— Mission Statement —
Providing honest reporting and analysis on the intersection of contemporary issues and theology, based on a Biblical Christian Worldview.

HomeIn the NewsSuicide As the Unforgivable Sin

Suicide As the Unforgivable Sin

A detailed discussion on Suicide from a Biblical Christian worldview perspective.

One of the advantages of running a website on Biblical Christianity rather than just blogging on Medium.com is the ability to see what topics our site is being searched for by the general public. In the last 30 days, there has been an unusual spike in various forms on the question of suicide and Hell, including … 

  • “If you take your life will you go to hell”
  • “Do people who commit suicide go to hell”
  • “I took my own life”
  • “If I died by killing myself what would happen” 

To be VERY clear, we do NOT have any details on the source of these, or any other searches on our site. Further, as we look back to events going on in the world during the days most of this research was done, there seems to be no apparent correlation in the news that would raise the question based on outside events. Regardless of the cause, the question(s) certainly deserves attention. 

Suicide by the Numbers

According to the latest available statistics, the suicide rate in the US has risen 36% over the last 20 years (details here). Over 12 million Americans have seriously contemplated taking their own life with men, LGBTQ+ youth, American Indians, and First Nation people having the greatest risks. Nearly 47% of all suicides occur in adults between the ages of 34 and 64. And, although youth suicide has dropped in recent years, according to the CDC (detail here), over 26% of LGBTQ+ youth attempted suicide in 2021, which was 5 times the rate of their heterosexual peers. In 2022 suicide rates for men were nearly four times higher than for women. Finally, Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska had the highest rate of suicide while New Jersey had the lowest, per capita.

What Questions Need Answering from a Biblical Christian Worldview

Looking at the intersection of suicide and the Bible, there are at least four points that need exploring.

  • First, what does it take to go to Hell? 
  • Second, does God have a permanent solution to Hell that covers all human bad behavior? 
  • Third, is Suicide, or attempted suicide a sin?
  • And fourth, does the Bible specifically speak about suicide particularly as it relates to an unforgivable sin?

First Question – What Does It Take to Go to Hell?

The Bible is very clear that all of mankind is under the curse of sin (Romans 3:23). This began with Adam and Eve when God warned Adam not to eat of the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, “for in the day that you eat of it you will surely die” (Genesis 2:17). For Biblical Christians, this is not an illustration, metaphor, or an allegory… we believe the event actually took place. The serpent (Satan) raised a question in Eve’s mind and she and Adam disobeyed God, eating the forbidden fruit, and hence, created what is termed “Original Sin” (details here). This sin has continued down through the generations ever since and rests in all our hearts today. Sadly, we are born with a propensity to sin which ultimately manifests itself in the bad thoughts and behaviors we all commit (referred to as our continuing Sin Nature). 

Mark 7:20-23 – And he said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”

Here is the Tough Nut to Accept

Simply put, God has established Himself as our judge, and He demands payment for our sins. This position is admittedly hard to defend from a human perspective. The Lord could have prevented sin in the first place because He is all-powerful. Sunday School teachers and pastors will offer theological answers to this apparent conundrum. The hard truth is that one can either accept, by faith, the fact that God’s ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55:9), or reject it. However, what is important to understand is that to solve the problem of sin, we must accept His solution.

If we reject God’s plan for our salvation, then, sadly, we are destined to eternity apart from Him. The choice is clear… clearer than any other decision we can ever make while on this earth. And, there are no negotiations,  exceptions, or retakes once we die. 

Matthew 25:46 – And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

So, the answer to the question, “What does it take to go to Hell” is to reject the plan God has for us to be forgiven for our sins (all our sins) and enter Heaven at the end of our lives. 

Second Question – Does God have a solution to Hell that covers all human bad behavior?

Of course, the answer is yes! We need to accept that God’s Son died on the cross for our sins, paying the price that He would otherwise charge us with, eternity in Hell. 

Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Many false religions believe man has to pay for his own sins through “works”, or doing good deeds, to “earn our way to Heaven”. That view is not Biblical. 

Ephesians 2:8-9 – For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

We are “saved” into Heaven by God’s grace by providing us with a Savior, His Son. This is a free gift from a loving God and nothing we can earn through our own efforts. No heavenly scale is weighing our good deeds against our bad. Consider as Scriptural evidence the thief next to Jesus on the cross. When expressing a belief in Christ as Savior, Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43). This man was already on his own cross being crucified as a thief and therefore could do nothing to “earn his salvation”. 

Simply put… Romans 10:9 – If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

We need to ask God to forgive us and accept Christ as both our Lord and Savior, from the heart. That will result in a tangible outward change in our lives, as seen by others but, more importantly, it will include an internal change in who we are and who we serve (more details here). 

2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.

So, if we sin after we are Saved, can we Lose our Salvation?

The majority of Biblical Christians (including myself) would answer… no, with the following Biblical proof texts and an expanded discussion on the subject found here and here

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

John 10:28-29 – I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

However, there are Biblical Christians who would disagree. They would reference verses such as Hebrews 6:4-6 as their proof text. This theological difference of opinion is beyond the bounds of this article. However, two other views on this passage that support eternal security can be found here. They suggest that the verse in Hebrews 6 does not refer to a loss of salvation based on continuing, unrepentant sin. 

Regardless of whether one believes they can lose their salvation by committing continuing, unrepentant sin (followed by repentance) or not, suicide is a one-time event and, like all other sins, is covered under the blood of Christ. If a suicide attempt fails, it remains recognized as a sin and should be repented (ask forgiveness) for the attempt. 

Third Question – Is Suicide or Attempted Suicide a Sin?

Perhaps this should have been the first question. However, most of mankind has an internal moral compass, placed there by God (Romans 2:15), that makes this question somewhat unnecessary.

