heaven and suicide

©2018 michael martin | mike@truthquest.org

a final sin

Suicide is a sin that affects many people, and one that cannot be resolved here on this earth. Sometimes, the friends or loved ones of people who have committed, or who have thought about committing suicide ask, can a person commit suicide and still go to heaven? Let’s explore that issue together.

a. an irreversible sin

To be sure, suicide is a sin, and sadly, one that harms the family and friends of the one who commits it. The Bible is clear that murder–the unlawful taking of a human life–is a sin, as is clearly spelled out in the Ten Commandments:

exodus 20:13

You shall not murder.

To make things even clearer, consider this passage:

1 corinthians 3:17

If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.

Without a doubt, it is wrong to kill oneself. Our bodies are temples created by and for God, and to end one’s own life is unquestionably sinful.

Suicide is a selfish act that does not take into account the needs of the people around us. Making matters worse is the fact that suicide cannot be reversed, confessed , or repented of in this life.

b. can people who commit suicide go to heaven?

Yes, if they are believers in Christ! Despite the fact that suicide is a terrible sin, the beauty of Jesus’ sacrifice is that He paid for all sin, and this even includes the sin of suicide. The beauty of Christ’s sacrifice and grace is that nothing can separate us from the love of God, as this passage beautifully points out:

romans 8:31-38

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all–how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36 As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;

we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Or consider also:

1 john 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

What a wonderful promise! The sacrifice of Jesus is so perfect that He cleanses us from all unrighteousness! If we confess our sins, Jesus wipes them away!

c. so, what happens when a suicide victim reaches heaven?

If a believer in Christ takes his or her own life, they place themselves in a position of having an unresolved, unrepented sin on their record when they meet God for face-to-face judgment.

With all other sins, a believer can confess, repent, and make things right before facing heavenly judgment. Personally, I would much prefer to confess and repent of my sins to God (and to those I’ve hurt here on earth) before coming face to face to God for judgment. This isn’t possible with suicide, and so an account will have to be given in heaven:

romans 14:12

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.

2 corinthians 5:9

So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

If we ask God to forgive us for a sin before we commit that sin, we’re demonstrating that we truly aren’t repentant at all, because we still have every intention of carrying out the sin. Asking God to forgive us before committing suicide isn’t repentance, it’s lip service.

If we are to please God, then in addition to not committing sins, we should demonstrate true repentance for the sins we have committed by turning away from them and not continuing in our sin. A Christian who commits suicide does great harm to themselves, even though they still go to heaven, because their last act on earth was a deliberately rebellious one.

d. conclusion

God’s grace is so amazing that nothing can separate us from Him. That’s great news! But we should never take God’s grace for granted. We will face judgment for our actions here on earth. It is far better to turn away from our sins and to “get our accounts settled” here on earth than to find ourselves standing before God as He demands an accounting for our unrepented sin. So, while Christians who commit suicide will go to heaven, it will not be the warm welcome they could have otherwise enjoyed. Still, for Christians who have loved ones who have committed suicide, we can take comfort in knowing that we will see them again, and that our heavenly lives will be glorious!