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Two of my daughters, a nephew, and I were on our way home from the Houston Rodeo the other night and they began to discuss a celebrity who committed suicide. My youngest said it was too bad for that person because now they are in hell. I quickly asked who told her such nonsense. She told me one of the teachers in the church youth group. I told her that was untrue. She asked if a person committed suicide, would they be in heaven or hell. I explained that depends on if they trusted Jesus Christ for salvation, or themselves. If the answer is Jesus Christ, they are in heaven. She understood where I was going.
Their conversation had me wondering. First, why was the person who told them that allowed to teach? And even more importantly, does committing suicide send a person to hell? I can not answer to former, but the answer to the latter, is without reservation, emphatically, unequivocally, well, NO! That teaching is on old wives’ tale that has seeped its way into the church. Allow me to explain the rationale for my response.
From an exposition standpoint, suicide was not created by God. It was created by man, namely the first man in the scripture. You probably know him better as Adam. What was he told? “And the Lord God commanded the man saying, ‘From any tree of the garden you may eat freely, but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.’” (Genesis 2:15-16). And what did the man do? In Genesis 3:6, he ate. From that moment, he experienced a slow and painful death. He killed himself by his disobedience. That was the first ever suicide recorded in the scripture. It was a man-made occurrence.
Here is why that is important. According to Romans 8:28- 37, God predestined, called, justified, and glorified (in the past tense), all Christians to be conformed to the image of his Son. In verses 31 - 39, Paul writes that as a result of God’s work, nothing, I repeat, nothing can separate those believers from the love of God. And if you take a look at verse 39, one of those items he lists that can not separate from God is called a created thing. I just proved suicide is a created thing, so not even suicide can separate the Christian from God.
Here is further proof. From a theological standpoint, if suicide can prevent a Christian from heaven, then the implication is, suicide is greater than the work of Christ and his blood. But do you really think that will fly? In Colossians 2:13 - 14, Paul taught because of the work of Christ, all our transgressions have been forgiven, and everything that could ever oppose that forgiveness has been nailed to the cross. If suicide is greater than Christ, then in Matthew 28, Christ does not have all authority, meaning either he, Matthew, or both lied. See how silly that proposition is?
So in the exegetical and theological realms, there is no such thing as a Christian in hell because of suicide. In fact, there are no Christians in hell period. It is like burying survivors of an airplane crash. It does not happen.
Let me add a final thought. This piece was not written to endorse or even encourage suicide for anyone. Suicide robs you of the opportunity to serve God and be a testimony for him. Anyone who feels on the verge of suicide should seek help. And if you know of anyone who is exhibiting the signs of suicide (consult a professional if you do not know what they are), you have a duty to step in and try to prevent it.
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