If a Christian commits suicide, is he still forgiven?

This might seem like a perplexing question, but it does have an answer. Though the Christian who has committed suicide has committed a grave sin, he is still forgiven. But, in order to understand why a Christian who commits suicide is forgiven, we first need to understand what salvation is and what it is based upon.

Salvation is the state of being saved from God's judgment upon the sinner. The only way to be saved is to trust Jesus for the forgiveness of one's sins (John 14:6, Acts 4:12). All who do not trust Jesus alone, by faith (Rom. 5:1; Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9) are not forgiven and go to hell when they die (Matt. 25:46; John 3:18). When Jesus forgives someone, He forgives all their sins and gives them eternal life; and they shall never perish (John 10:28). He does not give them temporary eternal life--otherwise, it would not be eternal.

Salvation is not based upon what you do. In other words, you don't have to obey any Law of God in order to become saved. This is because no one is saved by keeping the Law of God (Gal. 2:21; Rom. 3:24-28). But that does not mean that you can go and sin all you want. Rom. 6:1-3 expressly condemns such action. Instead, we are saved for the purpose of purity (1 Thess. 4:7). Our salvation is strictly from God: "By grace through faith you have been saved . . . " (Eph. 2:8). Other than acting by faith in trusting and accepting what Jesus did on the cross, you don't do a thing (John 1:12-3) in order to become saved. Since you did not get your salvation by what you did, you cannot lose it by what you do.

What about the unforgivable sin? Is that suicide? No. Suicide is not the unforgivable sin. Jesus spoke of the unforgivable sin in Matt. 12:22-32. The context is when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil. Therefore, suicide is not the unforgivable sin.

Is repentance necessary for salvation?

This is a good question, and the answer is yes--and no. Now, before you throw stones, hear me out. Repentance is a necessary result of the saving work of God--not the cause of salvation. If repentance brought salvation, then salvation is by works or rather, the ceasing of bad works. That isn't how it works. God grants repentance to the Christian (2 Tim. 2:25). The Christian then turns from his sin; that is, he stops sinning. He is able to repent because he is saved--not to get saved.

In 1 John 1:9 it says, "If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Confession of sin and its natural result of repentance are necessary elements of the Christian's life. But, what about the sins that we do not know we commit? If we do not confess them and do not repent of them, are we still saved? Of course we are! Otherwise, we would be forced to confess and repent of every single sin we ever commit. In effect, we'd be back under the Law--living by a rule of absolute repentance of every detail lest you be damned. This is bondage--not freedom. Jesus said His yoke was light--not hard (Matt. 11:27-30.

So, repentance is not the cause of salvation, but it is a result of salvation. The believer repents from his sins upon trusting in Christ and thereafter continues to repent of further sins that the Lord reveals to him.

Back to the suicide issue

Suicide is, in effect, self-murder. The unfortunate thing about it is that the one who commits it cannot repent of it. The damage is permanently done. We can see in the Bible that murderers have been redeemed (Moses, David, etc.,), but they had opportunities to confess their sins and repent. With suicide, the person does not. But that does not mean the person is lost. Jesus bore all that person's sins--including suicide. If Jesus bore that person's sins on the cross 2000 years ago and if suicide was not covered, then the Christian was never saved in the first place; and the one sin of suicide is able to undo the entire work of the cross of Christ. This cannot be. Jesus either saves completely, or he does not.

Is suicide always wrong?

That I cannot answer because I cannot list every possible situation. But, it seems obvious that suicide is clearly wrong though forgivable. However, there are general categories of suicide on which we could briefly comment:

Medically Assisted Suicide--I've never seen this as being acceptable. The doctor is supposed to save life--not destroy it. But, lately as destroying the lives of the unborn is more common place, destroying the lives of the sick has become the next logical step.

Suicide to prevent prolonged torture--Let's say that someone was being tortured in an excruciating manner for an unbearably long period of time, is suicide an option? Perhaps. But if it were in this situation, why wouldn't it be all right in the medically-assisted context if the patient were also in excruciating pain for long periods of time? Quite honestly, I'm not sure how to answer that one.

Suicide due to depression--Of course, this is never a good reason for suicide. Seasons pass and so does depression. The one who is depressed needs to look to Jesus and get help. Depression is real and powerful and is best fought with help. Also, severe depression robs the mind of clear thinking. People in such states are despondent--not in their right mind.

Suicide due to a chemical imbalance in the brain--The human brain is incredibly complex, and the medical community is full of accounts of extraordinary behaviors by people whose "circuits got crossed." I don't see how a situation like this would make it justifiable. I think it simply would make it more explainable.

