Speaking of two lost sons

November 19, 2010 — Leave a comment

From The Prodigal God by Timothy Keller:

There are two ways to be your own Savior and Lord. One is by breaking all the moral laws and setting your own course, and one is by keeping all the moral laws and being very, very good. …People define sin as breaking a list of rules. Jesus shows ‘that a man who has violated virtually nothing on the list of moral misbehaviors can be every bit as spiritually lost as the most profligate, immoral person….because sin is not just breaking the rules, it is putting yourself in the place of God as Savior, Lord, and Judge.


Moral conformity means putting the will of God and standards of the community ahead of individual fulfillment. In this view, we only attain happiness and the world is only made right by achieving moral rectitude. “We may fall at times, but then we’re judged by how abject and intense our regret is. In this view, even in our failures we must always measure up.”

In self-discovery, individuals want to be free to pursue their own goals and self-actualization regardless of custom and convention. In this view, the world would be a far better place if tradition, prejudice, hierarchical authority, and other barriers to personal freedom were weakened or removed.


“The elder brothers, the moral conformists, divide the world in two: The immoral people–the people who ‘do their own thing’ are the problem with the world, and moral people are the solution.”

Younger brothers, advocates of self-discovery, even if they don’t believe in God at all, do the same thing, saying: “No, the bigoted people–the people who say, “we have the Truth” are the problem with the world, and progressive people are the solution.”


The gospel message: “everyone is wrong, everyone is loved, and everyone is called to recognize this and change.”

This Week’s Special
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours.
But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”

Luke 15:31-32

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