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Do People Who Commit Suicide Go to Hell?

Here is an email question that I received with the response to follow:

Good Afternoon:
I am writing to you under emotional pangs, as I wrestle with the Scriptures, and what I hear from certain others who are Christian.

The husband of a friend of mine committed suicide. My friend, I know well, and her love and defense of the Scriptures. But I only know of her husband’s belief by what she tell me, and his attendance to church. She said he prayed a lot and loved God, her and their children.

But he yielded to suicide. And from what I understand, this was a long term fight to avoid that. He subsequently said he was going for walk, and he was found in a park, after shooting himself.

Here is a man who “claimed” to love Jesus, but his actions to me, deny his having made Jesus Lord and Master over his life. Rather, he must have had Satan as master.

I used to believe in “free will” but after a long study of the Sovereignty of God, I changed my mind. That study took several years. So I can’t say this man had free will unless he remains outside of God’s Lordship, where he does what the flesh does…. denies the power, promises, and love that God has living within us.

The pastor at the services said what my friend said, he is in heaven, due to the Grace of God.

But how can a person be tempted to kill himself then actually follow through with it, if he has Life in him? And Hope. These reign over Death and Hell.

My Response

Thanks for the questions. These are very good questions, and necessary to struggle with.

You said: “But how can a person be tempted to kill himself then actually follow through with it, if he has Life in him?”

How could David have killed Uriah? How could Peter have denied Christ. How could John have fallen down and worshiped an angel? How could Paul struggle with sin the way he does in Roman 7? Why would Paul exhort Christians to “walk in the spirit and therefore not carry out the deeds of the flesh” if it was a foregone conclusion that Christians cannot walk in the flesh? How could the Galatians (whom Paul considers “brethren”) have turned back toward the law after knowing Christ? How could the Corinthians live as spiritual babes, living in strife, jealously, and envy?

The answer: we are all sinners.

My sister committed suicide. She had been with me at seminary and was one of my primary means of encouragement throughout my younger ministry years. She was a prayer warrior, an aspiring evangelist, and one of the most generous people I have ever known. She fell into depression—terrible depression. Depression is a powerful result of the fall that ends up taking a lot of people’s lives. What she did was sin. Yes, it was premeditated as well.

What sins, in actuality, are not premeditated? There are not many . . . They are mainly personality and spirituality characteristics such as outbursts of anger, jealousy, and faithlessness. But most other sins are premeditated. If God does not forgive premeditated sins—if somehow these are the sins that are not covered by the cross—we are all in trouble.

I don’t know whether the gentleman who went on a walk in the park was a Christian or not (my heart hurts just thinking of his walk), but I do know that the cross of Christ redeems us from all sin, no matter how severe, no matter how much premeditation. Were suicide less traumatic, were it just a push of the button, I doubt that there is any who would escape its fate (we probably would not make it through our teen years!). Have mercy on this man. What he did was sin. What he did will have terrible and lasting consequences (just like any murder), but to think that this necessarily means he was not a Christian is unbiblical and well beyond our ability to judge.

The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses (present tense; 1 John1:7) us from all sin, not just some sins.

Some may say that all sins have to be confessed before death. I disagree. To say that we cannot have unconfessed sin when we die is problematic both biblically and practically. Biblically, Paul is clear that once we have faith in Christ we have been saved. This salvation is primarily from the ultimate penalty of our sin—eternal death. If we cannot truly be saved until we die with all sins confessed, then we cannot ever say that we are saved as Paul does. The best we can do is say we might be saved (i.e. if I die without any unconfessed sin). Salvation would always have to be spoken of as a contingent possibility, not a present reality. Yet Paul says to the Ephesians “By grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:8). Christ says in John 6:24 “Whoever believes in me has eternal life.”There is no contingency here. The question becomes, Do you really believe?

The practical problem is this: If you do have to die without any unconfessed sin, how are you to be spiritually aware enough to remember all your sins? What if you forget one? What about the time you sped through the school zone? What about the time you pridefully thought about your promotion at work? What about the time you envied your neighbor’s new sprinkler system? What about the time you said you were sick, to avoid something, and you really weren’t? From a practical stand point, everyone will die with unconfessed sin. Most of these will include serious sins such as greed, pride, and envy. Therefore, we are all bound for hell? This trivializes the cross, forgiveness, and sin.

Christ’s death is a once for all remedy to our damnation. Because of this grace and forgiveness we should live a life that is pleasing to him, but some of us won’t do so well. That is what makes grace so wonderful and radical—indeed, beyond belief.

Hope that is helpful.

118 Responses to “Do People Who Commit Suicide Go to Hell?”

  1. Michael an excellent post for the minds and hearts of many.

  2. I believe that suicide is a form of murder, self-murder to be precise, and since murder is a forgiveable sin then the Christian who commits suicide will be forgiven for doing it. However I think the Scriptures also teach us that Christians are rewarded in heaven based on their good works, so I would think that if a Christian committed suicide that s/he just wouldn’t get as much a reward in heaven compared to a Christian who didn’t commit suicide.

    • There’s NO such thing as “self murder”. That’s a stupid made up expression by man. God is not shy. If “self murder” was a thing He wouldn’t included it in His word. I can’t stand when people say that. THERE’S NO SUCH THING!

