To Be Called Your Son – Gospel in Life

To Be Called Your Son

Tim Keller |  October 19, 2008

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  • God the Father
  • Identity
  • Atonement
Luke 15:21-24
RS 205-4


This great parable of the prodigal son teaches us many insights as to how the grace of God affects our relationships with each other, how it creates a unique community, a unique human society. Today we’re focusing on the theme of sonship. What did sonship mean in ancient culture? What does sonship mean in the Bible? We have to understand this if we’re going to grasp not only the narrative in the text but some of the greatest information we can get about what God has given to us through Jesus. Let’s take a look at these four things: the character of sonship, the practice of sonship, the community that results from sonship, and the accomplishment of sonship.

Luke 15:11–24

The story of the lost son shows us how God’s love can change relationships and create a special community. It highlights the idea of being a child of God, which is like the father saying his son has returned from the dead. This idea is important in the Bible and in ancient cultures, and it helps us understand the gifts we receive through Jesus. We can learn more about what it means to be a child of God by looking at its character, practice, community, and accomplishment.

1. The character of being a child of God

In the old days, being a son meant a lot. Sons were supposed to carry on the family’s traditions, wealth, and safety. When Paul said in Galatians that all believers, through faith in Jesus, are children of God and heirs to His kingdom, it was a groundbreaking thought. This idea brought believers closer to God in a way that had never been seen before. The term “children” includes both men and women, showing that everyone is equally loved, honored, and part of God’s family. Each metaphor in the Bible shows us a different part of God’s grace.

2. The practice of being a child of God

Knowing that we are children of God brings us a deep sense of security. It changes our status from strangers to heirs. This relationship also allows us to be close to God, to share our needs and desires with Him, and to feel His love when we pray. Being children of God also means we have a glorious future to look forward to, which gives us hope and perspective during tough times. It also helps us create a community that feels secure, close to God, and hopeful about the future.

3. The community that results from being a child of God

The Bible teaches us about “brotherly love,” which encourages us to form a community that is as close as a family. This means being honest about our struggles, and being willing to share what we have. The community we build within the church can change our lives. It requires more than just showing up—it requires active involvement and support of each other’s faith.

4. The accomplishment of being a child of God

The younger brother in the story could only be restored as a son and heir because of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice. Jesus, the true elder brother, gave up His position in heaven so we could become children of God. Understanding this sacrifice helps us become a family. The story of a man who took the blame and faced death for a missing shovel shows this kind of love. It transformed a harsh environment into a caring community. This love, shown through Christ’s sacrifice, should inspire us to become a loving and caring family.



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