In our day, we often hear Christians say things like, "..my friend committed suicide, but I'm sure he was a Christian so now he's in heaven with all his mental pain and anguish gone." But is suicide the universal "pain-killer" that so many professing Christians seem to think that it is, or is this just the wishful thinking of those who mourn the departed? The unpalatable truth is, none of us can be absolutely sure that anyone (beside ourselves) is a true Christian. The cliche of someone wearing their heart on their sleeve is a colloquialism, not a truism. The only one who truly knows the heart of man is God (Jeremiah 17:10). Despite our human suppositions, desires and beliefs, exactly who is a true Christian only God knows for sure. And indeed that is "His business," not ours. We judge not, for it is not given to man to know the true state of anyone's heart (1st Corinthians 3:12-13). We look on the outward and preach the gospel, and that is good enough. But God looks upon the inward man, not on the outward appearance of things. He is able to discern between soul and spirit, and between joint and marrow. He ponders the heart (Proverbs 24:12) and knows it's intents, no matter how cleverly man may cloak them in outward piety, righteousness or benevolence. So while we might define suicide with euphemistic synonyms, the truth is that it is the act of intentional killing. And the scriptures declare we should not shed man's blood in taking human life, for it is the sin of murder.
"Thou shalt not kill."
Can a Christian commit suicide, when suicide is the act of murder? In suicide one exalts themselves to the position of God, who has the power to give and to take life. It is the act of deliberately forsaking God's command, "thou shalt not murder." There is really no plausible way of getting around the fact that suicide is willful killing, and God declares murderers shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8), which is the second death. But of course, this is the part that no one wants to hear about.
Nevertheless, I don't think that this is really the question at issue here today. For the sake this paper, we will assume that most all "faithful" Christians believe that suicide is sin. The real question at issue today is:
"Can a Christian commit suicide?"
Or rather, more accurately put, can a professed Christian that kills himself, have been a true Christian? I believe the appropriate Biblical answer is, "yes it's certainly possible, yet given all that God has to say, it's also not likely." That certainly is not going to be the popular answer in the politically correct atmosphere of today's churches, but it is an honest and Biblically sound answer. And these type answers are hard to come by these days.
How Do We Know It's Possible They Were Saved?
Can Christians who commit suicide be saved? Yes! We know it's possible because all of the sins of God's Children were accounted for in Christ's "finished" work on the cross. Therefore, if a true believer (the keyword being, true) were to somehow get to the point where God (for His own purposes) abrogated His normal way of strengthening and upholding Christians in time of trial allowing him to lose all hope so that they did somehow commit suicide, then that sin would surely not keep them out of heaven. Because "all" the sins of the elect were paid for in Christ Jesus. No sin that a true Christian could commit could keep him from the love of God. But the key phrase is "if God were to abrogate His normal way upholding and strengthening Christians." But that is a big "if," because what would possibly lead us to think that God would do that?
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee;"
God does not leave nor forsake the true Christian in time of despair. On the contrary, He is our strength and help. Yet the typical justification for people defending suicide is to ask, "what about Samson? Did Samson commit suicide?" The truth is, God gave Samson the extraordinary strength to accomplish His purposes in this feat, and Samson gave his life that judgement would be accomplished. His life truly was entirely in the hands of God, and his death was to bring vengeance on the enemies of the Lord. Samson was a chosen vessel used in the "purpose of God" to get this done. Remember, Samson 'asked God' for strength to do this. Not for strength to kill himself, but to take vengeance upon these Philistines for what they had done to the Lord's anointed. In God granting his prayer, Samson would indeed die, but not for hopelessness, despair, faithlessness, sadness, depression or monetary ruin as is the case in suicides. Samson died for the glory of God, and how is that in any way related to the acts of suicide today?
"And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."
