What Happens To A Christian If They Commit Suicide?

April 8, 2013 — 25 Comments
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In light of the recent tragedy that took place in which Pastor Rick Warren’s son took his own life, I have been bombarded by questions about what the Bible says about suicide.

First off, I want to extend my deepest condolences to Pastor Rick Warren and their entire family. I had the privilege of being in a wedding party along with Matt. He was super friendly and was a pleasure to be around with. We pray that the peace of Jesus that surpasses all human understanding would be with the family during this time. Death is not the end.

I also want to bring to light what the Bible says about suicide. As a pastor, my job is to tell you the truth about all things related to life – no matter how tough or unpleasant they may be.

Suicide In The Bible:

The Bible cites six specific instances in which people ended their life, by taking their own life – ultimately committing suicide:

  1. Abimelech (Judges 9:54)
  2. Saul (1 Samuel 31:4)
  3. Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4-6)
  4. Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23)
  5. Zimri (1 Kings 16:18)
  6. Judas (Matthew 27:5)

Five of these were wicked and sinful men. Not enough information exists to make a judgement call about the character of Saul’s armor-bearer.

One may consider Samson as a case of suicide. But upon closer inspection, Samson’s goal was to kill the Philistines, not himself (Judges 16:26-31).

What Questions To Ask?

The wrong question to ask is this:

Will the person go to heaven if they committed suicide.

The right question to ask is this:

Under what condition does a person not get admitted into heaven and is condemned to hell.

The Deciding Factor:

Whether a person commits suicide or not - this is not the deciding factor for their admission into heaven. If a person who is outside of Christ (not saved) commits suicide, there is no Scriptural support that they will end up in heaven. But that person who was unsaved and committed suicide will ultimately end up in hell for rejecting salvation through Christ, NOT because he committed suicide.

What Does The Bible Say About A Christian Who Commits Suicide?

From the moment we genuinely believe in Jesus, we are granted eternal life (John 3:16).

Those who are in Christ can without a doubt know and be assured that they possess eternal life (1 John 5:13).

Nothing can separate a follower of Christ from the love of Christ (Romans 8:38-39). If no “created thing,” can separate a follower of Jesus from the love of Jesus, and a follower of Christ is a “created thing,” then not even suicide can separate a Christian from the love of God.

Jesus died for all of our sins – past, present and future (Col. 2:13-14).

If a genuine believer, in a time of weakness and despair, commits suicide, that is still a sin covered by the blood of Christ.

I want to be very clear: Suicide is still a serious sin against God. It is wrong. It is sinful. It is a sin equivalent to murder (Exodus 20:13; 21:23). At the same time, it can be forgiven like other sin.

What Happens To A Genuine Believer If They Commit Suicide?

If a true follower of Jesus commits suicide, he or she will be received into heaven (Jude 24). One can choose to doubt the authenticity of an individual’s salvation who has committed suicide. But that remains between the individual and God. The Bible says that just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Heb. 9:27). God is the judge, we are not.

I believe there are no circumstances that can justify someone, especially a follower of Jesus, to take his or her own life.

Just like we do not determine when we are born – we also do not have the right to determine when we die. The decision for us reaching the finish line is God’s, not ours.

Why Would We Question The Authenticity Of Salvation Of Someone Who Commits Suicide?

The Bible is very emphatic about providing hope to those who follow Jesus and declare Him as Lord (Acts 24:15; Romans 5:2-5; 8:24; 2 Corinthians 1:10).

In addition, one who habitually ponders upon committing suicide, is practicing sin in their heart (Prov. 23:7). The Bible says that no one who is born of God practices or lives in, habitual sin (1 John 3:9).

Very often, the act of suicide occurs when the individual denies the fact that Jesus is Lord over their life and presumes to be the appointed lord over their own life, by taking their life.

Who will hear the words of Matthew 7:23 upon meeting Jesus is a question I cannot answer in this life – but it will be posed to some people, in their next life.

Why You Should Not Consider Or Commit Suicide:

No matter how difficult your situation is, nothing is impossible with Jesus (Luke 1:37).

