Does a Christian who commits suicide still go to heaven?

People commit suicide for many different of reasons. Some preventable, some not, none good and always tragic. Families are devastated by the loss, the whys and the doubts over what could have prevented it. Sometimes the entire family is treated as if they are guilty for the suicide. One painful question that sometimes adds to the grief surrounding suicide regards the eternal state of the person who killed himself. The largest Christian church in the world teaches that suicide is a mortal sin. Those who die with unconfessed mortal sins do not go to heaven. For many years those who committed suicide were denied funeral rites and burial in a church cemetery. What does the Bible teach about suicide? If a saved person commits suicide does he still go to heaven?

Most Christians view suicide as a sin. The Bible contains a few examples of suicide, but does not include any specific prohibition against it. The command against murder is generally recognized to also be a prohibition against self-murder. Suicides are often accompanied by a large number of extenuating circumstances, including deep despair and mental disorders. This does not mean suicide is not a sin, but recognizing the contributing factors can help those left behind understand what brought a person to such a state.

Those who believe suicide will keep a person from heaven base their belief on passages like Galatians 5:19-21 which declare that that no murderer can enter heaven. If a murderer cannot go to heaven then a suicide cannot enter heaven. This conclusion presumes several things. First, it assumes an act of murder prevents someone from entering heaven. The Bible includes several murderers who are declared to be saved, including such greats as David and Paul. The Biblical does not teach that the act of murder prevents a Christian from entering heaven.

The second assumption builds on the first. Since there are murderers in heaven then it must be unconfessed murder that prevents someone from going to heaven. A suicide does not have a chance to confess his sin and thus does not go to heaven. This assumption has one major problem. Samson is in declared in Hebrews 11 to be a man of great faith. How can he be a hero of the faith if he is now suffering in hell?

The last, and foundational, assumption that leads some to conclude a suicide does not go to heaven is the presumption that a saved person can make a choice that will cause him to lose his salvation. If this is true anyone whose last act is a great sin is in danger of losing his salvation. If this is true Jesus does not forgive Christians all their sin, but only the sin they confess. If this is true the redeemed are not kept by the power of God but by the power of God and their continued devotion.

Those who are truly saved are forever saved. No action of the redeemed, no matter how terrible or final, can undo the work of Jesus. Jesus saves to the uttermost those who come to God by Him (Hebrews 7:25). Suicide nor any other sin is greater than the power of God to forgive or the work of Jesus to save. Salvation has nothing to do with anything the person does. Salvation is accomplished, from beginning to end, by Jesus. The redeemed are not saved because of their goodness, devotion or right choices. The redeemed are saved by the grace of God.

Suicide does not lock the doors of heaven upon a soul. The grace of God is greater than all sin, even if the last act of a person’s life is a great evil. “Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound.” (Romans 6) Suicide tragically ends a life, but all those who trust Jesus for salvation are eternally saved no matter how their life ends.

How can I know for certain I am saved?

Many Christians have times in their lives when they doubt their salvation. Doubts should not be brushed aside as if they were mere tools of Satan to discourage. Doubts may be the result of a spiritual assault but they may also warn of spiritual problems. The Bible teaches the Christian to examine the validity of his own faith. (2 Corinthians 13:5) The Christians is to make his salvation evident and certain. (2 Peter 1:10) The epistle of 1 John was written, “that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” (1 John 5:13) Evaluating the genuineness of one’s own salvation can be a beneficial exercise.

Questioning the certainty of one’s own salvation should never be the result of doubting God’s ability to save. One should not question the promise or power of God. Nor should a person wonder if the rights words were said. Salvation is not a matter of saying the right words. Salvation is a matter of genuine faith that believes God’s word.

This question can be wisely asked if the person is assessing the genuineness of his profession of faith. The wise person knows the human heart is a great liar. (Jeremiah 17:9) Only a foolish person believes the feelings and promptings of his own heart. (Proverbs 28:26) The tragic reality is many unsaved people have prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, made a commitment or had a stirring spiritual experience. Assurance of salvation does not come by remembering a feeling or an experience, but from the promises of God in His Word.

