Influence

 the shape of leadership

Set Free by Grace

John Lindell’s new book unpacks the liberating message of Romans

As a pastor in Springfield, Missouri, I have had the privilege of seeing firsthand the remarkable impact of James River Church throughout this city and beyond. Under the leadership of Pastor John Lindell, thousands of people have met Christ and are growing as fully devoted followers of Christ.

One of the distinctives of Lindell’s ministry has been his verse-by-verse exposition of Scripture on Sunday mornings. It’s based on his conviction that non-Christians, if they do step inside a church, expect to hear more than sentimental storytelling or motivational hype; they expect to actually hear what the Bible says.

True to form, Soul Set Free: Why Grace Is More Liberating Than You Believe is based on one of Lindell’s recent sermon series through the first eight chapters of Romans. Yet this book is, fascinatingly, much more. Lindell also weaves throughout the chapters his own personal journey into grace while being a pastor.

John Lindell skillfully navigates a freeing pathway between the excesses of license on the one hand and legalism on the other.

Near the end of the book’s introduction, Lindell confesses that “for all the ways I have seen God at work in my life, grace still eluded me. And I knew that somehow, sometime, I had to find it, hold it, grasp it, and know it in a way I had not known it before.”

Lindell goes on to say about grace, “I just had no idea how radically it could revolutionize even an experienced Christian. When you get hold of it — or better yet, when it gets hold of you — you will feel like a prisoner set free.”

The book itself is a thematic narrative. Rather than going verse by verse, each chapter of Soul Set Free sequentially tracks Paul’s case for grace, starting with Chapter 1 and building through to the end of Chapter 8. Those themes include the gospel’s power, our sinfulness, the role of faith, peace with God, the first and Second Adam, death to sin, the removal of condemnation, and life in the Spirit. It ends with an excellent section on adoption and God’s capacity to work good in all things.

As one would expect, the book is biblically insightful but also pastorally practical. Amidst the swirling controversies over some forms of grace teaching today, Lindell skillfully navigates a freeing pathway between the excesses of license on the one hand and legalism on the other.

Whether for a new Christian or a seasoned saint, this book is an excellent guide to a life of authentic freedom in Jesus.

Book Reviewed

John Lindell, Soul Set Free: Why Grace Is More Liberating Than You Believe (Lake Mary, Florida: Charisma House, 2019).

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