The Scriptures are clear that taking a life is a sin. That is not to say war is a sin (Ecc 3:8), but rather murder is referenced numerous times in the Bible as sin, unacceptable to God. Suicide is self-murder (details here).

From the Old Testament, the Lord makes clear that only He decides the length of our lives (Ecc. 7:17), and specifically calls us not to murder in the 10 Commandments (Ex. 20:13, Deut. 5:17), as well as other verses (Lev. 24:17, Ex. 21:12, Gen. 9:6, Ex. 23:7).

From the New Testament, Jesus and Paul, among others, continue stating that murder is a sin (1 John 3:15, Rev. 21:8, Matt. 5:21, Rom. 13:9, 1 Cor. 3:16-17). 

Recognizing that fact, we need to clarify 1 John 3:15, which seems inconsistent with the view that one cannot lose their salvation, if taken in isolation.

1 John 3:15 – Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

 The context of this verse is a discussion of Cain, who murdered his brother out of hatred toward him (1 John 3:11-13). In the next verse, the Apostle John makes the point that evidence for the new life of a born-again Christian is a love for our brothers. The lesson is that saved Christians, who have the Holy Spirit in their hearts, should not hate, but express love toward others. It is a warning that if we are consumed by hate, we need to test the Spirit to ensure we are truly saved (Gal. 5:22-23). 

Can a saved Christian be so sad that they take their own life?

This is frankly both a difficult and dangerous question to answer.  Those searching our website on suicide, are, to some degree, also looking for an answer to this profound question. Asked differently, “If I truly am a Christian, with the Holy Spirit in my heart (detail here), can I be so sad or desperate that I see my only solution as suicide?” To be direct, I don’t intend to answer that question. However, what I will say is…

God has promised us, as believers, the Holy Spirit as our Counselor to get through the rough times of this world (John 14:26). However, like having any resource, it not only has to be available, we have to actively access it (Him). We need to be in prayer seeking God’s wisdom (James 1:5), and deep in the Bible as the Lord’s instructions for all of life (2 Timothy 6:10). Finally, association with other born-again believers, in fellowship and worship strengthens one’s Spirit and offers wise human support during the hard times. Typically, this is most evidenced in a strong Bible-believing church. 

Certainly, God has made it clear that our salvation does not guarantee an easy life (John 16:33). However, it does mean we have an Advocate (1 John 2:1) who will fight for us if we will only access that power in our lives. 

Fourth Question – Does the Bible specifically speak about suicide?

The short answer is, yes. 

In the Old Testament 

The Bible documents six individuals who committed suicide, all of whom did not have a positive relationship with God at the time. OT examples include:

  • Judges 9:23, 54 – Abimelech had his armor-bearer kill him after being wounded while under the influence of an evil spirit. 
  • 1 Samuel 31:4-6 – Saul had his armor-bearer kill him after being wounded in battle against the Philistines.
  • 2 Samuel 17:23 – Ahithophel hung himself so as not to be killed later by King David for his disloyalty.
  • 1 Kings 16:18-19 – Zimri, one of the Kings of Israel burned his house while inside “because of the sins that he committed.”

In the New Testament

The most well-known suicide in the Bible was Judas, who stole money from the disciple’s treasury (John 12:6) and ultimately betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Luke 22:48). Matthew records that he hanged himself (Matt. 27:3-5) because of his treachery.  

Paul, in his travels, experienced tremendous persecution because of his teachings on Jesus Christ. An exhausted Paul stated…

2 Corinthians 1:8 – For we do not want you to be ignorant, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.

However, the next verse presents insight for all of us as we face a harsh world…

2 Corinthians 1:9 – Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.

Paul’s illustration and point should not be missed. As Christians, we need to take the burden, even such a heavy burden that makes us look toward death, and rest it on the One who died for our sins and whom God raised from the dead, Jesus Christ. There is comfort in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-5) and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:3-14). 

A much more expanded understanding of the power we have as believers in Christ to resist a permanent decision to a worldly set of challenges can be found here

Is there an unforgivable sin?

Yes. The Bible refers to it in Mark 3:29 and Matthew 12:31b-32. A full discussion on the topic can be seen here. A careful review of these passages offers a clear picture that to reject the Holy Spirit is to reject the Trinity (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). So, to reject the only provision for salvation (John 14:6) is both logically and theologically unforgivable. What that leaves us with is the remainder of our original sin and our sin nature, which, based on answers to the first and second questions above, are all covered completely by the blood of Christ.

Conclusion

Beyond the rejection of God Himself, and His grace in providing a way to release us from our sins (all of our sins, past, present, and future), there is no sin that a believer can commit that is unforgivable. However, as we pray, read the Bible, and seek out other Biblical Christians for help and support, it is important to remember that God holds all things in His hands, including the timing of our passing. To interject our own decision into that equation is a sin. Regardless of whether we are saved or lost, there will be a judgment where our lives and all that we have done will be reviewed. For the lost, there are levels of Hell (here) and for the saved, there are levels of Heaven (here). Our sins will have an impact on gradations within those two unfathomable extremes. 

The most important decision one can make in this life is to prepare for the next, an eternal life. Having accepted Jesus Christ as our personal Savior and Lord  (here), not only assures Heaven, but also sends the Counselor (Holy Spirit) who has the power to provide us with peace in this life that transcends all understanding (Philippians 4:7).

Psalm 34:17 – When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.


Salvation – Eternal Life in Less Than 150 Words

Please Read/Respond to Comments – on Medium

AuthorJeff Hilles | BCWorldview.org 

PodcastListen or Download

YouTubeSubscribe or Watch

RELATED ARTICLES

Recent Articles