Suicide and the Christian
If a Christian commits suicide do they still go to Heaven?
By Dr. Ken Matto

(Exo 20:13 KJV) Thou shalt not kill.

One of the most plaguing questions in the world of Christianity is the one concerning suicide and the Christian. The question is, “if a true born again Christian commits suicide, can they still go to Heaven? “ Normally this question always elicits an immediate but emotional response and that response is normally “no they don’t!” Do we accept answers based upon emotion or do we accept answers based upon the Bible? I think that every Christian can agree that we must take our answers from the Bible?
This article is not endorsing suicide among the Christians or any people groups in the world, it is only for exploring the question concerning the relationship between suicide and salvation.
What is Suicide?
Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines it as: Self-murder; the act of designedly destroying one's own life. To constitute suicide, the person must be of years of discretion and of sound mind.
2003 Merriam-Webster defines it as: the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind
Suicide is when a person ends their own life. It is called the act of self-murder.
Suicides in the Bible
In the Scriptures there are seven recorded suicides:
Ahimelech - Judges 9:52-54 - He wanted his armor bearer to slay him because a woman hit him in the head with a millstone and he did not want it to be known that he died by the hands of a woman.
Samson - Judges 16:25-30 - He died taking the lives of thousands of Philistines in vengeance for blinding him. He knew that when he pushed the pillars of their building, that he would die too.
Saul - 1 Samuel 31:3-4 - Saul was hit by arrows and did not want the Philistines to slay him and then abuse his body, by maltreating him or mocking him. He asked his armor bearer to kill him but he would not, so Saul fell on his own sword.
Saul’s Armor bearer - 1 Samuel 31:5 - He saw Saul was dead and probably feared that the Philistines would do to him what Saul feared they would do to him.
Ahithophel - 2 Samuel 17:23 - He had partnered with Absalom in his rebellion against his father David. Now the counsel of Ahithophel was not being followed because in verse 21, David had found out that Ahithophel counseled against him and he knew the writing was on the wall, so he took his own life.
Zimri - 1 Kings 16:15-20 - A wicked king who burned himself to death in the king’s house because he knew the city he was in was taken.
Judas - Matthew 27:3-8 - Judas is probably the most famous suicide in the Bible if not history itself. Judas was despondent because he had betrayed the Lord Jesus Christ and instead of seeking the Lord at that time, he instead allowed his emotions to dictate his action of suicide.
Out of this group of seven, there was only on believer in there and that was Samson. (Heb 11:32 KJV) And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Samson is listed in Faith’s Hall of Fame. Now because suicides are listed in the Bible does not mean that God in any way endorses them.
Religious Suicides
I want to list here two religious suicides because they are not Christian suicides. Christianity is not a religion, it is a living faith. These were in the news so they would be somewhat familiar to many.
1. Jonestown, Guyana - 918 people committed suicide on November 18, 1978. These people were following the dictates of their leader Jim Jones who was not a Christian.
2. Heaven’s Gate - It was headed up by Marshall Applewaite and Bonnie Nettles. On March 26, 1997, 39 members committed suicide in hopes that a UFO was going to take them off the earth.
These types of mass suicides have nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity. These groups were headed up by people who had superiority complexes and had mind control over their people. They were not crazy, just totally deluded by Satan. Now let us turn to the matter at hand and see if a Christian still gets to Heaven even after committing suicide.
What Happened At Salvation?
Salvation is an eternal watershed event in the life of those who have become saved. Now let us look at why that is so.
How Were We Saved?
The first thing we must ask is how were we saved? The Bible is very clear on that issue. We are saved by grace and not by works.
(Eph 2:8-9 KJV) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: {9} Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Eph. 2:8-9 make it very clear that we were saved by grace and not by works. These verses are very commonly used but I don’t think that many Christians really get the significance of them. They are normally used very casually. The strong message in these verses is that we are saved by grace, which is God’s work from beginning to end. Salvation is not of works, which means not even the slightest work counts toward salvation.
(Titus 3:5 KJV) Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Even if it were possible to do righteous works while still a sinner, it would not be by righteous works but only the washing of regeneration. We receive the washing, not do the washing by works. If it was possible to become saved by works, how could the Apostle Paul have become saved. What was his works prior to salvation? It was killing Christians and destroying the church. These would hardly qualify for works that one would use to merit salvation. So what was the result for Paul. He was on the road to Damascus for the purpose of destroying the church which was there and the Lord overshadowed him on the road. Remember what the Lord said unto him, “Paul, your works of killing Christians and destroying the church have been good enough to warrant salvation.” Well, the Lord did not say that.
(Acts 26:13-18 KJV) At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. {14} And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. {15} And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. {16} But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; {17} Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, {18} To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
The Lord made Paul a minister of the Gospel and a witness to the Gentiles. Paul’s ministry was based upon the Lord saving him and giving him that ministry. If you notice, there was nothing said by the Lord concerning Paul and his life as a Pharisee. Paul’s good works as a Pharisee played absolutely no part in the equation of salvation. Now if the Apostle Paul was saved by grace alone without any works from the law, then we too are saved the same way. You can even ask the question. What works did the thief on the cross do before he became saved by Jesus?
(Luke 23:39-43 KJV) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. {40} But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? {41} And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. {42} And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. {43} And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
The thief on the cross did nothing to become saved because he couldn’t. He was near to death as Jesus and the malefactor was. Here too is a beautiful picture of grace without works and it should not be gone over very lightly because this gives a wonderful picture of workless salvation.
So to summarize, works do not play a part in obtaining salvation. It is only by the electing grace of God that a dead sinner is brought to spiritual life. We are dead in sins and can do nothing to regenerate ourselves. It has to come from the outside. Did Lazarus in the tomb raise himself or was he raised by the Lord Jesus Christ from outside the tomb? Lazarus was raised through no work of himself and here too is another wonderful picture of grace of someone being brought to life without them having a part except to receive it.
