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Thursday, January 28, 2016

"The Power of the Cross" (Tony Evans)

TITLE: The Power of the Cross: Putting it to Work in Your Life
AUTHOR: Tony Evans
PUBLISHER: Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2016, (208 pages).

The centrality of the gospel is the cross. Without the cross and the death and resurrection of Jesus, our faith would be in vain. Sharing about his childhood days of playing football with his friends, there was once when no one remembered to bring a football. The players were there, the stadium was ready, the lights were on, but without a football, there was no game. Using this example as a springboard to show readers the importance of the cross, author and pastor Tony Evans tells us that the cross is the centerpiece of Christianity; the "greatest affirmation and demonstration of pure love." The basic reason why many Christians lack motivation in their faith is because they have forgotten the "purpose, the preeminence, and the power of the cross." At the cross, we see that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship. It is an expression of undying love; a symbol of forgiveness of sins; and a promise of hope that is to come. We are called to carry the cross of Christ. We are told by the apostle Paul that without the cross, our faith would be in vain. With all these as background, Evans then launches into three major expositions of what the cross means. First, Evans explores the unique person of Jesus Christ. Jesus is unique because He exists even before the world began. He is fully divine and also fully human. Evans gives four proofs about Jesus' deity; and spends a lot of time on describing Jesus' humanity. Readers learn about Jesus as the focal point of faith; the two coming of Christ; the foretelling (first coming) and the forthtelling (second coming). He talks about the prophecy; the death; the resurrection and the Ascension of Christ to showcase the centrality of the cross, which puts all of these together in one person.

Second, Evans explains the purpose of the cross, something which I feel some believers may have forgotten or taken for granted. At the cross, we learn of the holiness of God; our inability to keep the whole law; and the pervasiveness of our sins. The cross is a mark of our identity in Christ. It is a reminder of how much we depend on Christ. It shows us the true power and authority of God. It is a sign that we are released from the punishment of sins, that we can live as free people once again.

Third, Evans homes in on the power of the cross, mentioned as the title of this book. At the cross, we are offered stability as God and man are reconciled. We see the unshakeable kingdom having come and also on its way to earth. There is the power of stability and deliverance. We remember the cross and the sacrifice of Jesus as we partake the communion. This is something no sermon can fix, no Sunday service can bring, but only in the cross can we be brought to a profound presence of God's love. There is the final victory when Christ comes again and the kingdom dominates all of creation, both in heaven and on earth.

Written with deep conviction and powerful words, Evans has done it again. A popular and eloquent speaker, he has managed to bring to print the blessings of his preaching to readers far and wide. The topic of the cross of Christ needs to be emphasized and taught over and over again. Many books have already been written on it, the classic of which is John Stott's "The Cross of Christ." In one volume, we learn a lot about the person of Jesus, the significance of the cross, and the power that Christians can have with regards to purposeful, meaningful, and passionate Christian living. Christians need to be reminded that the cross is not simply one part of theology to learn about, only to be put aside in some bookshelves. It is central to our faith. It is because of such importance that Christians need to be cajoled over and over again about the place of the cross in their lives.

Even though there are many things believers already knew, Evans has put together an easy to read and understand description of the cross, so that our Christian lives can be unleashed with all the power of the joy of living in the name of Jesus at the cross of Christ. If we can do that, our faith will not be in vain at all, both now and tomorrow. Put together with simple illustrations, due to the importance of teaching the cross, I warmly recommend this book for readers of all stages of their Christian lives.

Rating: 4.5 stars of 5.


This book is provided to me courtesy of Moody Publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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