Summary: Salvation is the work of the Holy Spirit, and it can’t be gained by human effort.


Much of the history of President Franklin D. Roosevelt is predominated by his wartime speeches. However, many historians believe his greatest speech was made eleven months before Pearl Harbor. It wasn’t called the State of the Union address back then, but on January 6, 1941 President Roosevelt delivered a speech in which he outlined four freedoms people everywhere in the world should enjoy. These are: (1) Freedom of speech; (2) Freedom of worship; (3) Freedom from want; (4) Freedom from fear. Two years later, to help the war bond effort, Norman Rockwell painted four scenes picturing each of these basic human freedoms.

Those are precious freedoms, but the Bible reveals a fifth freedom that every person should have, and that is freedom from the penalty and tyranny of sin. The only way to enjoy spiritual freedom is through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you know Jesus, then you can sing, “Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty I’m free at last!” But this freedom doesn’t mean we can live without boundaries. I’ve entitled this message, “We are set free to serve—NOT to sin.”

Galatians 5:1: It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. That’s the theme verse for Galatians, now skip down to Galatians 5:13-15: You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

I was sixteen years old, and had just gotten my driver’s license. I was excited about taking a girl out on a “car date.” My parents had recently gotten a brand new 1969 Chevrolet Impala. It was light blue with a white vinyl top, and best of all it had an amazing device called a built in 8-track tape player. I had a new Young Rascals tape, so I was ready for the date.

I picked Becky up at her house in the country. Of course, when you grow up in a small town in LA, the country is only five minutes out of town. I could tell she was impressed with my car. After enjoying some fun at the local skating rink, I drove her home. I decided to take a detour through the woods on some dirt roads to show off how well I could drive. It was easy to fishtail on dirt roads, and I was doing great until I hit a muddy patch of road. I felt the car sliding to the left toward the ditch, and jerked the steering wheel hard to the right and overcorrected. The next thing I knew I was stopped in the muddy ditch on the right side of the dirt road. I gunned the engine to try to get out, but the tires were spinning. The more I gunned the engine, the deeper I sank into the mud. The mud was half-way up the passenger side door, so Becky couldn’t even open it. So we got out on my side, and I took my cell phone and called my dad. Not! Instead, we walked about a half a mile to the nearest house and borrowed their phone. My dad was already asleep, so he wasn’t a happy camper. He drove his pickup truck to where I was stuck, and tried to pull me out, but his pickup couldn’t get enough traction on the muddy road. He was a forester for International Paper Company, so he drove to his office and brought back a huge truck loaded with a D6 Caterpillar that they used to plow fire lines. Then he unloaded the Cat and hooked a chain between it and the car and pulled me out of the mud. He didn’t say a lot that night, but he had a lot to say to me the next day! He wasn’t the only one upset with me. Becky’s dad was waiting on the front porch. I expected him to be holding a shotgun, but he wasn’t. However, he wasn’t happy. I tried to explain to him about getting stuck, but I don’t know he believed me. I don’t recall ever having a date with Becky again, and I never took a date on dirt roads again!

My problem was that when the car started toward the left ditch, I overcorrected and ended up in the other ditch. That’s human nature. It’s also our spiritual nature as well. Sometimes we get so afraid of sliding into one false belief that we overcorrect and end up in another false belief.

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