A person is saved through believing Jesus is God who became man to die in place of men, believing Jesus was restored to life three days later and believing He promises salvation to all who will trust Him. A person is saved by turning to Jesus in faith believing that God will forgive completely every sin and give eternal life. If there has not been a time in a person’s life where he has turned to Jesus and began to trust Him for all of salvation then that person is not saved. Salvation is not inherited from believing parents. Salvation is not absorbed by church attendance. Growth towards conversion may be a gradual process that takes a long time but there must be a point in time in which the person consciously turns to Jesus, confesses his faith and seeks forgiveness.

A person is saved by trusting in Jesus and only in Jesus for forgiveness. Many who think they are saved are not truly saved because they are not trusting Jesus alone. Any addition of works, personal merit or religious observance denies the salvation of Jesus. Believing that something you do has any part in your salvation denies the need of Jesus’ death. (Galatians 2:21) Salvation is only received by those who trust entirely in Jesus, and only in Jesus, for full salvation.

The person who is saved is transformed by his faith. This last point of evaluation can be confusing and lead some to think the Bible requires good works or obedience as necessary parts of being saved. The transformed life does not save but shows salvation has occurred. The absence of increased obedience is not conclusive proof that a person was never saved, but it should cause the person to seriously question the reality of his salvation. The New Testament gives several key marks of genuine conversion. If a person’s life shows the New Testament marks of genuine conversion then his life supports his profession of faith.

You can know for certain that you are saved if there has been a time in your life when you have confessed Biblical faith in Jesus and turned to Him for forgiveness, if you are trusting only in Jesus for salvation and if your life shows evidence of genuine conversion.

Were the Old Testament Israelites saved by keeping the Law?

A recent answer stated that the people who lived before Jesus was born were saved by looking ahead to the promised Savior and trusting Him for their salvation. Some may wonder about the law of Moses. If people before Jesus were saved by trusting God’s promises to save, why did God give the law to the Israelites?

Historically, many Israelites believed they could be saved by obeying the Mosaic law. The Pharisees in Jesus’ day believed they were righteous because they were the children of Abraham who kept the law of Moses and the traditions of their fathers. All throughout the Old Testament the Israelites seemed frequently to misunderstand the role of the law. Even today many people look at the Old Testament and think the Israelites gained eternal life by being devout keepers of all the commands, rituals and sacrifices given through Moses. Is this true? Were the Israelites saved by obeying the law of Moses?

No Israelite was ever saved by his obedience to the law. The major theme of Romans and Galatians is the inability of the law to save. Galatians 2:16 says, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” No one was ever justified- made righteous before God- by keeping the law. Old Testament Israelites were saved by trusting God for forgiveness of sin. Habakkuk 2:4 says, “the just shall live by his faith.” In Psalm 32 David rejoices in the blessings of being forgiven. He does not associate forgiveness with his keeping of the law but with the grace and mercy of God. David acknowledged his sin to God. He cried out in confession of his guilt and God gave forgiveness. Throughout the Psalms David declares that God is his salvation. The salvation that David describes is always based upon the compassion of God, not the obedience of the individual. He that could be righteous enough to earn salvation would have no need of forgiveness. In the Old Testament God never forgave because men earned His salvation. God forgave because of His great compassion. God poured out mercy on those who sought it from him.

The book of Isaiah is full of promises about the coming Jewish King and Savior. The Messiah and His kingdom are described at length. Isaiah ends with a great confession of sin and a plea for God to pardon the Israelites. Isaiah 64 recognizes the righteousness of men is no righteousness at all. The only answer, the only hope for Old Testament Israel, was to be pardoned by God. Isaiah 53 describes the work of the Messiah to gain that pardon and the eleventh verse says, “He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Old Testament Israelites were saved by Jesus’ bearing their sin on the cross. God’s judgment was satisfied by the suffering of His Son. Jesus makes men righteous, whether those men live now or 3,000 years ago, by carrying on His shoulders the consequences of their sin. Salvation is always, and only, by Jesus. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

Why do Christians think a prayer is all it takes to get to heaven?

