Rock and roll ballads rarely offer helpful counsel for life’s existential angst. But they do put their finger insightfully on the pulse of the angst itself. The bards of rock know well their condition and articulate it with great intensity. Examples are copious, but some lyrics are more poignant than others.
Creed’s title track, My Own Prison, has always grieved me. It’s clarity regarding the ultimate existential crisis, but unwillingness to accept its acknowledged solution underscores the inability of man, unaided by the effectual calling of the Spirit, to find peace.
Court is in session, a verdict is in
No appeal on the docket today just my own sin
The walls cold and pale, the cage made of steel
Screams fill the room, alone I drop and kneel
Silence now the sound, my breath the only motion around
Demons cluttering around, my face showing no emotion
Shackled by my sentence, expecting no return
Here there is no penance, my skin begins to burn
I hear a thunder in the distance, see a vision of a cross
I feel the pain that was given on that sad day of loss
A lion roars in the darkness, only he holds the key
A light to free me from my burden and grant me life eternally
I cry out to God, seeking only His decision
Gabriel stand and confirms, I’ve created my own prison.
While its theology is askew, the songs’ message is clear. Without God’s grace, men are self-condemned in a prison of their own sinful making. The Bible is clear about our condition apart from God’s grace. Men try to ignore it, deceive themselves about it, and rail against it, but the they cannot escape their own prison. Though many mock Christianity and scoff at the Bible, all men sense the truth of what Paul wrote in Acts 17:31 and dread it.
[God] has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.
Judgment is coming. God has not hidden this truth. Throughout the Scriptures the inevitability of God’s judgment is proclaimed with clarity and certainty. The final judgement is never expressed in conditional language. As the author of Hebrews wrote.
It is appointed for man to die once and then comes the judgement.Hebrews 9:27
All men will face it. Great and small, righteous and wicked, believers and unbelievers. Yet not all men will be condemned. In a moment of remarkable literal clarity, Revelation 20:11-15 speaks of the final judgment – of its certainty, scope, basis, and sentence. But like every word of judgement in Scripture, this picture of the final judgement includes a word of grace.
Among the books of men’s deeds is found another book, the Book of Life of the Lamb Who Was Slain. This book does not contain men’s works, but their names – the names of those who have trusted Jesus’ works, not their own. For these men and women, boys and girls, justice has been satisfied. The one on the throne executing judgement has, himself, endured judgement in their place.
What about you? Which book determines your eternal destiny on the day of judgement? Will you hear, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,” or “Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Join us this Lord’s Day as we examine Revelation 20:11-15, commonly called the Great White Throne Judgement, and consider what makes the difference between eternal life and death at the final judgement.
We meet on the square in Pottsville, right next to historic Potts’ Inn at 10:30 am for worship. Get directions here or contact us for more info. Or join us on Facebook Live @PottsvilleARP or YouTube.