'Sonship' is an important, yet often overlooked, theme throughout the Bible. Adam, the first human being, is identified as a 'son of God'; Israel is God's 'first-born son'; the covenant with king David is cast in father-son terms; Christians are children of God, 'adopted as sons'; and the same designation brings Scripture to a triumphant conclusion: 'He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son' (Revelation 21:7). The storyline of the Bible is clear, that God is making for himself a family of sons and daughters who will serve him and reign with him in his kingdom for ever - and this purpose is achieved through Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God.
In his warm-hearted, edifying exposition of this theme, Trevor Burke shows how 'sonship' is the focus of creation, is a metaphor for salvation, carries moral obligation, and is the goal of restoration of broken, suffering humanity. For those whom God the Father adopts into his household as sons and daughters, the family bonds that begin in this life will last for all eternity.
From the 'Author's preface':
This book arose from an earlier one I wrote entitled 'Adopted into God's Family'. During the writing of that volume D. A. Carson, in the course of written correspondence, made the insightful remark that the notion of sonship was probably the larger biblical concept of which adopted sonship was a part. Dr Carson's comments were an important seed-thought which blossomed into the book you now hold in your hands. The contents, however, are entirely my responsibility.
A word about the title: 'The Message of Sonship' should not be taken to exclude females; indeed, it would have better to have used the word 'children', but 'The Message of the Children of God' did not have the same ring as 'sonship' nor did it fit with the mostly one-word titles of the other volumes in the Bible Speaks Today series. I have tried to be as inclusive as possible and so when I use the term 'son' males and females are usually intended, except in the case of Paul's adoption term where males only are in view females could not be adopted as they were unable to carry on the family name.
My reasons for writing this book are to inform, but also to encourage, edify and strengthen the faith of all Christians who are part of the church, the family of God. I have pastors in mind in the hope that they will preach some of these important texts and I trust the book will be useful for individual and group Bible study of what is an overlooked and neglected biblical theme. One legitimate way of 'doing' biblical theology is through narrative and I have endeavoured to use the metaphor of sonship as a means of understanding the biblical story. With this in mind, I would recommend the book is read right through; if a chapter is chosen to be read, however, I would encourage the reader to first turn to the introductory chapter which sets the context for the rest of the book.