Totally Saved: Understanding, Experiencing and Enjoying the Greatness of Your Salvation. By Tony Evans. Chicago: Moody Press, 2002. 384 pp. Cloth. $19.99.
Totally Saved serves as a catalog of Dr. Evans’s belief on salvation and its related subjects. We are not just saved from “the lake of fire and eternal darkness” but we are also saved from “the lake of confusion and earth’s temporary darkness.” When a person believes on Jesus Christ, Dr. Evans says that person is totally saved.
Those familiar with Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship will immediately recognize in this book two of Dr. Evans’s strengths, he is a master of illustrations and he has the ability to make the complex simple. Dr. Evans’s illustrations are clear visual aids to the subject presented. On page 68, he explains propitiation: “We have nothing to offer that would satisfy God’s righteous anger against mankind’s sins.” How did God handle this dilemma? “He took the initiative and provided His own sacrifice.” Dr. Evans suggested that we stop reading at that point and “have a praise service.” God’s holy character demanded a sacrifice that was impossible for us to provide. Dr. Evans drew an illustration from his own life; while a student, he owed Dallas Seminary a debt that was impossible for him to pay. He called it a “righteous economic demand.” “That meant that Dallas Seminary either had to overlook our bill, which it couldn’t do and still meet its own bills, or I had to drop out of school. But while the Evanses were still financially helpless, the propitiation was made. Someone must have looked in our checkbook, because I went to my campus mailbox one day and found a letter that said that Dallas Seminary had awarded me a full scholarship for the cost of my education. In other words, the school was paying its own bill…” (p. 68).
Why is there a need for another book on salvation? Because many Christians feel “as if church professionals have so mixed up and complicated the issues that no one can get them straight anymore” (p. 12). Too many of those who communicate “the wonder of the unspeakable gift of salvation” (p. 12) have failed to use “language the everyday person can relate to” (p. 12). Man is “totally lost” therefore he needs to be “totally saved” (p. 12). Man needs to know when “he believes in Jesus Christ,” he is “totally saved” (p. 12). “When God saved you the batteries were included” (p. 114).
Dr. Evans shows how “every facet of human nature has been polluted, defiled, and contaminated by sin” (p. 23) and God does everything for the sinner when he or she believes in Jesus Christ. Dr. Evans deals with every doctrine of salvation, why each one is needed and how the sinner receives it, by trusting Christ alone.
When I read anything to do with salvation, I am interested in what the author says is necessary for salvation and how the author deals with the unsaintly saint. What about the believers who commit the “filthy five,” or the “nasty nine,” or the “dirty dozen?” Dr. Evans says “sometimes it’s hard to tell the saints from the ‘ain’ts’ because some lost people live exemplary lives, while genuine believers can be capable of some really heinous behavior” (p. 189). Dr. Evans warns of two extremes, teaching that one can lose salvation because of sin, and teaching that good works are proof that one is saved. We are saved when we believe in Jesus. For the believer, a fruitful life is not a salvation issue, but a fellowship issue. The person who places his faith in Jesus Christ is eternally secure. Dr. Evans makes a riveting observation: “If eternal security is not true, then we cannot fully obey the biblical command, ‘Be anxious for nothing’ (Phil 4:6)” (p. 262).
You may not agree with everything Dr. Evans says but you will understand everything he says. This stimulating and encouraging book will be a great resource for everyone who is serious about his or her faith.
GES Board Member