(If you are thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, the Suicide Lifeline network is available 24/7 across the United States, please call 988 or 1-800-273-8255)
Within days of my husband’s suicide death, people started to give me their opinions of where my husband would spend eternity. Yes—they really had the boldness to tell me that my husband would spend eternity in hell because of his choice to take his own life!
These comments were based on the wrong theology. The circumstances of his death were horrific enough without the voice of others amplifying the tormenting questions that were already flooding my heart and soul.
I am confident that if my husband had a saving covenant relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, nothing—not even suicide—would
separate him from God and His love. If he was united with Christ, he was saved by grace and not by his own works of righteousness or
lack thereof, and the blood of Jesus Christ is able to cleanse him and keep him.
Willfully terminating human life is a sin. Many seem to question whether it is unforgivable, automatically condemning the offender to an eternity outside of the presence of God. The short answer is no, absolutely not, based on the Word of God. Suicide can evoke intense theological discussion. Fortunately, most religions today do not teach that death by suicide will automatically send one to hell, although this merciless thought persists in the minds of many. Sadly, some grieving people have turned away from God as their ultimate source of comfort because of this misguided belief which generally follows this line of reasoning:
(1) Murder is acknowledged as sin; (2) Suicide is self-murder; (3) Suicide is the last action of the person committing it, so (4) the suicide victim goes into eternity unforgiven and therefore is automatically eternally lost. This may follow a certain logic, but it reaches an unscriptural conclusion. The truth from God’s Word is that eternal salvation is not based on our works but on the work of Jesus Christ.
Scripture confirms this truth:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but so that the world might be saved through Him” (John 3:16-17 NASB).
But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness. . . Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account” (Romans 4:5 and 8 NASB).
“Even when we were dead [slain] by [our own] shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ. – He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him. [For] it is by grace –by His favor and mercy which you did not deserve— that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together—giving us joint seating with Him—in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus, the Messiah, the Anointed One.
He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable (limitless, surpassing) riches of His free grace (His unmerited favor) in kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus. For it is by free grace (God’s unmerited favor) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation) through [your] faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves –your own doing, it came not through your own striving— but it is the gift of God; not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. –It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.
For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them—living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live. (Ephesians 2:5-10 AMPC).
We are saved by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, and there is nothing we can do to contribute to the saving process. A person who genuinely knows Christ as Savior cannot, by a single act, annul the covenant of God to save his eternal soul. God declares ungodly people righteous by their faith in Christ, and Jesus saves to the uttermost all who draw near to Him by faith (Romans 4:5; Hebrews 7:25). If we are saved by grace through faith apart from works of the law, the evil deed of suicide cannot undo what God has done for one He has made a son or daughter by faith. If we truly belong to Him, we cannot separate ourselves from Christ by any sin.
God’s Word teaches differently from those who believe suicide is a sin that separates one from God:
“What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? Who will bring a charge against God’s elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-37 NASB).
It is foolish for any person to declare that they know what transpired between the victim and God in the minutes or split seconds before they slipped into eternity. No one knows how God may reveal Himself to the person in that moment. The scriptures plainly teach that those who call upon the name of the Lord Jesus will be saved. It is not in the hand of any human to declare they know with certainty the future of any suicide victim without knowing what took place between God and that individual in their final moments.
It is vital that we acknowledge that salvation is promised to those who believe in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ to forgive their sin. The same God who made that promise also said that those who reject the sacrifice of His Son will perish. It is a serious matter. Even though suicide is a forgivable sin that will not separate one from God if they have this saving relationship with Him, choosing death over life is a sin with far-reaching consequences.
The real tragedy of suicide is believing Satan’s lie that choosing death is better than trusting God in life.
“I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. Plans designed for each person by the Lord Himself. Plans to bring each person to a good end and not a disastrous one. Plans which can be disrupted and never fulfilled because of a human choice to surrender to deception. Eternal salvation is not based on our works but on the work of Jesus Christ. The choice of suicide will not keep one from eternity with the Lord if he/she places his/her trust in the blood of Jesus Christ.
Sin is sin, each with its own set of consequences. Suicide is just that—a sin—but not an unpardonable, forever separating sin. The consequence of this sin deeply impacts others, possibly for their lifetime. As stated in The Seduction of Suicide, Satan is often involved in the decision against life because his mission in this world is “to kill, steal, and destroy.”
If you struggle with depression or thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. We want you to know and experience the truth that Jesus came to give life abundantly!