Some have complained that Christianity promises that just by saying a prayer anyone gets a free trip to heaven. A mass murderer can do horrible things all his life and go to heaven when dies because he said the correct words right before being strapped into the electric chair. A loving mother who worked hard all her life to raise good kids will go to hell if she doesn’t ask Jesus for forgiveness. This seems unfair, unjust and just plain wrong. Why do Christian’s teach that all it takes for even the worst person to go to heaven is saying the right words any time before dying?

This objection fails to understand two vital truths about the Bible’s teaching about salvation. Salvation is not received by saying the right words. The prayer of salvation is not a magic incantation which opens heaven’s door at the persons whim. The prayer of salvation is the outward response of saving faith. Praying the right words without saving faith will not bring salvation. The words alone have no power to give a person entrance to heaven. What brings salvation is Biblical faith.

Biblical faith is a personal conviction of the truth of God’s Word particularly the truths about sin, man’s inability to do anything to save himself, the deity of Jesus, the death of Jesus for sin and the resurrection of Jesus. Biblical faith is the conviction that these truths are true about yourself. This goes beyond a general acceptance of a broad truth. This is the personal acceptance as fact your own guilt before God, your inability to remove your guilt and bring salvation, that Jesus died to pay the punishment of your sin, Jesus is alive forever and Jesus offers you salvation. Biblical faith obeys the commands of the gospel. Saving faith turns to Jesus trusting Him, and Him alone, for salvation. A prayer for salvation is the visible expression of that last element of saving faith. Asking for salvation is only the tip of the iceberg. Underneath is the massive internal conviction of that brings salvation to those who believe.

Salvation has nothing to do with anything the person does. The murderer is not going to hell for his murder. The loving mother is not going to heaven for her selflessness. Salvation is never determine by measuring a persons good against his bad. Salvation cannot be achieved by any actions of men because the standard for entrance into heaven is absolute perfection. To enter heaven one must be completely righteous without the least taint of sin. “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48) God’s standard of perfection is impossible for any person to achieve. Eternal life is given to those who realize their failure to measure up to God’s standard. Those who trust Jesus are promised heaven because Jesus’ perfect righteousness is transferred to the sinner. This is exactly why salvation is so difficult for many to understand. The work has been done. The one who is saved must do nothing. Salvation has been earned, in its entirety, by Jesus. Anyone who relies on Jesus to save them will be saved and have eternal life. Anyone who relies on his own goodness will not be saved.

God’s salvation has nothing to do with how much a person deserves to be saved. God justly saves the worst of men at the very last moment because He applies the infinite righteousness of Jesus to their great guilt. God justly saves the best of men any time they turn to Him for salvation because He applies the righteousness of Jesus to their great guilt. God saves all who will rely only on Jesus for forgiveness and eternal life.

What happens to those who die without ever hearing about Jesus?

Possibly one of the most difficult questions for a caring Christian to consider and answer is the fate of those who have never had the chance to hear the gospel. To many it seems an unthinkable unfairness that God would send people to hell who never had the chance to be saved. Walking carefully through the Bible’s teaching is not always easy. Despite the great emotional tensions associated with this question it can only be answered by a thorough consideration of what God has said about man, sin and salvation.

The Bible’s answer can be summed up in a very straightforward fashion. Those who die without turning to Jesus for forgiveness of sin are not forgiven and remain under the judgment of God. Only when one starts with a Biblical perspective can this answer begin to make sense. Many imagine that condemnation happens after death based upon one’s sin or refusal to believe Jesus.

