You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature. Galatians 5:13
Not so long ago there was a very special worship service at an Ohio penitentiary. The occasion had been made special because the governor had announced he was offering freedom to several inmates. With understandable impatience, the imprisoned waited for that moment when the governor would reveal those singled out for a pardon. The first name read was: "Lawrence Layton. Lawrence Layton, come down and get your pardon.” Nobody got up. Nobody came down. The chaplain started to look around. Spotting Larry Layton, the chaplain crooked his finger in invitation for Larry to come on down. Larry still didn’t move. The chaplain said, “Larry, he means you.” Larry, thinking there must be another Lawrence Layton in the place, stayed sitting. “They certainly couldn’t mean he was free.”
Finally the chaplain came down and led Larry forward to receive the precious certificate. After shaking the governor’s hand, Larry sat down with the other prisoners. Amazingly, when the prisoners had to go back to their cells, Larry Layton lined up with them. That’s when the warden called out, “Larry, you don't belong there anymore. You're a free man!"
Because of the Savior’s sacrifice on Calvary—because He fulfilled the laws you had broken and took the punishment you deserved, you as a believer in the Savior can be free. The Lord Jesus sends His Holy Spirit to your personal prison of sin with a complete and total pardon. This pardon is signed not with ink, but with Jesus’ blood. It does not come from a governor, but from God Himself. With your pardon in hand, the Savior says, "Come on down. Be forgiven of the past. Be free." I pray that when you hear the Lord call your name, you won't pull a Larry and ignore the invitation or His pardon. There would be nothing more tragic than to return to your cell of sin, when the Lord Jesus has died to make you free. Scripture says that the Lord desires all people to be saved. Believe with all your heart that this invitation includes you.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on July 11, 2004
THE PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for sending Your Holy Spirit to my personal prison of sin with a complete and total pardon. I rejoice in the knowledge that because of Your sacrifice, I have been made free. I come to you in prayer today with a thankful heart. In Your Name. Amen.
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