Accidental suicide--Sometimes people accidentally kill themselves. This could mean leaning over a balcony too far and falling to one's death or actually purposefully taking a stupid risk like playing with a gun. Of course, with either, stupidity does not remove us from the grace of God.

Conclusion

Is the Christian forgiven for suicide? Yes. But suicide is not an option. We do not have the right to take our own lives. That belongs to God.

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This is a very thoughtfully written and I appreciate your ideas.  I have to say that I have a friend who tried to commit suicide only because he was in a psychotic and horrible state in which he was not thinking clearly and was not himself at all.  It was not a reflection on who he truly was as a believer or as a person.  In spite of terrible blood loss, God spared his life and he is doing well now.  Mental illness is a true disease of the function of the brain and if a believer commits suicide in such a state, as you have said, s/he is not lost.  It's a very sad thing.  People who deal with such a disease can live in utter torment as my friend did for many years, but is now very happy and growing in Christ as he has received excellent medical care.  Thank you for your thoughtful treatment of the issue.  

I believe that repentance is something that happens in the Christian life but that the lack of it will only lead a believer to be out of fellowship with God rather than lose their salvation.  If a person does not repent of sin, they will miss out on closeness with God and waste opportunities to be a blessing to God and to people.  They will lose rewards in heaven.

IMHO,  to commit suicide is the only action worth of the expression, unpardonable sin because, to be forgiven, one must plead for it and, once dead, the person has lost that chance. Therefore, the one who commits suicide can never be forgiven.  

I agree with Ben Masada that the sin we dont repent of is a sin that cant be pardoned ("unpardonable sin"). Any sin that we idolize over a good relationship with G-D.I also see a judgement happening at physical death/ Heb.9:27 (seperation of those in and those outside of a postive covenant with G-D). However, This is not the "Finial", "Great White Throne Judgement" which happens at the End of The LORD's day (Rev.20) mentioned within the "N.T." (Brit Chadasha). 

According to the bible in its complete form (OT & NT together) we see mention of a spirit realm in which at physical death spirits are separated into two groups (those in covenant and those outside of the covenant). And at the beginning of the Lord's day (1000 year/1 day reign of Messiah) those who are in covenant are forever redeemed by the (1st) resurrection and serve as priests during the Lord's day (to who? those who didnt make the first fruits/ didnt take part in the first resurrection). At the 7th trumpet (the beginning of the Lord's day some partake in the 1st resurrection (all take part in a "change" thus are separated from their flesh and only found in spirit) Those who didnt find favor at the harvest dont take part in the 1st resurrection yet like all have taken part in the 1st death (physical). At the end of the Lord's day they will either take part in the 2nd death (spiritual) or the 2nd resuurection (be justified). During that time they will be free from the (lusts of the) flesh and the temptation of the acusser (HaSatan). For HaSatan will be locked away for 1,000 yrs (1 day). During this same time these lost souls will be ministered unto by the priests. Then prior to the Great white throne judgement the accuser is loosed again to tempt them to see where their heart is. If they side with him in rebellion (at the FINAL great white throne judgement) they then will be cast into the lake of fire the 2nd death (spiritual). These things are most clearly seen in Rev.20 (Compard with Dan.12:1-2 (vs 1 relative to the tribulation just prior to the Lord's day and the beginning of the Lord's day/harvest) (vs 2 relative to the end of the Lord's day) There are many scripture relative too this subject but I also want to go ahead and suggest 1 Cor.15 here (Dan.12:1= Rev.20:4-6/ Beginning of the Lord's day) Dan.12:2= Rev.20:12-15 End of the Lord's day. I also suggest following blog subjects 

- Where are the dead/ http://friendsnchrist.ning.com/profiles/blogs/where-r-the-dead-comf...

- Gathering back to Messiah http://friendsnchrist.ning.com/profiles/blogs/pre-trib-rapture-dece... 

So in closing, those who commit suicide are not in good standing but still have hope at the Final judgement. Also where is the line that points to suicide? Any comments on Samson? He fought the enemy of Israel thus saved many lives and in his death he killed more of the enemy than before. Yeshua overcame death. I can't condemn either of them in anyway yet I still try to understand the death of Samson more and more as time goes by in relation to "suicide". 

What about the unforgivable sin? Is that suicide? No. Suicide is not the unforgivable sin. Jesus spoke of the unforgivable sin in Matt. 12:22-32. The context is when the Pharisees accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil. Therefore, suicide is not the unforgivable sin.

Mat 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

As I said above, suicide is the unforgivable sin because the dead have lost the chance to be forgiven. Only the living are forgiven because they plead for it and still have the time to demonstrate it by setting things right with God. (Isa. 1:18,19) Can one still ask for forgiveness after committing suicide? Obviously not. So, that's what it is: The unforgivable sin.

