Would you feel comfortable singing: “We’re on the highway to hell!”
Back in the 1980s, a lot of my classmates probably did. I was never into AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden or any of the popular heavy metal bands. I didn’t like the demonic imagery or lyrics and still don’t.
I get that not all of heavy metal music is focused on demons or hell, but that is the perception I had as a teenager and when last night, some 2,000 people around me burst out singing: “We’re on the highway to hell!” it really shocked me.
Maybe I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wasn’t supposed to be though. It was supposed to be a fun evening, and mostly it was. Bill Bailey live at The Caird Hall in Dundee for his Larks in Transit tour.
I’d been a bit apprehensive, after all Bill Bailey enjoys taking a pot shot a Christians and sure enough, there were a few shots fired. But okay, I knew that was a risk going in.
He’d got us to sing a couple of songs already, I won’t spoil that part of his act, but then, right at the end, he starts playing the guitar riff for AC/DC’s Highway to Hell.
I didn’t even know what the riff was from. I didn’t listen to the music as a child and still don’t, but I’ve heard the words being sung often enough.
The highway to hell…
Do you know what that means?
The broad way, the fast way to destruction. Jesus spoke about it, recorded by Matthew: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
I believe Hell is real. I know some Christians have doubts about whether God would condemn people to an eternity of suffering, but I’m not claiming that’s what Hell is.
Destruction could mean literal destruction. The reward for a lifetime of rejecting God might mean that God will ultimately reject you. That interpretation fits in with other parables Jesus told which described Hell as a rubbish dump. A place to throw out the garbage.
I find that interpretation problematic though. It means that you can be as cruel as you want. You can hurt as many people as you want. You can steal and kill and destroy and at the end of the day, there are no real consequences. Your life is snuffed out and that’s it. Where’s the justice in that?
I believe our creator is a just God. It doesn’t seem likely that we just get off the hook.
I also believe in Heaven. I don’t subscribe to the wings and clouds fantasy. Instead I believe the prophecy in Revelation that talks about heaven coming down to earth, the earth being healed and renewed. A new heaven and a new earth. That sounds amazing. Awesome! I want to be a part of that.
Jesus spoke several times about eternal life. Life after death, abundant life, abundant eternal life. I want to have that.
Can you imagine being raised from death to face judgement and finding out how wonderful life after death is going to be, that it will be far better than our lives now can ever have been, then only to find that because you chose the highway to hell, you don’t get eternal life…
How awful would that be?
It doesn’t have to be that way for you. The highway to hell has an off ramp. You can leave it right now and exit to the narrow way, following Jesus, seeking God.
Of course, maybe destruction does mean a lake of fire. Maybe all the Stalins and Hitlers and others that we can all agree would deserve punishment will be punished. Justice. Except, who decides what justice is? You? Me? God?
It will be God.
And broad is the way that leads to destruction. And no matter what Angus or Malcolm Young or Ronald Scott wrote about your friends being there too, Hell isn’t the promised land you want to end up in.
So maybe finding out what God thinks about justice is a good idea. And what God thinks about life and death and what our purpose in life is.
If Bill Bailey is to be believed, there is no Hell so why should we worry. But what does Bill Bailey know? I like him, mostly, as a comedian. I do not put my trust in him. Instead I choose to put my trust in Jesus Christ, a name Bill Bailey mentioned at least once during his two hour act.
Jesus died and rose from death to life to prove that we will have eternal life. I put my trust in Jesus.
I encourage you to do the same, or at the very least, to look into the claims of Jesus and test them. Otherwise you might join Bill Bailey on an easy road that takes you where you didn’t really want to go.