For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
Questions, and the Answers From God's Word About the Christian and Suicide
Question #1: Can someone who proclaims that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Saviour take their own life such as in the act of suicide and still go to Heaven?
The answer to this question according to the Word of God is "no." The Bible is very clear that to have eternal life, you must believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. We are first told in John 10:27-29 that "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand" and later in I John chapter 5 verses 9 through 12, we are told "If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." In I John 3:15 it states "...and ye know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." which means just what it says, no one that commits a murder (which includes suicide) has a belief in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, and that means they could not have eternal life, and therefore it would not be possible for that person to enter into Heaven.
Question #2: Is killing one's self really murder?
The answer to this is yes. Explanation: God's Word tells us in I Corinthians 6:19-20 "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." These verses are telling us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit, that every one who believes in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour has the Holy Spirit of God living inside them. We are then told that our bodies no longer belong to us but they now belong to God Himself. The Lord's ownership of these bodies dates back to the cross where he paid for them, purchasing them with his blood. If this is the truth that is the Word of God, then how could anyone claiming a belief in Christ ever think that their bodies are theirs to kill anytime they want. Killing these bodies would make them a thief, stealing that which is not theirs to take, taking something which belongs to God. It would make them a murderer.
Question #3: Would there be any chance for forgiveness to those who would commit murder?
The answer to this question is Yes and No. Explanation: A person who commits a murder may after doing so, receive forgiveness by truly receiving Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour, but in the case of a suicide where the person dies instantaneously and has no time in which to ask for forgiveness and receive Christ as their Saviour, they are lost forever. There are no second chances for forgiveness and salvation once you are dead. Hebrews 9:27 very plainly tells us that "...it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
Question#4: Couldn't a person ask for forgiveness beforehand?
The answer here is no they could not. Explanation: As it was explained in question #1 "no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (I John 3:15). This means that no one can be forgiven beforehand. If you do not have eternal life you do not have Christ, and that means you are not forgiven.
Question #5: What about a person who is mentally Ill or has a disease that affects the mind, someone that killed themselves not through their own choice but because the illness has affected them to the point that they do not know what they are doing?
In this case the only answer here would be that in this type of situation we could only trust the Lord's judgment of the eternal outcome of this person.
Question #6: What was the belief of the early Christians about suicide?
I believe the answer to this question lies in the fictional story that was first published in the year 1678 A.D. In this story there are two of several fictional characters, one named Christian and the other named Hopeful who had been captured and were locked away in the dungeon of a giant called Giant Despair. In this story the giant had beaten the two severely and left them to suffer from their wounds. The giant's wife persuaded the giant to go to them and explain to the two men that they would be better off to take their own lives than to be a prisoner in his dungeon for the rest of their lives. He offered them three ways to take their own lives, with a knife, halter (rope), or by poison. This statement made by the character Hopeful is your answer, "Indeed our present condition is dreadful, and death would be far more welcome to me than thus forever to abide; but yet let us consider, the Lord of the country to which we are going hath said, Thou shalt do no murder, no, not to another man's person; much more then are we forbidden to take his counsel to kill ourselves. Besides, he that kills another, can but commit murder upon his body; but for one to kill himself, is to kill body and soul at once. And, moreover, my brother, thou talkest of ease in the grave; but hast thou forgotten the hell, whither for certain the murderers go? for no murderer hath eternal life, etc." The author of this book was a man called John Bunyan and the title of the book is The Pilgrim's Progress.
Question #7: What about the statement made by Jesus in John 15:13 "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."?
Answer: The act of self-sacrifice for the life of another is not an act of suicide. Suicide is a selfish act, done without any consideration to other people or the eternal outcome. The act of self-sacrifice that is spoken of in this verse is just that, caring and loving for someone so much that you would rather give up your life than for the other person to have to give up theirs. This is what Jesus did for the world by his death on the cross, He sacrificed himself so that those that would believe in him could live.
The following is a comparison of what different translations say in I Corinthians 6:19-20, and an excerpt from the Believer's Bible Commentary by William MacDonald:
Living Bible - "Haven't you yet learned that your body is the home of the Holy Spirit God gave you, and that he lives within you? Your own body does not belong to you. For God has bought you with a great price. So use every part of your body to give glory back to God, because he owns it."