In prayer He left his life entirely in the hands of God. In faithfulness and righteousness he prayed to God for miraculous power to bring down judgment on God's enemies declaring, "Let me die with the Philistines." In other words, He knew that in bringing down the bricks upon these Philistines he would die, but the judgement of these ungodly was God's purpose, and thus to him more important than his life. He was asking that his death might be used to bring glory to God in this great judgment of the Philistines. And that is exactly what happened as this episode stands for all time as a testimony to the glory of God, not the despair in suicidal tendencies. It's an important distinction to make and to understand that this is not the mindset of those contemplating suicide today. Their mind is not one set on bringing glory to God, but one of faithlessness and hopelessness. God forbid Samson should be placed in that category. Samson is mentioned in Hebrews as one of the heroes of faith. Samson died after praying God's strength to accomplish this act as he carried out God's will on the Philistines. He did not jump off a bridge in despair or slit his wrists in hopelessness. In Samson's prayers God was glorified, and Samson is remembered for all time as a hero of faith. If we were to irrationally take the Samson story out of context as evidence that Christians normally fall into despair and commit suicide, then we would have to effectively throw out all the rest of the Bible. Yet proof texts of scripture, taken out of context, are "Pretext!" God Himself ordained this story to bring glory to His name, and not so one could look at it as justification to commit suicide. The Lord didn't abandon Samson, God was there giving him the strength to accomplish his task to His own Glory. He died more as a solder or warrior in battle carrying out the will of God in bringing judgment upon God's enemies, not as mentally unstable man in despair contemplating suicide. Moreover, the whole historical event is also a spiritual pattern painted by God illustrating a "deeper spiritual truth." In Samson having his eyes put out, being brought down to Gaza (being interpreted meaning stronghold), being bound with brass chains, and having to grind in the prison house, this is all as a spiritual picture to illustrate captivity in Satan's house. This is a whole other Bible study in itself. Suffice it to say that this story in no way, shape or form has anything to say addressing the issue of suicide. It's like comparing apples and oranges. Yes, they are both round, but that is where the similarity ends. Samson did not take poison hemp, he did not throw himself off a mountain, or take knife to his own throat. He died glorifying God, and God honored his prayer for justice. Contrary to popular belief, his prayer was not for suicide (a vain prayer), but for justice in God being avenged on his enemies. No God didn't give him strength to kill himself, God gave him strength that he would kill more philistines in his death, than he had in his life (Judges 16:30). Thus God's purpose would be fulfilled through this act. This act in no way either defends suicide, or proves that Christians commit suicide. Suicide is not the trait of the faithfulness found in the believer. Would the Spirit of God inspire us to think about suicide, or is it the spirit of the antichrist that scriptures tells us was a "murderer" from the beginning? Thus it should be no surprise he sifts the weak as wheat to commit such. The fact is, genuine faith and trust in God and suicide, do not go hand in hand.
"And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee."
These aren't empty words or vain platitudes that really have no Christian significance, they are words to live by. And we must believe that a true Christian has faith, has trust and has hope in Christ. Nevertheless, "if" a true Christian should in a instant of weakness decide to drive his car off a cliff, or shot himself, that instant of bad judgment would certainly not keep him out of the Kingdom. Because true salvation means that all of his sins were forgiven, and being faithful to scripture, understanding the sovereignty of God, and the doctrine of eternal security, we can come to no other conclusion. But that is a big "if!" So while I certainly would have to agree that it is theoretically possible for a true Christian to commit suicide and have been saved, I would also offer the caveat that God is not mocked, even though as humans not discerning the hearts, we are mocked routinely. I also would have to ask, "what would ever make us think that God would abrogate His care over the elect in time of trial to allow this hopelessness and despair, without solution and resolution?" Certainly nothing that I have ever read in scripture would lead me to believe that.
"I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
Again, these aren't just empty words, they are faithful promises to those who trust in God. And those who truly trust in God would be the true Christians. If the promises are true, then we have to honestly conclude that committing suicide would be an extremely unlikely (if not near impossible) occurrence, since it is God who works within us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Of course as finite human beings in the flesh (in our human emotions, desires, and will) we cringe when we hear something like this, as we don't want to think of people, friends, or our loved ones as possibly not having made it into to the Kingdom. Nevertheless, the word of God is not as silent on the issue as some would like to believe. And ultimately, we have to surrender our will to the authority of God, confessing, "Thy will, not mine, be done!" So, can a Christian commit suicide? Yes, but it is highly improbable.