Condemnation does not happen after death. Men are not sentenced to hell for rejecting Jesus or for committing an excessive number of bad deeds. Men are sentenced to hell because they are born sinners who are already condemned by God. “He that believeth not is condemned already.” (John 3:18) “You were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Ephesians 2:1) The first chapter of Colossians describes all men as separated from God and enemies against Him. The third chapter of Romans describes all men as wicked, refusing to seek after God, having no good in them and filled with all manner of wickedness. The Bible consistently teaches that all people are currently guilty before God. Romans 3:19 says all the world is guilty before God. Everyone is already condemned for sin. Men are not waiting for judgment to find out if they are guilty or not. The conviction has been handed down. Sentencing is delayed to give opportunity for salvation.

The fate of those who die in their guilt is eternal separation from God in hell. 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9 says Jesus will exact vengeance on those that do not know God and have not obeyed the gospel. Jesus’ vengeance will be unending destruction apart from the presence of God and His glory. In other places in the Bible this everlasting destruction is described as a place of fire and intense suffering. Those who do not know God will be sentenced to eternal hell.

Wrong ideas about Divine judgment are abundant. Most seem to believe that if they are better people than a lot of others then they will make it to heaven. Some believe there is no hell. A growing number believe that God will not send anyone to hell (or maybe only send the really, really bad people to hell). The Biblical truth is that hell is real and only those who have turned to Jesus for forgiveness will escape hell. Those who do not do so, whether it be because of stubbornness, rebellion, ignorance or some other reason will be punished with everlasting destruction. Into this bleak assessment shines the good news of the gospel. Salvation from hell has been purchased by Jesus and is freely given to those who will turn to Him for forgiveness.

Can I be forgiven for having an abortion?

Abortion has recently been a major topic of conversation in the Everlasting Truths ministry. The Biblical view of abortion is that it is always the willful murder of an innocent human life. Abortion is a horrible thing, the slaughter of one of society’s most innocent and helpless. These truths should sting, but they should not drive anyone to despair. The tragedy of abortion is not exhausted in the extermination of unborn babies but also in the guilt, shame and emotional turmoil of millions of women who have had abortions. Many of these women wonder if she can ever be forgiven. To that anguished heart, Bible shouts a joy filled answer. The resounding cry echoing out of the pages of the Bible is, Yes, you can be forgiven. Whether you have had an abortion, talked a partner into having an abortion or performed abortions, forgiveness is not out of reach.

The Biblical promise of salvation is not limited those individuals who have been basically good. There is no such thing as a sin God will refuse to forgive, nor a level of sinfulness beyond God’s grace. The promise of the Bible is clear, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” (Micah 7:18-19) The Israelites were guilty of a wide range of wicked sins, including sacrificing their infants and young children to idols. Despite the greatness of their sin, God offers a blanket promise. He will give full forgiveness to those who turn from their false worship to Him. He gives the same promise to all men today. No matter the magnitude of your sin, if you will turn from your sin to Him, He will have compassion and cast all your sin into the deepest seas. In Isaiah God promises, “Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be like wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) You may have a scarlet letter emblazoned in fiery letters on your heart, always reminding you of the wrong you have done. You may feel as if there is no way you can ever atone for your sin. The promise of God is you don’t have to make atonement or purge your guilt. Atonement has been made. The judge stands ready to erase all your guilt.

The promise of Jesus is that your abortion will never be remembered by God. You do not have to live in shame or guilt. You can be fully forgiven. When you turn from your sin to Jesus, God promises to remove all your sin. Jesus took on Himself the entirety of the punishment you deserve and gives His righteousness to all who believe. When you place your full dependence on Jesus, the Son of God who died, was buried and rose again for your sin, God will look on you differently. No longer will you be condemned. You will be a righteous daughter of God who is covered by the blood of Jesus. Despite the awful tragedy of abortion, it is not the unforgivable sin. Penance is not required, shame can be set aside, guilt is removed because the full penalty has been paid by Jesus.