Nobody wants to be told what to do. Nobody. I don't want my doctor telling me what I need to eat and I don't want a speed limit sign telling me how fast I can drive. And it's part of our fallen nature not to want God to tell us what to do, either. This is why people get offended when a pastor boldly declares that Jesus is the only way to salvation, for the implication is that those who do not accept His grace and forgiveness are doomed to eternity separated from God.
Enter Dee Snider, the flamboyant, provocative, controversial lead singer of Twisted Sister. In 1984 the band released its third album, Stay Hungry, which featured a song whose lyrics could easily have made the sermon for a fire-and-brimstone preacher.
Welcome to the abandoned land Come on in child, take my hand Here there's no work or play, only one bill to pay There's just five words to say as you go down, down, down You're gonna burn in hell Oh, burn in hell
You can't believe all the things I've done wrong in my life Without even trying I've lived on the edge of a knife Well, I've played with fire, but I don't want to get myself burned To thine own self be true, so I think that it's time for a turn Before I burn in hell Oh, burn in hell
Take a good look in your heart, tell me what do you see It's black and it's dark, now is that how you want it to be? It's up to you, what you do will decide your own fate Make your choice now for tomorrow may be far too late And then you'll burn in hell
Hear no evil, don't you See no evil, don't you (oh, burn in hell) Lay no evil down on me (you're gonna burn in hell) Speak no evil, don't you Think no evil, don't you (oh, burn in hell) Play with evil, 'cause I'm free
The third stanza is a pure, evangelistic message, but it hinges on the burdensome freedom of choice. Human will is free. God will not force us to love Him. He will not make us accept His love. The choice is ours. On the one hand, this seems wonderful and freeing. We get to make the choices that shape and direct our lives. On the other hand, they are entirely our choices, and we alone are responsible for their consequences. If we do not accept the sacrifice that Jesus offered on our behalf, we will spend eternity separated from God. We will live forever in hell. This is not an expression of a scare tactic. It is simply a fact. On the other side of hell is life eternal with God, the endlessly loving Father Who made us, wants us with Him, and has prepared a life for us beyond what we can imagine (see 2 Corinthians 2:9).
So, what will it be? Take a look at your heart. What do you see? Is it what you want it to be? It's up to you. What you do will decide your own fate. Make your choice now, for tomorrow may be far too late.
If you have questions or want to talk further about the offer of Jesus or what it means to accept His grace and follow Him, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to talk with you.