Question: Can a person who commits suicide still go to heaven?
Answer: I would have to say the answer to that is, it depends.
I’m always a little afraid to answer this question, because I wonder if the person asking it is looking for permission to kill themselves. That is NOT the take-away on this issue. Let’s deal with a couple of issues that always come up.
Is suicide a sin? Yes, it is. Some argue using the sixth commandment, “You shall not murder” [Ex. 20:13]. Others argue or add that God is the one who gives life, and only he has the authority to take it away.
Is suicide the unpardonable sin? No, it’s not. The only unpardonable sin is that of utterly and finally rejecting God’s gift of salvation, found in Jesus Christ.
Which brings us to this question – can someone who commits suicide go to heaven? Yes, they can and will, if they have accepted God’s gift of salvation. Here’s what Jesus tells us in the Bible:
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned (John 5:24).
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life (John 6:47).
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day (John 6:39).
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand (John 10:28).
One of my favorite verses is Isaiah 49:16, “I have engraved you on the palms of my hands;…” Think of it as a tattoo, or perhaps as the scars from the nails in his hands. No matter what you do, you cannot take yourself out of his hands! That’s how secure your salvation is.
Which brings me to the other side of the “it depends.” Of course, if you have not ever accepted God’s gift of salvation, the work that Jesus did on the cross, then this assurance does not apply to you. If you commit suicide you will have in effect committed the unpardonable sin, because once you die it will be too late to change your mind. Please consider talking to someone right away to find out how you can become part of God’s family. If you do not have someone in your town you can talk to, call our office and ask someone to help you.
So, what is the takeaway? God is bigger than your problems. He has promised:
No temptation [or trial] has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. [1 Corinthians 10:13]
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. [1 Pet. 1:6-7]
We all go through bad times, even some really, really bad times. But God has absolutely promised that he will carry us through the hard times and bring us out the other side even better. The verses above were written to people who were facing some really terrible stuff. Just read what happened to some of the people listed in Hebrews 11, and you’ll know that their life was certainly not a cakewalk. But God asked them to trust him.
Why not trust him yourself? Don’t make an irreversible decision. Think about your family. Think about other solutions. Talk to someone. Get help. And remember that God has also promised that “surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” [Matt. 28:20]
In crisis? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org. This page is not monitored 24/7 and is not intended for crisis intervention.
With an understanding of today’s cultural issues, Christian theology and apologetics, dedicated John Ankerberg staff writers work together with internal and external scholars to provide real answers to the real questions asked by those wanting to know the truth about Jesus, the Bible and the Christian faith.
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