Now, the Pharisees could not have accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of the devil because they did not believe in demons or devils. Jesus IMHO was also of the line of the Pharisees. So, why would the Pharisees accuse him of any thing at all? I think this is part of a grudge of the Hellenist who wrote the gospel attributed to Matthew against the Jewish authorities. The author must have been a former disciples of Paul's who was being loyal to the anti-Jewish feelings of Paul.  

Agree to disagree Ben.

I also agree to disagree Masada. You say: "Can one still ask for forgiveness after committing suicide? Obviously not." But I wonder why you mention Is.1:18-19 in relation to that cause it never said that & I showed how your conclusion within your statement (I quoted) isn't supported with scripture.

 The Hebrew word that would apply to "devils" and or "demons" of the greek texts of the NT would be "shed" (H#7700) as in Deut.32:17/ &/ Ps.106:37

Rendered in English Tanakh as "They sacrificed to demons, which have no power, deities they did not know, new things that only recently came, which your forefathers did not fear"

 יִזְבְּחוּ לַשֵּׁדִים לֹא אֱלֹהַּ אֱלֹהִים לֹא יְדָעוּם חֲדָשִׁים מִקָּרֹב בָּאוּ לֹא שְׂעָרוּם אֲבֹתֵיכֶם

/&/ They slaughtered their sons and daughters to the demons. 

 וַיִּזְבְּחוּ אֶת בְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת בְּנוֹתֵיהֶם לַשֵּׁדִים

The Pharisees don't not accuse people simply cause they are also Pharisees. They feel it a duty to accuse anyone who is a threat to their authority and doctrine. Yahshua was given the tribal identification of being of Judah both through his legal fathers relation and his Physical mothers relation through the males which is how tribal identification is made.  (even though on his mothers, mothers side he was also of Levi). I also dont know why you point fingers at Matthew (who Was attributed to the book of Matthew!) as a Hellenistic. BTW we have a Hebrew manuscript of the book of Mathew so not sure what you mean by "Hellenistic". Matthew showed he lived the Jewish culture. Also Luke recorded the same message in Lk.11 . Paul was also Jewish to the core. 

Ben Masada do you have Any interest in the Faith those here share in the OT and NT?

As a result of my Biblical researches, there are two kinds of salvation. One is universal salvation from universal catastrophes of the size of the Flood. The other is personal salvation.

Universal salvation is free. We can take it for granted as a result of God's love. Soon after the Flood ceased upon earth, HaShem established a Covenant with Noah when He promised him that never again He would allow Mankind to be exterminated as long as the earth remained seedtime and harvest and cold and heat and summer and winter and the day and night shall not cease. (Gen. 8:21,22) In short, as long as the natural laws function properly.

Prophet Jeremiah must have read the above text and connected it with as long as Israel remains as a People before the Lord forever. (Jer. 31:35-37) It means that the rising of Israel years later from the loins of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob would be the pledge to guarantee HaShem's promise to Noah.

Jesus must have read both those texts above and understood the reason why universal salvation comes from the Jews. From the Jews, he said and not from one among the Jews. (John 4:22)

Now, for personal salvation, it could never be free. The price is obedience to the Law. Jesus clearly implied through his parable about the Richman and Lazarus that the only way to get saved from hell-fire is by listening to "Moses" aka the Law. (Luke 16:29-31) And also according to Mat. 5:17-19, Jesus made it more than clear that he came to confirm the Law and the Prophets down to the letter and that as long as there is heaven and earth, not a single command of the Law will pass away. And whoever rejects a single command of the Law shall not be worth the Kingdom of God.

Now, just a word about your conclusion above, true that you have mentioned that suicide is not an option but, to claim that suicide is forgiven, whereas I don't know how since one is dead, your suggestion is dangerous all the same to the one who has been contemplating suicide. I would say to him or her, don't do it because you will never be forgiven no matter what. Never forget that HaShem is of the living only, never of the dead. (Mark 12:27)

You are wrong! You say "personal salvation could never be free. You must obey the law." That is contradictory to the very message of the gospel my friend.
And by the way, the unpardonable sin has nothing to do with sin that is not repented of. The scriptures CLEARLY state that the unpardonable sin is blaspheming the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is the spirit of truth and every mention of the unpardonable sin consists of knowing better and still transgressing (showing no repentance) so i for one see direct relation between the two. I agree blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is unpardonable and is One way in which scripture gives a literal description of unpardonable sin.

I agree Grin Masada's comment goes against what we know as the Gospel (he claims to be a Jew in Judaism though).

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