After recently reading my original blog, Suicide and the Bible, a reader kindly wrote,
I was reading your “Suicide and the Bible”..and I just have a question. I’m genuinely curious to know what you think about this. So you’re saying nowhere in the Bible does it say suicide will send you to hell. You did call it murder (of yourself) however, which is sin. We are supposed to ask for forgiveness for all of our sins, so what if someone commits this “murder.” And dies instantly and didn’t get the chance to ask for forgiveness?
Here was my response:
That is a very good – and common – question.
Fortunately, the Gospel makes it perfectly clear that, at the moment we profess our faith in Christ, we are redeemed, purchased by Christ’s blood, and seen, in God’s eyes, as 100% righteous and holy (2 Cor 5:17, 21).
The answer to your particular question comes down, actually, to a different (but related) question: Can a child of God lose their salvation?
Clearly, the Scriptures state we cannot. Paul describes our salvation as a gift: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” A gift is something we receive, not earn. And since we did nothing in our power to earn it (Christ, alone, earned it for us on the cross) there is nothing we can do to un-earn it, or lose it. In short, you will find no list of sins in the Bible that cause us to lose what was purchased for us by Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes the sin of un-confessed daily sin.
Further, Jesus uses the phrase, “born again”, to give us insight into this miracle called eternal life. It is significant that Jesus chooses to use this particular phrase. Consider this: regardless of how badly we may treat our parents, we can never not be their child. In other words, we can never be “un-born” as their children. Likewise, we can never be “un-born again” as a child of God. Our position in Christ is based on God, not us. And our heavenly Father’s grip on us is eternal; it can’t be undone. Read on…
Jesus continues this truth in John 10 where, speaking of “his sheep” (those who have, at some point in their life, professed their faith in him) says, “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.” (vss 28-29) In short, our eternity in heaven with God is as sure as God’s Word is sure.
Lastly, I am 100% confident that, when I breathe my last – whether it is by natural causes, or premature and unexpected as in an automobile accident – I will not have confessed every single sin I have ever committed in my screwed-up life. And I’m fairly certain this applies to every other Christian on planet earth as well. But, thank God Almighty that, like Paul, we can confidently say, “Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!…” (Romans 7:24-25)
Moving from the theological to the practical, a brief word:
There is another side of this issue that is not often enough addressed. That’s the issue of a medically diagnosed Mental Illness (a genuine misfiring of the brain’s chemical make-up; a form of insanity.) Information and data about the disease of Mental Illness is readily available from many reputable web sites such as the Mayo Clinic, the American Psychiatric Association, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness. When someone dies of cancer, we never question that a sinful – it wasn’t their fault they contracted cancer. Yet, there is a stigma attached to a person dying with a medically diagnosed Mental Illness. A person posted the following comment to one of my posts: “From a mental health perspective, depression is an illness. There should be no stigma attached to death from any illness. “
The great majority of people who experience a mental illness do not die by suicide. However, of those who die from suicide, more than 90 percent have a diagnosable mental disorder. This would mean they ultimately died of a disease. This issue can be fuzzy. But it’s definitely worth mentioning and deserves serious discussion.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick
FYI – I included the following at the bottom of my original blog, Suicide and the Bible. I include it here again.
NOTE: If you have been, or are, suicidal, please do not misconstrue my intent here by interpreting this blog as it being ok to take your life since the Bible clearly says, if you’ve professed your faith in Christ, you will go to heaven. Suicide is never the answer to one’s problems. I know from personal experience the devastation suicide has on a family and friends. If you are depressed and/or suicidal, get help immediately. Talk to someone – anyone. Help and hope are available in abundance. (Click here for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.) The sole purpose of this blog is to give peace to those of us who have been forced to live through this horrific tragedy.