The Effects of Salvation in Christ
Now since we have established that salvation comes only by grace, we must now look at what grace accomplishes in the life of the believer. In this section we must deal with the sin issue. It is the issue of forgiveness of sin and the removal of those sins from the soul of the Christian.
(Psa 103:12 KJV) As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
In Psalm 103:12, we have an action from God concerning the sin situation in the believer’s life. According to this verse, God had removed our sins as far as the east from the west. East and west never meet on this globe. If you went north, all the way to the north pole, you would eventually be going south, so south and north do meet, but not east and west. The word “removed” carries with it the meaning of “far distant, or separated.” So what this verse is teaching, is that God has separated us from our sins. To be separated, something must be removed and that is our sins. He removed our sins and made our souls clean and holy at the point of salvation.
(Col 2:13-14 KJV) And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; {14} Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Blotting out - Wipe out or obliterate
Handwriting of ordinances - The crimes of the criminal written and placed at the location of execution
Contrary - Against or hostile to
Out of the way - Away out of the midst or middle
Death is basically separation and Paul is reminding the Colossians that they were dead in sins and that meant they were separated from God plus they had not received the circumcision made without hands as spoken of in verse 11. (Col 2:11 KJV) In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: They were still subject to the fallen nature which was the sin-laden nature. Then as a result of God’s salvation, God had taken His Elect and made them alive unto Him. We were made alive with Christ. (John 5:21 KJV) For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will.
The next part of this verse is of the utmost importance. Since Christ has made us alive, He has forgiven us all our trespasses. This means that every sin that any believer has committed, or will commit in the future has already been paid for. There is not one sin which is held to the account of any believer. Those who claim that a person can lose their salvation have no understanding of the fact that every single sin of the believer has been forgiven. If every sin has been forgiven, then what could possibly keep us out of Heaven? These same folks claim that our future sins could keep us out of Heaven. Let us ask a simple question. Where were you when Christ went to the cross? You were not even born yet which means ALL your sins were in the future. It also means that ALL of those sins have been paid for and this means your soul is completely clean, with not one blemish.
Paul continues the great emancipation of the believer. Christ has forgiven every trespass of the believer and here we are told that all our crimes, our sins, were completely obliterated. The hand writing of ordinances was the crime or crimes the prisoner was guilty of. The ordinances which the believer was guilty of was the violation of the law of God. We broke every law, even if we broke only one. (James 2:10 KJV) For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. So here the law became our enemy because it openly showed us that we were guilty of breaking God’s law but when Christ went to the cross, He had fulfilled the demands of God’s righteous law and because we were in Christ, being baptized unto His death, we were found not guilty of the violation of God’s law. As Col. 2:14 puts it, Christ completely obliterated the charges against us, so never again will the believer ever have to come into judgment for any sins. The verse further states that Christ took those charges against us away from us, out of the midst, that is, the sins no longer prevent fellowship with God and with other Christians. It goes on further to state that He nailed it to His cross, which means the law is totally dead to us in the area of accusations and violations because Christ paid for every single violation of the law that the true believer would ever commit. There would never be even one violation of the law which could ever affect our salvation and our purity of our souls because of Christ’s total effectual sacrifice.
(Heb 8:12 KJV) For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
(Heb 10:17 KJV) And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.
(Isa 43:25 KJV) I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.
(Jer 31:34 KJV) And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Here we have four verses, two from the Old Testament and two from the New Testament. When God lists a teaching four times, He wants us to make sure that we understand well what is in view. The teaching that God is emphasizing is that those who become saved, their sins are a thing of the past and God promises that He will never remember those sins again. This means that not only have our sins been removed from us and taken out of the way, it also means that God will remember our sins and iniquities no more. In Isaiah 43:25 above, the words “that blotteth out” in the Hebrew also carry the meaning of “destroy or wipe away.” Salvation is not just forgiveness of sins, but it is the removing of them and the forgetting of them by God. This is how thorough the believer’s salvation is.
Suicide and the Christian
Let us now return unto the subject of this article. We have already assessed that suicide is murder. It is the murdering of oneself but nevertheless no matter who the victim is, whether yourself or another, it is still murder and it is a sin. Now a person who has been truly born again in the Lord Jesus Christ has experienced what we discovered and that is total forgiveness of all sins, both past and future, then God removed all those sins from the soul of the Christian making the soul clean and holy before Him, God then chose to forget all our sins because they were paid for by Christ.
If a truly born again Christian commits suicide in a moment of despair or even if they plan it, since all their sins are forgiven, including the future ones, then if they do commit suicide, they are still going to Heaven. Murder or self-murder is not an unforgivable sin. (Exo 2:14 KJV) And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known. Exodus 2:14 states that Moses killed an Egyptian. Moses committed murder and was forgiven for that sin. It does not matter who the victim is, whether self or another, murder is a forgivable sin and if a Christian does commit suicide, then that sin was also paid for by the Lord Jesus Christ and will not prevent entrance into Heaven.
Since all the sins of the true Christian have been nailed to the cross, taken out of the way, removed from us, and forgotten by God, there is no sin that can keep the Christian out of Heaven and that includes suicide. Either the atonement of Christ was total, or it was partial. If the atonement was partial, then there is not a saved person either today or in history, and there never will be if we have to rely on works, even for 1% of our salvation. 99% salvation equals no salvation.
(John 11:26 KJV) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
(Isa 43:13 KJV) Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?
(John 6:37 KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.
(John 10:28 KJV) And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Based on these four verses, what can keep a Christian out of Heaven? NOTHING! You can do no work to gain salvation and you can do no work to lose it!