Child, or child of God?

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 18:3

I’m not sure about Greek and Aramaic, but in English “child” has two meanings.

The first meaning is “young person”. That’s the definition I’ve usually associated with Matthew 18. And I’ve read different theories about why Jesus said this–about what makes a young person more capable of entering the kingdom.

But what if I should actually be using the second definition of child: “offspring”? After all, is it any quality of ours that brings us into the kingdom? Or is it our relationship to God?

“And if children, then heirs–heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.” -Romans 8:17

If Romans 8 is right, then the key to inheriting the kingdom is being the kind of child that is also an heir–a child defined not primarily as a young person, but as offspring.

Today, instead of imagining how to become more humble, or innocent, or honest, or whatever ideal characteristics you have associated with childhood, imagine what it looks like to be a son or daughter of God. Then trust him as your Father.

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