Free at Last: Experiencing True Freedom Through Your Identity in Christ. By Tony Evans. Chicago: Moody Press, 2001. 209 pp. (Hardcover), $19.99.
Dr. Tony Evans, pastor of Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship and president of the Urban Alternative, has distinguished himself as an excellent communicator. On top of that, he is a strong advocate of the doctrines of grace. His ability to communicate clearly and his commitment to grace come together in this book.
The fourteen chapters deal with topics like our Christian identity, our new position in Christ, our struggle with sin, legalism, grace, walking by the Spirit, living by faith, and intimacy with God. There is both a Subject Index and a Scripture Index.
Evans begins with the proposition that most Christians who struggle with sin and the Christian life need to understand their new identity in Jesus Christ. His goal is to explain that new identity and the implications for living consistent with it which brings freedom from Satan, sin, and guilt. I believe he accomplishes that goal and as a result I think this book will help many Christians who struggle in their walk with God. It seems getting justified by grace through faith is only half the battle these days. Many Christians need to learn to be sanctified by that same grace and faith. Confusion, inconsistency, and legalism abound in our churches. This book has the potential to reach many people with a convincing presentation of what it means to live by grace through faith.
Evans’s style is very sermonic, which makes the book very appealing on the popular level. One gets the impression that in-depth exegesis is used, but carefully hidden (as it should be in a popular sermonic work). Important Scriptures are explained, but not with a formal expositional style. The chapters are arranged by and follow more of a topical style. This all makes for easy reading.
As in his preaching, Evans distinguishes himself as a master of illustrations. If illustrations are “windows to the truth,” then there is plenty of light here to help us see. I’m sure many a grace preacher or teacher will find this a rich source from which he can “borrow” an effective illustration. But Evans speaks clearly even without the use of illustrations. He is also a master of making hard texts simpler.
It is encouraging to see a man of Evans’s profile unashamedly teach the implications of living by grace. I hope this book has a wide distribution. Everyone who appreciates grace living should own a copy and buy a second to generously share with others.
Charles C. Bing