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Do Christians Who Commit Suicide Go To Heaven?

Posted by Ray Carroll | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 08-04-2013

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Do Christians Who Commit Suicide Go To Heaven?

cxsuicRecent events have brought this ques­tion to the fore­front again. It’s a ques­tion that, as a pas­tor, I was asked pretty fre­quently. The fact that this ques­tion is on the minds of our peo­ple should let all of us — pas­tors, con­cerned mem­bers, church lead­ers — know that it needs to be addressed and that a clear answer is needed.

I’m going to give an answer that I feel strongly about. But it’s not enough to feel strongly about it, it has to be con­nected to Scripture.

Let me start with this — I know that many peo­ple feel that Chris­tians who com­mit sui­cide do end up eter­nally pun­ished by God. With­out men­tion­ing denom­i­na­tions or reli­gions, they have a rea­son they feel that way. Their argu­ments are their argu­ments. It usu­ally has some­thing to do with the per­son com­mit­ting a very seri­ous sin with­out repen­tance or con­fes­sion or chance at confession.

The prob­lem is that there is no direct ref­er­ence to sui­cide and the fate of Chris­tians who com­mit it.

So, here’s my hum­ble posi­tion. It comes to you from a man who believes in Sov­er­eign grace, a man who was for­given by God of adul­tery, a man who was res­cued by God from the depths of sin and under­stands what mercy and grace are.

I also want to say that this topic should always be approached with love and gen­tle­ness. Lis­ten, if you are of the belief that Chris­tians who com­mit sui­cide spend eter­nity sep­a­rated from God and some­one who just lost a loved one to sui­cide asks you about it — do us all a favor and just show some love, grace and com­mon sense. I’m not telling you to tell them what they want to hear. But there is grace to be had in a kind response of, “We can always trust God to do what is right.” And that answer includes, “Even when my the­ol­ogy is wrong.”

I like to anchor my argu­ment in John 10:27 – 30, where Jesus is speak­ing of His fol­low­ers: “My sheep hear my voice, and I sheepknow them, and they fol­low me. I give them eter­nal life, and they will never per­ish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

When we belong to Christ, we are His. He takes us into His hand, we do not per­ish and we also belong in the hand of the Father. I’m not even going to address those who want to say, “Does that mean we can sin how­ever much we want after we are saved?” No. Of course not.

There are Chris­tians who sin. I did. I fell. There are a lot of Chris­tians who sin but God does not give up on us. He didn’t give up on the believ­ers in Scrip­ture who fell. The heroes we find in the Old and New Tes­ta­ment who sinned were cov­ered by Christ. God picks us up. He loves us in spite of our sin.

I sup­pose the oppos­ing argu­ment is, “If we can’t repent, then we die in our sins.” No dice on that one, friend. I sup­pose if while I was liv­ing in adul­tery with­out repen­tance, I would have died in my sin. I would guess that most of us could be caught in some form of sin dur­ing the day and that it is unrepentant.

Christ died to jus­tify us. He stood in our place. For all of our sin. Oh, but not for sui­cide, right? Not for an uncon­fessed sin we had at the moment of our death. I don’t accept that.

He died so that we didn’t have to live under such judg­ment. We are to live a holy life, absolutely. But if sui­cide is the one thing that can do us in, even after we are secure in Christ, then why did He die? What was the cross for? Did He die for our sin or not?

Yes, He cov­ered the sins of Chris­tians once and for all.

It is a tragic thing that some believ­ers get to a point, whether because of depres­sion, men­tal ill­ness, or cir­cum­stance, that they feel sui­cide is the only way out. But it is not the end of their life.

If you know some­one who is suf­fer­ing, think­ing about sui­cide, con­tem­plat­ing it, giv­ing away their pos­ses­sions, show­ing strange or seri­ously depres­sive behav­ior, chase after them. Get them help. Ask for help. Prayer is awe­some. Pro­fes­sional help and ask­ing oth­ers for inter­ven­tion is tremen­dous and necessary.