No matter how many times you have been rejected or despised, Jesus identifies with you and loves you (Isaiah 53:2-6). Because Jesus suffered, we do not have to.

Because Jesus gave up His life to give us a life, we do not have to take our life.

Jesus endured everything so that you would not be led to despair, because of anything (Psalm 50:15).

No sin in your life is too great for Jesus to forgive (2 Cor. 5:17).

Jesus is able to repair your life, even if it is shattered to pieces (Isaiah 61:1-3).

Jesus will never reject you when you come to him with a broken spirit and a contrite heart. He will accept your prayer of repentance and grant you forgiveness (Psalm 51:12, 15-17).

In conclusion:

Is it possible for a true believer to commit suicide?

Yes, but I believe it is an unusual occurrence.

Is it possible for a true believer to go to heaven, if they commit suicide?

Yes (see above)

Is it possible for someone who is unsaved to go to heaven, if they committed suicide?

I cannot find any Scriptural evidence for this to be true.

Ultimately, it is not about people, but rather all about Jesus. People do not go to hell for being bad. They go to hell for rejecting Jesus and His gospel.

Conversely, people do not go to heaven because they were good. People go to heaven because Jesus was good on our behalf. Thanks be to the Holy Spirit who prompted us to realize this – that only Jesus is good. This happens not by any of our own work, will or exertion. We believe by grace through faith upon that old rugged cross where our Savior rendered to us our salvation.

Question: What have you been led to believe about suicide? Is this something that has hit close to home for you? What hope do you receive from the above promises that come directly from the Great Promise Keeper?

Bogdan Kipko

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Jesus follower, husband, coffee connoisseur. Filling your mind, to fuel your life.
  • Anonymous

    Thanks bogi

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Hope it was helpful.

  • Mariya Tolmacheva

    This question was on my mind ever since I heard about the news! Thanks for the post.

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Glad you found it timely –

  • Jarso Gollisa Roba

    May God bless you pastor, you fed my soul well with the Holy scripture written wisely on your majestic and informative posts. May God’s grace be upon you forever! AMEN!

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Thank you Jarso! May God bless you as well!

  • http://Twitter.com/meloch Meloch

    Great post!

    Another point is the story of Job who in my opinion had suicidal thoughts.. Even his wife suggested something like suicide, but we know the outcome of his challenge. It is a hard topic and not to underestimate the hardship and challenges of problems, but I think that if Jesus is Lord of our life, and we trust in Him.. Job is truly an example of the depth of human strength when our hope is in God..

    Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips. (Job 2:9, 10 ESV)

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Good point!

  • paul

    I used to struggle with suicidal thought. Thanks

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Paul hi — praise God that you said *used to — there is hope in Jesus — praying that this post solidified your faith in Him who gives life.

  • Pasha

    I think there are no excuse for people who commit suicide. I am not judging but in my opinion they would not inherit kingdom of God, just because they could not trust fully in God. God will not give them temptation more then they could overcome.

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Pasha –

      I agree with you about the first part: I believe there are no circumstances that can justify someone, especially a follower of Jesus, to take his or her own life.

      One can choose to doubt the authenticity of an individual’s salvation who has committed suicide. But that remains between the individual and God. The Bible says that just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment (Heb. 9:27). God is the judge, we are not.

  • Julie

    I think in Mathew’s case his emotional stability is under question, and depression might be a serious factor, if in truth, someone is suffering an illness mentally or has some chemical disbalance, it is different than a well functioning human choosing to commit suicide. I think that’s the deciding factor in this case.

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Julie hi — you bring up a good point — I do not have enough information to make any claims regarding that.

  • Andrew

    I think it is presumptuous to think if one commits suicide he or she automatically goes to heaven. Suicide is a murder, whether you take someone else’s life or yours.
    There is no warrant in the Bible that says you go to heaven when you commit suicide. On the contrary word of God warns us in 1 John 3:15 “no murderer has eternal life dwelling in him…” Rev 21:8 “but as for ..murderers, …their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire.” John 8:44 Satan was “murderer from the beginning” And who but not Satan would give someone thoughts to commit suicide. The person who commits suicide plays God and destroys the property of God, because our bodies do not belong to us, they are God’s. God gives us trials to shape us and he will not give us something we are not able to bear or beyond our means. So I believe it is very dangerous and presumptuous to think that person that commits suicide automatically goes to heaven. Again, God has final decision who goes where, it is not for us to decide.

