Saturday, October 6, 2018

Heaven and Suicide

Heaven and suicide

I have had to answer this question more times than I like, "Can a person make it to heaven if they commit suicide?"

In many traditional churches including two of the denominations I was raised both Baptist and Pentecostal, I was taught, if you committed suicide, you immediately went to hell.

Most suicides and suicide attempts are the results of severe depression and despair. I have been taught a man or woman of God ought never to suffer from such things, but the truth of God's word is a little different than that! Moses,(Numbers 11:10-15), Elijah, (1 Kings 19:1-5), and Jonah, (Jonah 4:9), went through periods of extreme depression and, yes, suicidal thoughts.

Two suicides in the Bible are quite famous Judas' and that of Samson Judges 16:30 Then Samson said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life."  Samson is listed in the hall of faith in Hebrews 11:32.

Please don't get me wrong suicide is wrong. Murdering of yourself or another person is wrong, and the murder of yourself through suicide is extraordinarily selfish*. It robs us of God's great plan for our lives. It leaves a wake of heartache for families to deal with all of the "what ifs." However, it is NOT the unpardonable sin.

Let me ask this question, "Did Jesus death on the cross take all of the sins of those who would believe on Him or just some of them?"

Here are a few verses to look at in answering this question

Hebrews 9:28 "so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many."

Romans 5:8,9 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.

Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

If we have accepted His sacrifice and have fellowship with him, Jesus’ blood on the cross obliterates all of our sins.

Here is a scripture that shares that exact idea Colossians 2:12-15

“When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions, 14 having canceled (obliterated) out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”

This is what Jesus did on the cross for all of us, who accept Him and enter into a relationship with Him

But how can someone who has a relationship with Jesus commit suicide? Allow me to answer that with another question, how can someone who has a relationship with Jesus lie, steal, gossip, be fearful, feel insecure, these too are all sins. Sin is merely missing God's perfect plan, and Jesus died on the cross for all of them. Our sins hurt any relationship whether human or with God but they never are able to stop God's love for us (Romans 8:35,38,39)

Once again, suicide is selfish, it shows a general lack of understanding of God's great love for us and trust in His plan for our future. However, the blood of Jesus has covered all of our sins, if we have a relationship with Him.

One more pertinent question, how do we gain entrance into heaven? Is it by our works? Is it by our being good enough? Let's look at what the Bible says. God saved you by His grace when you believed. You can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

 Ephesians 2:8-9  

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast."

We obtain heaven only by our belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior and the grace He pours out on us, not by our goodness or perfection. We go to hell only by our rejection of Jesus Christ as our Savior Hebrews 6:4-6

"For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame."

Our entrance into heaven isn't made because we are "good enough" but instead because we have a relationship with God the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ.

Once again no Christian should become so discouraged that they would even consider ending their own life, but we have seen that some big names in the Bible considered it. It does happen.

If you or someone you know is so anxious, depressed, fearful, overwhelmed that you or they would consider suicide, please don't go there. God's plans for you, despite how overwhelmed you may feel, are for your good and not your destruction. God is a God of hope, love, joy, freedom and He will liberally give all of this to you if you will but come to Him, give Him your pain, hurt, woundedness, your brokenness and allow Him to heal you, set your free, and give you a renewed hope. There is always someone who cares about you and your future, please talk to a friend, pastor, counselor and allow them to point you to a place of hope!

His love for you will overwhelm all of the hopelessness you can throw at Him, if you will only allow Him to do so, for you! He is the one who loves you the most, and it is for forever!

* a couple of people have gotten upset over my calling suicide selfish. I fully understand some suicide is induced through chemical imbalance and other things that seem beyond the control of the individual but does that make it any less selfish? If someone says an unkind word to you but they do not feel it is unkind does it make it any less unkind? I am addressing Christians in this article and as such, if you are a Christ follower that means your life is not your own and therefore to take your own life is selfish because of the effect it has on others and it is not your life to take.

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