How Are We So Sure It is Unlikely
It's really a simple matter of believing "everything" that God declares about salvation, and not allowing our own emotions, biases and feelings to cloud our thinking.
"Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts."
We can convince ourselves that anyone is saved, particularly after they have died. But God looks deeper than the emotionalism and will of man. It goes without saying that we would all like to think that our loved ones, personal friends and acquaintances who have died are in heaven and will not come under judgement. It's just human nature for people to want to believe that. In fact, whenever anyone dies the assumption is "nearly always" that whoever it was, no matter what he did in this life, is somehow going to a better place. Funeral services are by default pastoral sermons that might be entitled, "salvation by death." But as an old song goes, "it ain't necessarily so." It is best we resign ourselves to the truth that it is the few, not the many, who are truly saved. Who they are and their state in the afterlife is God's business. We leave justice in the hands of the Lord, who does all things perfectly. Let the dead bury the dead, we attend to the living. The right thing to do is to simply "surrender" to the authority of His word in relation to this issue. i.e., in our hearts we ultimately pray that, "Thy will be done in all things O' Lord, not mine."
"Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God: thy spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness.
Quicken me, O LORD, for thy name's sake: for thy righteousness' sake bring my soul out of trouble."
Can Christians commit suicide? Yes! But do Christians commit suicide? There are many things people neglect that must be considered when evaluating this issue. The first being, a true believer is indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God. That's no small thing to be ignored here. People like to think that people become so depressed and distraught that they see no way out, and so finally kill themselves. But that conveniently presupposes that God is busy elsewhere, or just dwelling there within that person (assuming they're Christian) idly twiddling His thumbs, not helping and not doing anything to prevent their hopelessness. Even many learned theologians have fallen into the snare of underestimating the working of God within us.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."
God is omnipresent, he's not off doing dishes on the other side of the world while Christians fall into despair and kill themselves. He has promised that he would strengthen us, help us, and not leave us in despair.
The second point here is, suicide would clearly illustrate that the person has forsaken trust in the Lord and has lost faith. Faith is supposed to be the "evidence" of true salvation. It's the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. In faith we take refuge from trials and tribulations "in Him," not in despair. He is the help of those who have faith, and faith is our strength.
"Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."
"Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield.:"
And the third point is that a great many of these suicide victims have been told by (possibly well meaning) Christians ahead of time that, "..while it's not good to commit suicide, people are going to heaven anyway if they're Christian." While this is technically true, it is also a careless and reckless thing to tell anyone who is contemplating suicide. Especially since in their obviously unstable and emotional state, they are highly impressionable. But this is done continually by many Christians under the guise of compassion or "not scaring" them. Murder is a horrible sin, and it should not be spoken of as anything less. There is no word suicide in the bible, it is called taking life or unlawful killing. We call it murder. If someone were to ask a Christian:
"..If I go kill my next door neighbor, would I go to heaven?"
Not one of them would answer, "..while it's not good to commit murder, you are going to heaven anyway if you're a Christian." That's technically true also, but it is also giving a false impression of Christianity. And that is exactly what some people do to those contemplating suicide. Sure, they couch or phrase their words in the fine print of, "but you really shouldn't," yet this is hardly the counsel a Christian should be giving. They're really playing situation politics, where their human compassion clouds the central issue. Is it possible a Christian will kill himself? Yes, it is possible, but it is not only unlikely, it is "very" highly unlikely given all that God has to say in scripture. And that's what they never tell them, because they don't want them to lose hope (if you can believe that). Considering all that scripture says on the issue, faithful Christians should give no one a cozy place to feel comfortable in killing themselves. Because in doing so, you do God (and them) a grievous disservice.
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.."
Show them their responsibility, rather than their futility. Show them their duty, rather than paint an unnatural picture of their demise. Show them their future, rather than their failures. And show them that as "true Christians," their eyes should be on the Lord, rather than upon themselves. Because history, as well as statistics, reveal that ninety-nine percent of suicide victims are simply feeling sorry for themselves. Even though today most are blessed far above the average person in the world, they still somehow feel sorry for themselves. This is because they have taken their eyes off Christ, the central figure in Christianity, and placed them on themselves. It is in this pride and vanity that their thoughts are always, "Poor me, why is this always happening to me?" or "why can't I do better?" The faithful Christian minister should counsel them on where the real problem lies. Perhaps the problem is that it really is, "poor Me!" Perhaps their real problem is spiritual riches that they need to acquire.
