“If there were no hell, the loss of heaven would be hell.”
– Charles Spurgeon
Charles Spurgeon Heaven and Hell Quote Commentary
The popular mass media of image of the Devil is some devious fiendish-looking guy wearing red tights, lugging around a pitch fork, and sporting pointy ears. Of course, the Devil lives, according to popular imagination, in a burning hell where sinners burn forever and ever. This caricature of the Great Liar and damnation are so cleverly ridiculous that it would make you suspect the devil himself came up with this cartoon. The reality is more nuanced than that. You see, God doesn’t want you to follow Him because you fear being thrown in hell. That’s not love. That’s probably not even real choice. Instead, God wants you to follow Him because you love him. No more, no less. That’s what a real relationship with Jesus is all about. It is completely voluntary. There is no hint of coercion due to the fear of the fires of an ever-burning hell.
Life without God is hell
Spurgeon’s quote above raises a concept that is even more troubling than the cartoon furnace hell we’ve all see on TV or heard about. Spurgeon’s definition of hell is more powerful and fearsome than any depiction of hell involving demons with pitchforks, unquenchable flames, and constant torment. There is no worse torment than knowing that you will be separated from God. This is the real hell. This is exactly the hell Jesus faced when he died for our sins. The eternal separation from God the Father and Holy Spirit made Jesus sweat blood-that’s how much it weighed on his soul. And this is what should weigh on our souls, too. Far from fearing burning, the real eternal torment is when you feel a hole in your heart that only being in God’s presence can fill. This sense of deep loss and eternal lack of completion and meaning is the real hell.
Love not fear
Make no mistake about it, the real conception of Hell every Christian should keep at heart is not the cartoon hell that threatens all sorts of physical punishments and pain. Worry instead about the pain separation from God can cause your soul. All the physical torture in the universe can’t hold a candle to that deep profound emptiness and pain. Instead of fearing hell, focus instead of how much you’ll miss God’s love. Do you value God’s love enough to walk fully in His ways today? By walking in love and letting God transform us as we walk with Him daily, our fear of hell disappears and our love for Him grows.