_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​_​

Fur­ther helps:

Deal­ing With Sui­ci­dal Thoughts & Feelings

How To Help Some­one Who Is Suicidal

National Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion Lifeline

Help For Teens — My Friend Is Talk­ing About Suicide

One quick note about Judas — I agree with the major­ity of com­men­ta­tors that he never was a true fol­lower of Christ. He never bought into Jesus as Mes­siah and he was the betrayer. There­fore, his demise and ulti­mate sep­a­ra­tion is not evi­dence for every­one who com­mits suicide.

cxsuicRecent events have brought this question to the forefront again. It’s a question that, as a pastor, I was asked pretty frequently. The fact that this question is on the minds of our people should let all of us – pastors, concerned members, church leaders – know that it needs to be addressed and that a clear answer is needed.

I’m going to give an answer that I feel strongly about. But it’s not enough to feel strongly about it, it has to be connected to Scripture.

Let me start with this – I know that many people feel that Christians who commit suicide do end up eternally punished by God. Without mentioning denominations or religions, they have a reason they feel that way. Their arguments are their arguments. It usually has something to do with the person committing a very serious sin without repentance or confession or chance at confession.

The problem is that there is no direct reference to suicide and the fate of Christians who commit it.

So, here’s my humble position. It comes to you from a man who believes in Sovereign grace, a man who was forgiven by God of adultery, a man who was rescued by God from the depths of sin and understands what mercy and grace are.

I also want to say that this topic should always be approached with love and gentleness. Listen, if you are of the belief that Christians who commit suicide spend eternity separated from God and someone who just lost a loved one to suicide asks you about it – do us all a favor and just show some love, grace and common sense. I’m not telling you to tell them what they want to hear. But there is grace to be had in a kind response of, “We can always trust God to do what is right.” And that answer includes, “Even when my theology is wrong.”

I like to anchor my argument in John 10:27-30, where Jesus is speaking of His followers: “My sheep hear my voice, and I sheepknow them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.

When we belong to Christ, we are His. He takes us into His hand, we do not perish and we also belong in the hand of the Father. I’m not even going to address those who want to say, “Does that mean we can sin however much we want after we are saved?” No. Of course not.

There are Christians who sin. I did. I fell. There are a lot of Christians who sin but God does not give up on us. He didn’t give up on the believers in Scripture who fell. The heroes we find in the Old and New Testament who sinned were covered by Christ. God picks us up. He loves us in spite of our sin.

I suppose the opposing argument is, “If we can’t repent, then we die in our sins.” No dice on that one, friend. I suppose if while I was living in adultery without repentance, I would have died in my sin. I would guess that most of us could be caught in some form of sin during the day and that it is unrepentant.

Christ died to justify us. He stood in our place. For all of our sin. Oh, but not for suicide, right? Not for an unconfessed sin we had at the moment of our death. I don’t accept that.

He died so that we didn’t have to live under such judgment. We are to live a holy life, absolutely. But if suicide is the one thing that can do us in, even after we are secure in Christ, then why did He die? What was the cross for? Did He die for our sin or not?

Yes, He covered the sins of Christians once and for all.

It is a tragic thing that some believers get to a point, whether because of depression, mental illness, or circumstance, that they feel suicide is the only way out. But it is not the end of their life.

If you know someone who is suffering, thinking about suicide, contemplating it, giving away their possessions, showing strange or seriously depressive behavior, chase after them. Get them help. Ask for help. Prayer is awesome. Professional help and asking others for intervention is tremendous and necessary.

_________________

Further helps:

Dealing With Suicidal Thoughts & Feelings

How To Help Someone Who Is Suicidal

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Help For Teens – My Friend Is Talking About Suicide

One quick note about Judas – I agree with the majority of commentators that he never was a true follower of Christ. He never bought into Jesus as Messiah and he was the betrayer. Therefore, his demise and ultimate separation is not evidence for everyone who commits suicide.

Comments (2)

Great post. I would guess that some of the sentiment against people who commit suicide not going to heaven also stems from the fact that many people think that people think depression (I would guess the leading cause of suicide) is because of sin so therefore they assume the person is steeped in sin and not truly a believer. I have heard arguments to this to this effect and like you say, in love you can always point them to the Grace of God and His wisdom and mercy in dealing with issues of the mind that we really do not know much about.

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