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent."
As many as God loves, He rebukes and chastens. And that is what the Church today fails to do. They fail to address the real problem, which is that these "professed Christians" have made themselves the central figure and primary reason for their existence, and not Christ! How is that evidence of true salvation? How are they then destined for the Kingdom when they die? We must exhort them to take their eyes off themselves and the cares of 'this world' and put them on Christ. If they do this, their depression will always lesson because you cannot feel sorry for yourself when you're not thinking of yourself, but others. When we lift our hands in prayer and put our minds on Christ (if He indeed be present within us), He will be our help, our strength, and our refuge in time of weakness, if we pour out our heart before Him. But who is this whom the Lord is not the Rock of their strength?
"In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."
"That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;"
There is this intangible within us that is "the mind of Christ," and by it we should understand that we cannot be depressed about something that we are not thinking about. And if we can't stop thinking about it, then what does that say about being in bondage and a slave to what we ought not? But if we take the Biblical principles (something which the Church today has forgotten in their leaning toward social and psychological gospels), we will have our minds on more righteous things than ourselves. Sadly, most theologians today give out secular and humanistic advice, and teach their own personal philosophies about suicide, as opposed to Biblical counsel. But are we going to care about the things of this world, or make the Lord the central figure for solving our problems?
"Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
God says be careful [marimnao], meaning anxious, about nothing. We are instructed not to be mindful about all these things. In other words, we are to take our minds off of it and not worry about it. The worries of this world, its wealth, our position in this life are not what the "New Life in Christ" is all about. We give it all up in surrender to become the bondservant of the Lord. We are to do what God commands us, and He will give us all that is necessary that we have peace of mind.
"Where God guides, He provides!"
When God says, "think on these things," and "the God of peace shall be with you," it's not just words blowing in the wind to placate us, it's divine unadulterated truth. His words only seem without power when professed Christians ignore the scriptures and begin to give and take advice based upon what seems right in their own eyes rather than what God provides for. If we're true Christians, then we must do it God's way. That means that we do not think on ourselves, or our lot in life, or on all our troubles. We think on the things that God prescribes as whatsoever is Good. Not "poor me, what can I do about poor me," rather we think on, "what can I do today to better serve God." God has promised that if we do, His Peace of mind will be with us. Do we believe it, or do we (as unbelievers) believe that these are, "..just words?" If we think words are cheap, then what makes us think that we are true believers to start with? That is the real question? Just as a friend of mine once declared in a discussion:
"I suppose the question would be whether or not God would allow a believer to commit such a sin. I would tend to think not, but I don't know.."
His was an excellent point. We don't know for sure, but judging from all the Biblical texts, we 'do know' that it is highly unlikely. And so to tell someone that they're going to heaven if they commit suicide (and believe me when I tell you, many do say that) is at best a misnomer. For it assumes far too much. A Christian committing suicide is like dismissing God's promises and retorting that God has put more on me than I can bear in this life. That of course is a direct contradiction to what God has promised He would not do. And it's just another example of scriptures that are constantly ignored in favor of humanistic reasoning.
1st Corinthians 10:13
"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will NOT suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
These are the pertinent scriptures that are often avoided by those who substitute psychology, humanism, and philosophy for Biblical counsel. We can understand (though not condone) that grieving loved ones' neglect such verses, but theologians counseling potential victims surely should know better. God says He 'WILL NOT' put upon Christians more than we are able to bear, but only what is common to mankind. That is an 'unambiguous' and clearly written promise, and who is man to call that an overstatement? Who is man that he ignores that promise in his desire to comfort others? Is God a faithful (truthful) God who will not suffer Christians to be tried [peirazo] above what they can bear as He said, or is God someone whose words are untrustworthy and essentially empty? Again, that is the question for the 'serious' Bible Christian. Can we be brought to the very brink of suicide, and God withholds us from committing it? Absolutely! There are lessons to be learned in all our trials. We magnify Christ in our body, whether it be by life or by being martyred in death (Philippians 1:20), but we can be assured that killing ourselves in suicide does not magnify Christ. Rather it shows a lack of faith, trust and strength in him. It doesn't illustrate that we are not our own, it illustrates that we think that we are our own.
