Ephesians 4:11-13 – And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
Being in ministry is not always an easy thing. Each and every week I am approached by people who have lost their families, lost loved ones, are depressed, on drugs or alcohol, feel like they are failing or have just come to a point in their lives when they just realize there MUST be more. There is no human way possible for anyone in the ministry to be fully prepared for every situation that can come your way. All you can do is know your Bible, know the grace and peace of God, and be there to listen to those hurting and comfort those in need.
One of these tough situations happened to me this week. I was one of the first on the scene for a suicide. When I was growing up, I remember talking to some of my power technology classmates in high school and one of them joking about suicide. At the time, he mentioned he was going to go “kiss the train.” While he was just joking, this week’s suicide was no joke.
This was not just a random person. This was someone I had spent time with, poured into, and ministered to. I felt honored to call him friend. He had just recently made the choice to follow Christ and got baptized only a mere 10 days ago.
When I was on the scene, someone approached me and asked me how does suicide fit into salvation? Can the person go to heaven?
Judges 16:30 – Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
Still in shell shock myself, I probably gave the worst answer ever. It was probably so bad, because I don’t even remember what I said.
Later that afternoon, I headed out to the Chesapeake Bay armed with my Bible and Google to do a little research on suicide. I knew what I believed, but I had never been in the foxhole before when the questions were asked.
Ask me anything about needing Christ in your life or the importance of baptism or communion and I will give you a text book answer that also models my heart. Put me in front of people who want me to deny Christ and I won’t.
Ask me a question about suicide and salvation…and I fail.
So the question that I was given today, “If a Christian commits suicide, can he get into heaven?”
Before I give you the theology behind the answer, let me give you the short answer.
Psalm 111:9 – He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name!
A Christian who commits suicide is forgiven.
But to understand why I believe this, I need you to understand the theology of salvation.
Put simply, salvation is being saved from God’s judgment. There is only one way to obtain salvation, and that is through putting your complete trust in Christ Jesus. Look at John 14:6 or Acts 4:12.
Romans 5:1 tells us that it is by grace THROUGH FAITH that we are forgiven. That grace comes through Jesus alone. Nothing we can do will ever get us a ticket to heaven. It is only because of God’s grace, death on the cross, and resurrection to life that we have the potential to be saved.
When Jesus forgives someone, He forgives ALL their sins and gives them eternal life. John 10:28 is very clear in that.
Salvation is not based on what you do. Keeping God’s laws do not save you anymore than owning a surfboard makes you a world-class surfer. No one is saved by keeping the Law of God. Check out Galatians 2:21 or Romans 3:24-28 if you have questions about that.
Now, let me emphasize though, that this does NOT mean you can continue to live in sin. Check out Romans 6:1-3 if you are wondering about that. Sorry, this is not a “get out of jail free” card. We are saved with the purpose of purity of heart (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
Our salvation is strictly from God. Other than acting out in faith and trusting and accepting what Jesus did on the cross, you did not do ANYTHING to deserve that saving grace. Since you did not gain your salvation by what you did, you cannot lose it by what you do.
In the Bible there is only ONE unforgivable sin. That sin is NOT suicide. That sin is explained in Matthew 12:22-32 and is basically denying the deity of Christ and His work on the cross. Denying that earns you a ticket to hell.
Now let’s look at repentance. Repentance is the necessary result of the saving work of God – NOT THE CAUSE OF SALVATION. If repentance brought salvation, then salvation would be works-based and not faith-based.
God grants repentance to the Christian! (2 Timothy 2:25)
Once God grants us repentance, then the Christian turns from their sin.
The Christian is able to repent because he is saved, he is not saved because he repented.
But Fred, what about 1 John 1:9? Don’t we have to confess our sins to be saved? Confession and repentance are natural results of repentance.
But what about sins you didn’t even know you committed?
You can’t tell me you remember EVERY sin you have ever done. Especially because many times, we humans act out of what we think are best intentions only to realize later that it led someone into sin.
If we are forced to confess and repent of every little sin we’ve ever committed we would be back under the bondage of the Law, not the freedom of Christ. Jesus even told us that His yoke was light (Matthew 11:27-30).
So, repentance is not the cause of salvation, but it is the result of salvation.
So, suicide, being, in essence, self-murder, is not something you can repent of. There were plenty of murderers in the Bible (Moses, David, Saul) but they each had opportunities to confess and repent. In suicide, the person does not have the option of repenting and confessing.
Jesus bore EVERY Christian’s sins – including suicide. If Jesus bore that person’s sins on the cross 2000 years ago and if suicide was not covered, then the Christian was never saved in the first place; If the one sin of suicide is not covered, then the ENTIRE work of Christ on the cross is undone.
Jesus either saves completely or He doesn’t.
At the end of the day, I choose to believe my Bible in knowing that each of my sins are covered upon the cross of Christ: past, present, and future.
So is the Christian forgiven for suicide?
But suicide is NOT an option. We do not have the right to take a life that belongs to God.