I have heard of Christians who have committed suicide. In fact, I personally knew one who was a co-worker and a friend of mine. Some at the funeral said that they are now in hell…others believed that once a person is saved they will be in heaven no matter what they do here on earth. If a believe commits suicide, can they be saved? Is killing yourself the unpardonable sin? Does a believer go to hell if the end their own life? What principles can we learn about this question from the Bible?
One Second After Death
Like Lazarus and the rich man, immediately after death a person is in a conscious state. They understand at the moment after they die whether they are going to be judged and condemned to hell or they will know Jesus and be in His presence immediately.
The apostle Paul understood that to be absent from the body was to be present with the Lord as he wrote in II Corinthians 5:6-8: “ Therefore we are always confident and know that as long as we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we live by faith, not by sight. We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” In verse one of this same chapter he says, “For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.”
The understanding is that the moment one dies in the faith, they are absent from earth but immediately present with the Lord. Paul doesn’t qualify this with “but if we kill ourselves then we will not be present with the Lord.” In fact in verse 5 he says, “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” Thus, God is guaranteeing our delivery into the Lord’s presence. But if you are not born-again, then your fate, immediately after death is where the rich man was. He was in eternal torment being tortured by fire and was unable to cross over to the other side where God was (Luke 16:19-31). If you die without Christ, your fate is sealed. This is why it is so important that today you come to saving faith in Christ while it is still called today for no one has any guarantee that tomorrow will ever come (Heb. 4:7).
No Guarantees Apart from Christ
The rich man that died could never have any hope of going to heaven. When a person dies without Christ, they can not choose to accept to believe in Him then. It is too late. Those who think that they might commit suicide take a great risk; that is a risk of spending eternity apart from God.
If a person is not saved they will have to give an account for everything that they have ever done or said in their entire life (Rev. 20). They will stand guilty and be judged for eternity by God Almighty. Jesus can not help them then. If they commit suicide, they will also have to pay the penalty for murder; that is murdering their own selves. That will be a burden and everyone’s suffering in eternal torment is according to what they have done while alive on earth. After a person dies without Christ they know that they are going to be separated from God for all eternity; they will know this a split second after they die. Then of course, it is too late to repent and be saved.
A God-Given Guarantee
Once a person is saved, that is born-again, there is no way that they will ever be lost again. Not only that, they will not lose the reward of heaven and being in the presence of Jesus Christ. Here are biblical guarantees:
I Peter 1:3-5 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. “
Romans 8:38 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers…”
Ephesians 1:13-14, 4:30 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. “
II Corinthians 5:5 “Now the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”
Reflect on these words straight from the mouth of God since all scripture is God-breathed and inspired by God Himself (II Tim 3:16). God says about those who are saved that they are: sealed for the day of redemption, guaranteed for what is to come, promised that you are His possession, have a deposit for an eternal inheritance, an inheritance that can never perish! Wow…yes, believe it. God would not have you born-again only to abort you at the last moment. We are saved, as Paul says, that not even the demons, or an angel, anything in the future, past, or present, or even death itself could rob.
In Philippians 1:6 God says through Paul that “being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” God will complete what He has started. No matter what happens. And yes, this includes someone who takes their own life. Many biblical heroes have contemplated suicide: Job, Jeremiah, Jonah, and even mighty Samson.
A Loss of Rewards
In I Corinthians 3: 12-15, Paul relates that we can lose rewards but not our eternal life, as he writes, “If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.” Read any Bible commentary on these verses and it clearly shows that a Christian will receive rewards at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ. This is not to be confused with the Great White Throne Judgment in Revelation 20 where those who died without Christ are thrown into the lake of fire.
In I Corinthians chapter three, Paul speaks about some losing rewards due to carnal works that will be burned up. Each Christian will be rewarded by what they have done while on this earth; did they help the poor, witness to the lost about the gospel, visit someone in the hospital or prison, and so on. So even though a Christian can take their own life, they will not lose their eternal life. They will lose rewards yes, but not their eternal inheritance. Remember that if you were born-again, you are sealed with a promise, guaranteed an inheritance and God will complete in you what He has begun; even despite our own selves.
A Christian’s Suicide
I had a co-worker a few years ago who was a Christian. I did not know this when I first witnessed about the gospel of Jesus Christ to her. She had been demoted, was going through a divorce, had a debilitating disease and she finally was in so much emotional and physical pain that she ended her own life. After I witnessed to her she told me that yes, she was a Christian. She believed in Jesus Christ, that He was born of a virgin and was both God and man, that He died for her sins, and that she was born-again. She understood that she had eternal life and that she accepted in faith God’s free gift of grace. I believe with my whole heart, and from scriptural evidence of a saved person, that today she is in heaven and with Jesus Christ. I also believe that she likely lost some rewards in heaven. But she did not and in fact could not lose her salvation. That is good news.
Of course suicide is not a good way to end our earthly suffering. If you are in an extended state of depression, please seek immediate help. Anyone who is not saved and commits suicide is in serious trouble for they will have the wrath of God upon them at the Great White Throne Judgment Seat. If you find yourself in a serious, extended state of depression, seek professional help immediately. Please read this websites article called “Christian Depression Help – Biblical Encouragement and Advice” for more help. Go to the search column and type in “Depression” and it will bring up the article “Christian Depression Help – Biblical Encouragement and Advice”. Please read it. Don’t put this off. I pray that if you are not saved, you will know Jesus Christ today. Accept the free gift of eternal life. All you have to do is believe and acknowledge your sins before God. He will freely give you grace. It is just that simple. Do this right now and nothing can ever separate you from God…for all eternity.
Immediately after you die you will either be in Hell or Heaven. Believers, when they die, are absent from the body and present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:6-8). Eternal life is a guarantee and when a believer takes his own life he will lose rewards in Heaven, but he will not lose his place in Heaven. An unbeliever, when he dies, knows a split second after death that they are eternally separated from God (just like in the account of Lazarus and the rich man). After death it is too late to be saved. There is help for those who are contemplating suicide. Please seek help rather than death.
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