Phillips Modern English - "Have you forgotten that your bodies the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and is God's gift to you, and that you are not the owner of your own body? You have been bought, and at a price! Therefore bring glory to God in your body."
Jerusalem Bible - "Your body, you know, is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you since you received him from God. You are not your own property; you have been bought and paid for. That is why you should use your body for the glory of God."
King James - "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
Believer's Bible Commentary - "Again Paul reminds the Corinthians that theirs was a holy and dignified calling. Had they forgotten that their bodies were a temple of the Holy Spirit? That is the solemn truth of scripture, that every believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God. How could we ever think of taking a body in which the Holy Spirit dwells and using it for vile purposes? Not only is our body the shrine of the Holy Spirit, but in addition, we are not our own. It is not for us to take our bodies and use them the way we desire. In the final analysis, they do not belong to us; they belong to the Lord. We are the Lord's both by creation and redemption. Here the latter is particularly in view. His ownership of us dates back to Calvary. We were bought at a price. At the cross, we see the price tag which the Lord Jesus put on us. He thought us to be of such value that He was willing to pay for us with the price of His own precious blood. How greatly Jesus must have loved us to bear our sins in His body on the cross! That being the case, I can no longer think of my body as my own. If I am to take it and use it in the way I desire, then I am acting as a thief, talking that which does not belong to me. Rather I must use my body to glorify God, the One to whom it belongs."
The following is a comparison of what different Bible translations say in I John 3:15:
The Living Bible - "........and ye know that no one wanting to murder has eternal life within."
Phillips Modern English - "........and you know that the eternal life of God cannot live in the heart of a murderer."
Jerusalem Bible - "........and murderers, as you know, do not have eternal life in them."
The King James - "........and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in them."
Godís death penalty (Living Bible):
Romans 1:29 -32 - Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, fighting, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They are forever inventing new ways of sinning and are disobedient to their parents. They refuse to understand, break their promises, and are heartless and unforgiving. They are fully aware of Godís death penalty for those who do these things, yet they go right ahead and do them anyway. And, worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too.
What the Bible says about the Christian and suffering (Living Bible):
II Corinthains 4:8-18 - "We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed and broken. We are perplexed, but we donít give up and quit. We are hunted down, but God never abandons us. We get knocked down, but we get up again and keep going. Through suffering, these bodies of ours constantly share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be obvious in our dying bodies. So we live in the face of death, but it has resulted in eternal life for you.
But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, "I believed in God, and so I speak."
We know that the same God who raised our Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself along with you. All of these things are for your benefit. And as Godís grace brings more and more people to Christ, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are quite small and wonít last very long. Yet they produce for us an immeasurably great glory that will last forever! So we donít look at the troubles we can see right now; rather, we look forward to what we have not yet seen. For the troubles we see will soon be over, but the joys to come will last forever.
I Peter 4:12-18 - Dear friends, donít be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. 13Instead, be very glad-because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world.
14Be happy if you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you. 15If you suffer, however, it must not be for murder, stealing, making trouble, or prying into other peopleís affairs. 16But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his wonderful name! 17For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin first among Godís own children. And if even we Christians must be judged, what terrible fate awaits those who have never believed Godís Good News? 18And
"If the righteous are barely saved, what chance will the godless and sinners have?"
A Final Note:
There are many people who just do not want to believe that a loved one who has taken their own life will not be in heaven, and there are many people, teachers, and pastors who will try their best to twist and stretch the Word of God so they can make another person feel better about a bad situation. You will be told "it does not matter how you die as long as you're right with the Lord, that is all that counts." Is this the council we should give to another person who thinks taking their life is all that is left for them, or should we tell them the truth about Hell and eternity? Christians, while talking to people about salvation through Jesus Christ, use the words "what if you are wrong and I am right about Jesus Christ?" Would it not be better to spend eternity in heaven with Christ than an eternity in Hell? Well I think this same question applies to the question of the Christian and suicide. "What if you are wrong and we are right?". Are you willing to gamble with your eternity? John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
Please note: We are only followers of Jesus Christ, and not counselors. If you are having thoughts about suicide we would ask that you seek help from your Pastor or a professional counselor.
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Site last modified: 06/22/06