1st Corinthians 6:19-20
"What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."
No one can coherently defend a position that killing yourself is glorifying God in our body. On the contrary, praying for deliverance from these type despicable thoughts, and trusting that God will provide all the help that we need is what would be glorifying to God. If you are looking for an excuse to have a clear conscience in committing suicide, then that very fact shows that you contemplating a willful, premeditated act of sin against God. This in itself is evidence of an unchristian spiritual condition. Christians will survive suicidal tendencies by doing either of two things. 1.) They can 'reduce' their mental anguish by laying it down at the cross and leaving it there; 2.) they can 'increase' their ability to cope by strength of Christ in prayer and supplication, placing our eyes upon Him and not themselves. They can take the burden off of themselves by laying it upon Christ, or they can attempt to carry it on their own shoulders. The problem is that so many Christians burden themselves in trying to deal with this alone, or without Christ, who is our help. Each Christian person has the potential to give something to this world, and not one is without value. Even those who are maimed, crippled, mentally deficient, or lying in a hospital bed unable to do anything. God works miracles through the faith of such people, even in others, in ways they may not even be able to imagine.
"O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!
For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?"
Faith in Christ is an integral part of being a true Christian. And that is what we must not lose sight of, nor minimize in our sorrow or compassion. The light of the body is the eye. So let us exhort them (as Paul did) to keep their eyes on the prize, for this world is not our comfort zone, it is a way station. Often in a person's depression, they forget that this is not our home and we are just strangers and pilgrims here, just passing through. As Christians, we have a job to do and we weren't promised a rose garden in doing it. Indeed what we "were promised" was trails, temptations, tribulations, reviling, being hated, and persecuted (John 16:33, Luke 6:26).
2nd Timothy 3:12
"Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
So it should not be, "woe is me," it should be "blessed am I." God said blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you (Matthew 5:11). We take up our cross and we follow him. And whosoever won't forsake all for the sake of Christ, is simply not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37-38). Because in our weakness are we made strong in Christ. These are the things that Christians of our day seem to have forgotten. Their first Love (agape) is to charity, which is the sharing the gospel message with their neighbors. Our weaknesses are not what we despair over, but what we joy in.
2nd Corinthians 12:10
"Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
God says He won't put upon us more than we can bear, but will with that trial make a way for us to escape that we can bear it. True Christians know that this is a divine truth because God said it, and they believe it. Period! There are many who call themselves Christian who don't really believe that (though they'll never admit it out loud), but then where is their faith, their evidence of true salvation? There is no opt-out suicide clause in the gospel of Christ. And I cannot comprehend how the Holy Spirit of God that was sent to reveal, guide and be a comforter to us, could guide us without moving us to where He wants us to go. Seriously, even a guide dog moves the blind to safety, does he not? God is much more careful of those under His care than a guide dog. And to make the claim that God does not take that kind of action within Christians is to ignore all the pertinent scriptures that clearly say that He does.
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
For it is God which worketh in you "BOTH" to will and to do of "His" good pleasure. That Greek word translated do [energeo] is the exact same word that is translated "worketh" there. It means being active, or the one effectually moving us. It's where we get the word "energy." God is telling us in no uncertain terms that He is not an idle passive God, He is a God who works within us and is active moving us "both" to will, and to do (work). That's not what I say, and it's not my humanistic philosophy, that's what the divine God inspired written here. If we're going to ignore all the passages of scripture that we don't like, of course we can believe anything that seems right in our own eyes. We can then come to any unbiblical conclusion if God's word is not the supreme authority. But if we're truly seeking truth and looking to what God wills and declares, then all scripture must be taken into account when formulating doctrines.