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Andrew hi – I answer your questions in the original post. Also, I do agree with your last sentence in its entirety.

  • Sergey

    This world is not perfect. All mankind is imperfect.
    So do not be surprised that in this world there are suicides.
    The Bible mentions seven suicides.
    No one said suicide is not condemned.
    Simple statement of fact, and no condemnation of suicide.
    Judas Iscariot condemned for treason, not suicide.
    The sixth commandment “Do not kill” is, first of all,
    to deliberate killing of another person (the category of “love thy neighbor”).
    All suicides, without exception, God will judge, not the people poorly understood in mental disorders.
    Seeing God only knows Matthew Warren, everything from its conception and ending with his death.
    Judge – God Almighty.
    Strange, but Jesus did not say obsessed, who himself with stones (Mark 5:5).
    Although possessed could quite easily break up and die (suicide).
    Jesus healed the man. Who will heal people suffering from mental disorders? I’ve lived a long time in this world and not see healing from mental illness.

  • Anonymous

    What’s suicide? Doing something that might kill you. Well, did Christ commite suicide?

  • http://www.awaywithwordsblog.com Tony Roberts

    Pastor Bogdan, you speak God’s Word clearly on this subject and I greatly appreciate it.
    You speak the truth in love — with both passion and compassion.

    As a Christian with a mental illness who has unsuccessfully attempted suicide, however, I do have one comment for clarification. I agree there is sin involved in the decision to take your own life, and it is very serious. Many people who become suicidal however, are, quite literally, “not in their right mind.”

    Five years ago, while serving as a Christian pastor and deeply studying God’s Word, I nonetheless heard a voice I believed to be a divine invitation to kill myself. Within 17 minutes, I had swallowed two handfuls of pills. Fortunately, the one true God brought me back to life from the valley of death. Some people are not so fortunate.

    People with serious mental illnesses as I have are often more vulnerable to suicidal ideations, just like people with genetic heart conditions are prone to heart attacks. This does not excuse a person with a mental illness to freely act on the ideas any more than it gives the person with the heart condition to engage in destructive behaviors.

    Keep speaking the truth, Pastor. I pray you are blessed as you bless others.

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Thank you for sharing Tony and praise God for what He has done in your life!

  • http://getWhole.org Aaron Weinzierl

    Really good article – I’m stealing some of your thoughts for this tough question – I was actually reading it just waiting for you to get to the easy presumptive answer – ‘murder is sin or no murderer shall inherit’ arguments
    I actually believe a suicide is no more grounds for hell than someone dying in the middle of gossip or slander – it’s amazing the categorization of sins that humans make up :)

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Aaron hi, very true — go ahead and use this resource for sure!

  • adrienne

    I’ve tried tweeting your articles! The tweets only say the name and the author of the article. No link is provided.

    • http://www.kipko.net Bogdan Kipko

      Try to RT on Twitter — and I will take a look at the plug-in, thank you!

  • MK.TCK.Just.Me

    don’t even know how to start this one. i can definitely say that this one hits close to home for me. i was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, bpd, and recently a type of mild anxiety disorder. do i choose to think about suicide when i’m having a meltdown? the answer to that is no. but does it enter my thoughts everytime i feel like i’m losing my mind? he*k yes. have i tried to commit suicide when i’m having major panic attacks? in the past i almost did a few times but would always stop myself before even getting close to danger point. what always stopped me is the fear of going to hell if i did. Don’t know if being scared of God has always protected me from ending my life, but I am definitely trying to get help and trying to get better. Do I still subconsciously think about it during meltdowns? Definitely. But when I do, I always remember what my former best friend in jr. high told me to do – CALL SOMEONE. That’s exactly what I do.