sometimes even from within the Church—that we need to stand on our own two feet, that we are responsible for our own lives and actions, that we should depend on nobody but ourselves, and a bunch of similar ideas, all of which are in diametric opposition to what the Bible teaches. The world teaches us to be independent; the Bible teaches us to trust in the Lord. The world tells us that “God helps those who help themselves;” the Bible teaches us to trust in the Lord.
But a child doesn’t overthink things. They trust that their parents will provide food and clothing, and they don’t really think about it beyond that. Before a certain age, when their parents say something they simply believe that their parents are telling them the truth, and they don’t really think about it beyond that. We should trust God in the same way.
When a person starts to move beyond childhood they don’t trust their parents in the same mindless way, which, for the most part, is a good thing. We need to grow and mature as people. (We even need to grow and mature as Christians; see, for example, Hebrews 5:11–14.) But we should never feel that we’ve outgrown the need to depend on God, or to trust Him.
If I follow the Bible’s teachings I’ll grow and mature as a Christian. I’ll get wiser, and I’ll be better able to follow His commands and directions in my day-to-day life. But woe to me if I ever get to a point where I feel I’m so smart that I don’t need to listen to His Word anymore, or if I feel that I don’t need Him to accomplish anything! It would be foolish and unbiblical.