2nd Timothy 3:16
"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
There are studious theologians who understand these things, but who respond by saying that we can't take this type view because we all "lack trust" in the Lord sometimes. This may be true, but are we to use our own weakness as justification for sin? Just because someone did not trust in the Lord at sometime doesn't equate to, "Christians commit suicide and are still saved." We may have not trusted in the Lord at some time in our life, but we didn't kill ourselves, did we? And the question is, why not? It was by the Grace of God, that's why not! Because we are the temple of God, and God works within the true Christian "both" to will and to do, that's why not. And that is what some people cannot seem to comprehend. God is not idle in all this. We do not reach that point of total despair precisely because of the Grace of God to 'keep' His faithful promise, and not put upon us more than we can bear. Either that, or God was not truthful when He promised that He wouldn't. So again, who are we justified in believing? Psychiatrists, philosophers, new age seminary graduates, or the word of God?
"God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged."
This world (and I'm talking about the professed Christian world) is so enamoured by their own sense of piety, and perceived ability to solve every problem by thinking it out themselves, that God and His word has become as an afterthought. Things are always about me, or I, or what I do, what I did, What I can't do, how I chose God, How I must move because God won't force me, etc. But the 'I' is the real problem here. It always has been. All is vanity saith the preacher. The truth is, trust and faith in the Lord to carry out His promises are not insignificant ideas. It's an essential part of true Christianity. As we read in Psalms 62, it's reiterated all through scripture.
"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
"Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies."
"Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip."
God watches over our steps and will not let our feet slip. These are the things that faithful ministers of the word tell Christians. Not because they seek to appease them, but because they are true. They don't counsel them that they can murder themselves, show that they have no hope, have no trust in the Lord, and still be saved. That's not preaching "peace, peace, when there is no peace." A Christian committing suicide is forsaking His God and mocking His word and commission. He's throwing in the proverbial towel. In essence he's saying, "I'm tired of the work Christ has given me to do in this world, and I quit!" That's not cruel to say, it's the truth. Often, he has never even been working for Christ in the first place, merely parroting the line that "he is a Christian." But the evidence of a true Christian is that he doesn't faint in well doing, he endures. If we lack these little evidences of true Christianity, what makes us think that we are true Christians?
2nd Corinthians 4:16
"For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day."
Renewed day after day because Christ dwells within us. Does He abandon us and fail to renew us when we need it most? God Forbid! That may be the implication in many theologians' words, but it is not according to scripture. He will never leave nor forsake us. Is that truth now become a meaningless phrase because of the importunity of those grieving? As true Christians we wait upon the Lord, we do not throw up our hands in despair, we endure in trial specifically because of the strength of Christ within us. What does the true Christian then have? Does he have belief in renewed strength, or unbelief.
"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
Hopelessness, being distraught to the point of murdering oneself, these are not the evidences of a true Christian, they're the evidence of one who has very little (if any) faith, and a shallow relationship with Christ. It's the evidence of those who have taken their eyes off Christ, that is to say, if they ever had them there to begin with. These are those who have run and become weary, and who have walked and faint. Those who have not mounted up with eagle's wings, nor waited upon the Lord. It is those who have sank low in deep despair and have given up all hope. We cannot in all good conscience ignore these things for the sake of saying things that people want to hear. Truth is the light of illumination that inspires change, but without truth there is darkness.
"Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:"
Are we not compassionate in this? For true compassion is in exhorting repentance for sin and the joy in turning away from error. It's not in speaking in deceit smooth things in order to be acceptable or received.
"Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby."
This is the mind of Christ, this is the reaction to truth by those who have the Spirit of God working within them. Suicide is not justified, it is condemned for the sin that it is. There are even those who will use terminal illnesses to elicit sympathy and confuse the issue. They feel that by bringing up the relatively small group of people who kill themselves because they are physically in tortuous pain, they can feel justified. But even in that, they do ignore the fact that the Christians of old endured much more tortuous pain (they did not have today's drugs). Moreover, they endured literal torture by men far greater and yet would not waver in their faith one inch from the Lord? Choosing rather to be tortured to death, than to say a few words that would save their very lives, or at least bring to an end their torture? Are we to cast this strength in those faithful Christians as an aberration, and the weakness of these Christians who commit suicide as evidence of salvation in Christ? I don't think so! To do so denies all that God declares He will do for us, and it demeans all that the Church that has gone before us has endured. When we lose hope, we loose our anchor. How then are we abiding in Christ? Of all people, professed Christians should know that better than anyone else.
"Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;"
All these scriptures concerning hope, trust and strength mean nothing to those who choose to ignore them. But to faithful Christians, we know that hope as our anchor is sure and steadfast. We know that to lack this hope, is to be without faith of Christ. Because being without hope effectively means that we have no anchor that grounds us. We have nothing to hold us firmly, just as a ship without anchor is not held from drifting into troublous waters. The question is, can we pretend a ship has an anchor, that has no anchor? Shall we tell Christians without any evidence of faith and hope that they are safe and secure? God instructs us to make our calling and election sure.
2nd Peter 1:8-10
"For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:"
God doesn't say that a person that lacks diligence, godliness, faith, virtue, knowledge, patience, and is not partaking of the divine nature is secure because they have said, "I am a Christian." On the contrary, true Christianity produces evidence of Salvation. Can a Christian commit suicide? Hypothetically, we must say yes, that is certainly a possibility. But is it really likely that they were saved? We must Biblically say, probably not. Because the Lord watches over His people so that they "endure trials" and tribulations, and has appointed us to times wherein we must "fight" the good fight and not faint.
2nd Timothy 4:5-8
"But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
He that cannot endure the trials of life, what evidence is there for him to believe that he has been given the Spirit of life to discharge his duty faithfully? Yes, I know this essay won't be received well by many Christians, because it lacks "common" grace. But that's just it. Grace is not common. And truth is not politically correct, popular, commercial, or progressive. It's the same old fundamental basic principles of abiding by the word of God that has stood the test of time, and is not qualified by what society thinks. I'm sure some, without comment on the Biblical, will think this paper is at best, heartless or cruel. Others will chalk it up to my ignorance of the so-called suicide victims, "as if" some mysterious other person was responsible for killing them. For we live in a world where placing responsibility for actions upon those who commit the action, is somehow deemed irresponsible. Yet I learned long ago is that while the truth often hurts, it is through the pain of truth that man most often finds out what sort of creation he is. Are we recreated in Christ, or are we still of the old man, our own authority? What we do with truth will often demonstrate our true spiritual condition.
There are many reasons society says people commit suicide, but it generally falls into one of seven reasons.
They want to hurt someone.
Life is work, so being tired of living, they think this will bring rest.
They are depressed and see no real purpose to life.
Money was their god, thus losing it they lose basis of their faith.
Their heart is broken and they want sympathy (the old, 'they'll be sorry when I'm gone,' thinking).
They want to end their emotional, mental or physical pain.
They are deluded by antichrist into thinking death is a panacea.
The sad thing with most suicides is that the person contemplating it is normally thinking irrationally and may even be delusional. In other words, he or she is in a mental state where they think that there is no hope. They think they have a problem or problems that are totally different than the problems that most of us face. But there is no such thing as a problem that is uncommon. There are no problems too difficult or terrible for the true Christian to bear up under. If there was, God would take it from us because He has "faithfully" promised that (1st Corinthians 10:13). The problems that Christians have are "common" to man, not something that God put on us that we cannot bear. God is watchful and cares for His people.
1st Peter 5:7
"Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
All we have to do is lay that problem at the feet of our Saviour and leave it there. But that is the rub. Many do not "really" want to lay it down because they get some satisfaction in feeling sorry for themselves. It's, "Why Me Lord," or "Poor Me," or "I give up." Their crutch is to declare self righteously that everyone else, "just doesn't understand," as if they are the only ones who can ever feel deep despair, or be despondent, or feel as if there is no hope. These are everyday problems common to man, but the Christian should overcome them in Christ. Feeling sorry for ourselves means it's not our fault, or we're not strong enough, or we're not smart enough, etc. These are crutches, the truth is there is no problem that Jesus cannot carry for us and help us to deal with it. The big lie that is believed by these souls, that is told them by family and even by the Church, is that in death they will be in peace. If they really were unsaved (as their action would give evidence they were), then they are not at peace, they have simply moved locations to soon be confronted by a different hell than the one they imagined on earth.
