Saturday, February 4, 2017

Will God forgive suicide?

What does God think about suicide? Will someone automatically go to hell if they commit suicide?  The Bible is clear that suicide does not determine one’s acceptance or rejection by God.  If an unsaved person commits suicide, he or she has done nothing but expedite journey to hell.  Unbelievers will be in hell for rejecting salvation through Christ, not because he or she committed suicide.

What does the Bible say about suicide? 
Five specific instances are mentioned in which people who committed suicide:  Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul's armor-bearer, who is not named (1 Samuel 31:4-6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), and Judas (Matthew 27:5).  Abimelech was described as “wicked” and was actually dying anyway due to an injury.  Zimri, who was described as “doing evil in the sight of the Lord”, was in imminent danger of being captured and killed.  He then burned the house he was around him.  Saul and his armor-bearer committed suicide in battle to avoid capture.  Some consider Samson to be a sixth instance of suicide (Judges 16:26-31), but Samson's goal was primarily to kill Philistines, not himself.  The Bible does not make any specific statements concerning suicide.  In Exodus 20:13, God commands His people, “You shall not murder.”  Self-murder could then be considered a sin.    

Can someone who commits suicide still be saved?
Since the Bible does not mention suicide directly, principles found therein will be applied to determine an answer.  Salvation is through faith alone, not through any good works (Ephesians 2:8-9).  So if no good works can help us attain God’s favor, will any evil deeds remove us from His favor?  God is the one “who forgives all your sins” (Psalm 103), not most or some sins.  And, John 3:16 does not distinguish categories of sins, but states, “whoever believes in him (Jesus) shall not perish but have eternal life.”  And, 1 John 1:7 informs us that “the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”  Not only is God’s forgiveness behaviorally comprehensive, it is chronologically comprehensive.  “When this priest (Jesus) had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins…by one sacrifice he has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.  Then he adds:  ‘Their sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.’  And where these have been forgiven, there is no longer any sacrifice for sin.” (Hebrews 10:12-18)  For those who believe in Jesus Christ for their acceptance by God, His sacrifice on the cross is sufficient for all sins, past and future. 
What about the unpardonable sin? 
The Bible states that God will forgive all sins except one, which Jesus mentions in Luke 12:10, “he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.”  This will be explained on another page, but as is evident in this passage, suicide is mentioned as the unpardonable sin.     

Can I lose my relationship with God?
Jesus states in John 10:28, “I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of my hand.”  Nothing can separate a Christian from God’s love.  Paul states in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  If no “created thing” can separate a Christian from God’s love, and even a Christian who commits suicide is a “created thing,” then not even suicide can separate him from God’s love.  The last message Jesus left with His followers in Matthew’s gospel was the promise that, “I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20) 

After examining the issues and Biblical references above, the main question remains: Why would someone contemplate suicide? Hopelessness? Depression? Feeling no one loves them? Too many problems? Seeing no way out? Revenge? Lost love?  Here are some things for someone thinking of suicide to consider.  God tells Jeremiah, “I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)  If God had good plans in mind for Jeremiah, then He does for each of us also.  In Romans 8:28, the Apostle Paul informs believers, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  A current situation may seem to be very difficult, but we can believe that God will work it out for our good. 

What if I feel like giving up?
Joseph was hated by his brothers, thrown into a well, sold as a slave, and imprisoned two years for a crime he did not commit.  Situations certainly did not look good for him, but after some very difficult times, Joseph told his brothers, “you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result” (Genesis 50:20).  Job had the worst things you can imagine happen to him.  But, after Job endured all the trouble, look at what God gave him:  “the Lord increased all that Job had twofold. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; and he had 14,000 sheep and 6,000 camels and 1,000 yoke of oxen and 1,000 female donkeys. He had seven sons and three daughters. In all the land no women were found so fair as Job's daughters; and their father gave them inheritance among their brothers. After this, Job lived 140 years and he died, an old man and full of days.”  (Job 42)

(Biblical references are from the NASB version.)

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