Finally Free, Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace

While Finally Free is focused primarily on the sin of pornography the biblical principles and practical teachings found within are applicable to all forms of enslaving sin.  Unlike some books on sexual sins Lambert draws attention to better themes as well, such as: Christ, the gospel, and grace.  He writes, “This book is about something much better than pornography.  This book is about the amazing power of Jesus Christ to free you from pornography” (p. 12).  Toward this end the author offers eight strategies around which the book is organized (p. 19), dedicating a chapter to each of the strategies: godly sorrow, accountability, radical measures, confession, using your spouse/singleness, humility, gratitude, and a dynamic relationship with Jesus.

A couple of themes developed include the importance of true, godly repentance (pp. 23-25) and grace, by which Lambert identifies two kinds: forgiving and transforming.  Transforming grace, as Lambert sees it, is the force that motivates and empowers every one of the eight strategies (pp. 19-23).  It empowers us to live differently.  In general there is truth to this, however, I am a bit uncomfortable calling grace a force although grace should motivate us by its very nature. Better said, the Lord gives us grace for transformation but that grace comes in the form of gifts He has given us for transformation, such as the Holy Spirit, Scripture, prayer and the body of Christ.

I would take some issue with Lambert insisting that when we sin we “need to be restored by someone who lives by the Spirit.”  He uses Galatians 6:1-2 as his proof text but this passage addresses the restorer, who should help those floundering in sin, not the sinner.  Fortunately the majority of times when we have sinned we can turn to the Lord directly for restoration.  This is not to minimize the ministry of restoration, but to claim it is “always needed” goes beyond what Scripture teaches.  Lambert’s insistence on confession of sin to other people in order to find victory is also problematic (pp. 76-80), and he misuses Proverbs 28:13 to support this view (p. 76).  Especially concerning is the insistence that even those unaware of the sin should be confessed to as well.  This can be dangerous in many ways, not the least of which is to burden unnecessarily others with one’s sin.   Great caution should be taken here.  In addition, 1 John 1:9 calls for confession of sin to God, not others.  While confession to others is often appropriate especially when directed toward those sinned against (James 5: 16) it is not always essential.  Care and godly wisdom is needed before such steps are taken.

I cannot agree with Lambert that God made marriage to point to the gospel (pp. 102-103).   While Ephesians 5:23-33 uses marriage as an illustration of Christ’s love for the church, it does not say that marriage was invented to point to the gospel.   Genesis 2:18 makes it clear that marriage was created to solve man’s first problem – even before the fall – of loneliness.  And I was disappointed that, in the discussion of the need for forgiveness, no mention of repentance on the part of the one who sinned is given (p. 169).  Luke 17:3-5 demonstrates the place of repentance in the forgiveness process.

With these relatively minor concerns aside, I believe Finally Free is the best book I have read dealing with pornography specifically and enslaving sins in general.

Finally Free (Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace) by Heath Lambert (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013) 176 pp., paper $16.99

Reviewed by Gary E. Gilley, Pastor-teacher at Southern View Chapel