Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Ride of Your Life

It was a beautiful day, with tens of thousands of people from all over the world filling Disneyland Park. My family and I took our seats on “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” Sitting alone in my car, and knowing that the ride was designed for children, I wondered if I would have time for a quick nap.

The ride began and my car zipped by a whistle blowing British bobby whose hand was extended as if he were ordering me to stop. My car continued to twist and turn through the streets of London, wreaking havoc along the way. Before long, I found myself standing before a judge who pronounced me guilty of breaking the law.

In a mad escape from the courtroom, my car ended up on a railroad track with the roar of a train and a very bright light heading directly toward me. After the crash, I was transported to hell—complete with demonic looking rats, a Satan figure, and a significant increase in room temperature. It took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to be exposed to the biblical imagery of hell on a children’s ride, at a theme park known as the “happiest place on earth.”

Just as quickly as I entered hell, I found myself at the end of the ride and walking out into the cool night air. The Magic Kingdom, a place where dreams come true, unknowingly provided a good picture of a spiritual reality. There are a number of parallels between the ride and God’s Law and judgment.

Each of us has broken the law—God’s Moral Law. To see if this includes you, honestly answer the following questions. Have you ever told a lie? Have you ever taken something that didn’t belong to you, no matter how insignificant it may be? Have you ever hated anyone? The Bible says, “Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer” (1 John 3:15). Have you ever look at another person with lust? Jesus said, “Everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28). If you answered honestly, then according to God’s holy Moral Law, and by your own admission, you are a lying, thieving, murdering, adulterer at heart. And these are only four of the Ten Commandments.

Every lawbreaker will one day find himself standing before a righteous and holy Judge—the one true God. The Bible tells us, “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). The Judge will render His verdict quickly. The verdict will be “guilty.” And the sentence will be “death”—eternity in the torment of hell.

Some people think they can escape the righteous judgment of God, much like the scene in “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” in which the rider flees the courtroom. But there will be no escape from the wrath of God, just as Mr. Toad was unable to escape the oncoming train.
Unlike the person who climbs out of the car at the end of “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” there will be no relief from the flames, the pain, the torment, and the misery ascribed to hell’s prisoners.

The good news is that God doesn’t want to send you to hell. So, He sent His sinless Son, Jesus Christ—God in the flesh—to pay the penalty for your sins. He did this by taking your place of punishment when He shed His innocent blood and died on the cross. Three days later, He defeated death when He rose from the grave. “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

So, what must you do to be saved? You must recognize that you cannot save yourself and escape God’s judgment. You must confess your sins against God, repent (turn away from your sins), and put your trust in Jesus Christ alone for your salvation.

“Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” is just that—a ride. It is a few moments of animated silliness that eventually comes to an end. But life is more than a silly ride. And when your life on earth comes to an end, you will spend eternity in either heaven or hell. Repent and place your faith in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, right now. You will pass from death into life and receive the free gift of eternal life.

Please consider these things carefully. We’re talking about so much more than a silly ride in a manmade, magic kingdom. It will be the ride of your life. What’s at stake is your final, eternal destination. Will it be hell? Or will it be heaven—God’s eternal kingdom?

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