"And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:"
Self-murder doesn't normally appoint one to peace, but to judgement. When we leave this earth in death, the only thing left for anyone not enduring in Christ is to wait in silence for the day they must answer to God for what they have done their body. That would include the last act of murdering yourself. Once dead (and unsaved), your actions go with you as your sins cannot be purged, they are irrevocably attached to you.
"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"
Many people call themselves helping, but are actually hurting these souls, because they are judging by what seems right in their own eyes rather than by scripture. The spirit of antichrist is the father of lies. He is that same spirit telling people that their life is not worth living. Certainly we cannot think that it is the Spirit of God putting these thoughts in their head? This is the deceiver that is convincing people that the best thing for them is death. The greatest deceivers are those who tell people whatever they want to hear. If you are sad, feel all alone, or suffering he will tell you death will bring you relief and a better life. If you think that money is the rule by which men judge success, then he'll tell you without it you are worthless and disgraced, and death will take that shame away. If you are tired or weary, then he will tell you that death is the rest where all your problems will disappear because god will understand why you murdered yourself. But it's all a lie. And many of the Church feed right into this lie in "parroting" the line that those who killed themselves are in the kingdom of heaven just because they were members of a Church. This is like saying, if you are saved and are still practicing homosexuality, you will enter heaven. A true statement, but a misleading statement. Or if you are saved, and are still prostituting yourself, you will see the kingdom of heaven. Again, a true statement, but also very misguiding and misleading. Because the evidence of true salvation is a new life, a new desire to do the will of God and not your own, and a new love of obedience and repentance. The evidence of a changed life in Christ is not that we go jump off a bridge. That is evidence of someone who has no faith and no hope, not of someone who possesses the hope and faith of Christ. It is the Devil that calls upon the weakness of people to murder, but it is God who strengthens the true child of God in their suffering. Humanistic reasoning, carnal empathy, and common emotionalism have little to do with God's truth. The Bible is the authority, and as believers we must resist the temptation to judge by what seems right in our own eyes. The child of God, by the Spirit of God, is to be alert to avoid the pitfalls of life by "knowing" Satan's devices.
1st Peter 5:8-10
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."
Christ not only authors or establishes our faith, but is the finisher of our faith. He completes us and will not leave us or forsake us in time of trouble. Those who commit suicide have, for all intents and purposes, declared that Christ has left them and they are without strength. But would Christ abandon us when Satan tempts us to take our lives? On the contrary, when Satan tempts us Christ is our bulwark, our fortress, and our strong refuge from such attacks. It is Satan, not God, who encourages such thinking of tempting God in suicide. e.g.,
"And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:
For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
Shall we then tempt the Lord God as Satan attempted to get Christ to commit suicide by throwing Himself off a mountaintop? God forbid! Yes, it is written God protects us. No, that does not mean we can throw ourselves off a mountain and think ourselves saved. i.e., we cannot tempt the Lord our God. And that is exactly what those who contemplate suicide are doing. Testing God. Rather, we must be strong in Christ, sober, and vigilant, because in Him we know our adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour. We resist him steadfast in the faith, not accepting his evil offer of tempting the Lord God in killing ourselves. Would we ever want to bet our eternal soul on a roll of the dice? God forbid!
In conclusion, the ultimate answer of the question "Can Christians who commit suicide be saved," is left to God. For the state of the souls of men and women after they die is not really the business of those in this life. The Lord is judge those who have passed on. Our Christian work is to "tend to the living." And to the living we say, all evidence is that a 'true' Christian will not commit suicide. And therefore anyone contemplating suicide should look at themselves honestly in the mirror. For it may possibly be evidence that you are not truly saved at all, and therefore still under the wrath of God. Let every soul contemplating suicide think hard on these things. Let them ask why they would abandon God because of hardship? We are sent with a mission and it's not over until God Himself calls us home. It's not over when we decide we don't want to live anymore, because (supposedly) God has placed upon us more than we can bear. This is a direct contradiction to His Promise. He is our Strength, not our burden. If we have a burden we cannot bear, it's because we have not laid that burden down at the feet of Christ. And to be sure, how can one carrying his own burden, get into the Kingdom of Heaven?
May the Lord who is rich in mercy and compassion grant us the ability to see the truth of His holy word, and strengthen us to overcome, when we are in dire straits.
"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."