Does Committing Suicide Send People to Hell?
I interviewed Dr. Michael Brown not long ago about the topic of our salvation and its security. As we got to talking, I asked him regarding his thoughts on Christian’s committing suicide. It’s a sensitive topic, often surrounded by controversy and misunderstanding.
The fundamental question is: does the act of suicide forfeit one’s salvation, or can a Christian who has committed suicide still enter heaven?
Although nobody on this side of eternity can know the answer for certain, he did have some insightful thoughts on the topic. This is what he shared.
Can Suicide Forfeit A Believer’s Salvation?
I know you could argue that no murderer has eternal life, and that the last act that they did was murder and they can’t repent of that. But we know for sure that many people doing it are not in their right mind. Maybe, the one committing suicide is someone dealing with PTSD, and they literally think that they’re about to be captured by the enemy and it’s better to take their life than be tortured by the enemy. Or maybe it could be drug flashbacks, or just someone in physical pain so acute, they literally can’t take another minute and doing this is them looking for relief.
When considering these circumstances, I look at the character of God expressed to us through Jesus and the character of God expressed to me for almost 52 years as a believer–incredibly longsuffering, merciful, and compassionate. I don’t believe that when God looks at our lives he says, “Oh you were so good for 99 years yet this one little time…”
Salvation Beyond the Last Act
The other thing is, I understand the theology of saying well it’s self-murder and they didn’t get to repent. But does the Bible say that just committing one sin causes you to forfeit your salvation? For example, what if you’re driving in your car, somebody cuts you off and you get furious? As a result, you lose it and you start laying on your horn, using profanity, and then you get so angry you swerve and you hit a truck and you accidentally die. You died in an unrepentant state.
Does that damn your hell? Well, no.
The theological argument that one unrepentant sin at the time of death can lead to damnation is not biblically solid.
Scripture does not teach that salvation is lost through a single act of unrepented sin at the moment of death.
I remember one brother, a ministry leader who was found out that he had raped a girl. I was absolutely shocked to hear it when then he took his own life. Well it was just the grief, the pain, the shame. He couldn’t live with it any longer and he took his life. Was it that he never repented and this was the final act of rebellion? God knows.
But we can’t have this theology that just because a Christian committed suicide, that they must therefore be lost forever. I think that’s cruel, and I think it’s misunderstanding the nature of God in the process. Only God truly knows what happened.
The Role of Repentance
It could also be that someone decides to do kill themselves and sets things in motion, overdoses on sleeping pills and as they’re starting to pass out says, they cry out to God to have mercy on them. It is not our place to judge the eternal fate of those who have committed suicide, as only God knows their heart and mind at that moment.
For instance, there was a pastor’s wife who’s husband lived with so much torment that he took his life. She was just so sure he was with the Lord now and putting it forward so strongly. That concerns me because then people would think, “Okay, I can just do that too and I just get to go to heaven quicker.”
We don’t want to do that.
However, there are people who’ve lost a loved one to suicide and the person was a believer. In those cases I would encourage you to not beat yourself up thinking that they’re definitely lost. God knows and perhaps you’ll get to be with them forever.
How can we as Christians avoid the pitfalls of hyper grace, while embracing God’s grace fully?
I believe that we must first really look at the cross and realize our righteousness comes from there. Our right-standing with God comes from there, and this was not a one-time act of God. God’s grace is something ongoing in our lives. It was not just forgiveness. It’s empowerment to live above sin. Now don’t play games with this. This is something very sacred. If you mess up, God understands. Come running back. He’s quick to forgive. He’s merciful, but don’t play games with this because many people have destroyed their lives, their ministries, and have brought reproach to the name of the Lord.
To those who say they can’t live like that, well then you haven’t really gotten the first part about the love, the mercy, the security we have in Him. So take that deep dive. Meditate on all the favorite verses of the “once saved always saved” folks because that’s the Bible. No one can snatch you out of His hand. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. He’s the Author and Finisher of the faith (Hebrews 12:2). He who began the good work in you will bring it to completion (Phil. 1:6).
Revel in that, and recognize that He’s a holy God and we belong to Him. Don’t play games. This is an amazing gift we’ve been given, at a very high price. Don’t play games with it. Where you fall short, He’s quick to forgive. But don’t play games. Don’t think that you can sin and get away with it, or you can rebel and get away with it because in that sense, unrepentant sin, nobody gets away with it.
Read: A Christian and Suicide
Get Weekly Content.Sign up below to receive weekly emails and updates.
I pray this was a blessing. Please share this blog and let me know what you think!