  3. This question reminds me of a scene in the movie Luther (2003). A boy committed suicide and the Church forbade his body to be buried within its premises. Martin Luther passionately disagreed with the Church on this issue. A brief transcript of the scene:

    Monk (who refuses to bury the child): “Brother Martin, the boy’s damned. I’m not allowed to do this. The others won’t rest with him in here. This is holy ground, he’s a suicide.”

    Luther: “Tell Otto to bring his son. Tell him: Some people say that according to God’s justice, this boy is damned because he took his life. I say it was overcome by the devil. Is this child any more to blame for the despair that overtook him than an innocent man who is murdered by a robber in the woods? God must be mercy. God IS mercy.

    Luther then personally buries the child in front of the child’s parents, and prays:

    “He is yours. Save him.”

  4. FWIW, I experienced a brief moment of hell when I was on pain meds for kidney stones recently. It was a weird dreamlike-yet-awake vision or something that was a combination of Harlan Ellison’s I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM (read it, but beware) and the movies THE MATRIX and ALTERED STATES and some other vague stuff; I remember something about green and red LED lights.

    For a moment I felt that the lid or mask had been ripped off reality and I saw that our life/existence was an utterly soulless and godless and meaningless nothingness of energy and nothing else. It was beyond horrible and depressing; it was absolutely and totally maddening (as in insanity-inducing – that kind of “mad/madness,” not the angry kind) what was going through my mind. A horror beyond the ability to even describe or contemplate. Fortunately it was short-lived, and I was also aware enough to think somewhere in the back of my mind that I was ill and that this might be an effect of my illness and/or the medicines, and not THE TRUTH (which is what my mind was telling me it was).

    But what I was also starkly aware of, and even though the experience has faded away from my memory, I can recall the absolute knowing/certainty I had of this at the time – was that I knew – I KNEW – I ABSOLUTELY FELT AND KNEW with every fiber of my being and at the core of my being that if this were to continue and I were to believe it were true (and for that moment I really did believe I was seeing the truth), I would run as fast as I could to get a gun and blow my brains out.

    Which is all to say that I think there are or can be things that can so overwhelm a person that suicide seems to be the only hope of relief. And I believe that God understands.

    Lord, have mercy.

  5. Eric,

    You could not have more perfectly described my experience that I wrote about earlier this year. It was also after taking pain meds for my back (Viccodin). A week after I stopped, I went into that state of maddness, on and off, gradually subsiding, for six weeks. I thought the same thing. More specifically, I thought of my sister, who had her first episode after coming our of gall bladder surgery and being on a lot of pain meds as well. Unfortunately, she rarely came out of it and after 1.5 years she died.

    I, like you, had a deep down feeling that I would be over, so suicide was not on the agenda. But I did think of how I now perfectly understood how someone could kill themselves (even to the point of leaving children behind).

  6. Toradol and maximum-Rx-strength Vicodin (Norcor 10mg hydrocodone/325mg acetaminophen) for me following two nights in a row of morphine and some other stuff in two different ERs. A “trip” I hope not to take again for a l-o-n-g time. :)

  7. The idea that suicide is “THE UNFORGIVABLE SIN” is one of the most pernicious myths floating around out there. When I was a young man, I had the opportunity to confront some good brothers on this very subject after their hard-heartedness had reduced someone to tearful hysterics. They were all veterans of “The Big One” and I asked them if the soldier who threw himself on the grenade to save his comrades was damned for committing suicide? They hemmed and hawed and wanted to talk about reasons and how those justified the act. Which begged the question as to how much they knew about the reasons, life situation, etc, of the person involved. Suicide is wrong but we are broken people living in a broken world and some will find themselves in a dark midnight of the soul when suicide seems the only way out. If in a moment of weakness, they take that road, we can but commit them to the grace of God.

    Suicide is a disaster and the Christian community had best look within ourselves long and hard before failing to minister to the loved ones left behind by that disaster. We can do nothing to ease the burden of the one who is gone but we can do one heck of a lot in Christian love to help those still here pick up the pieces.
    And presuming the perogative of God to judge the salvation of a departed soul AIN’T ministry (and is, BTW, way above our pay grade).
    –Ishmael

  8. Do People Who Commit Suicide Go to Hell ?

    Yes.

  9. Lucian, if you are affirming that every person who commits suicide goes to hell then I could not disagree with you more. However, at least present a Biblical argument if you are going to make such an assertion.

  10. Mark 3:28-30. Seems to me suicide is covered under Mark 3:28.

    You wouldn’t be Roman Catholic, Lucian, would you?

  11. Michael:

    Excellent response!

    I remembered the time I attempted suicide the very same year I trusted Christ. I was 15. I was depressed even as a child, because of being sexually abused by a neighbor girl. I didn’t know I was depressed nor my parents undertood. But I was growing quiter and detached emotionally from everyone. And it took it’s toll when I turned 15. But fortunately, I was rushed to the hospital on time.

    I would be dishonest if I said that I have not been tempted again, but I now know with Jesus I can somehow make it. I do not seriously consider suicide as an option anymore, though my life is in the dumps even now.

    Even if I had died at 15, I know I would be in Heaven right now, as His blood covers ALL our sins!

  12. Suicide is not always a sin.

    It is always irritating to Nomists however, because it is the only “sin” by their definition that can never be punished by men on earth, and is a direct affront to secular human power.

    Most people who commit suicide are not criminals, but they are often victims of abuse, and often feel hopeless.

    This should not surprise us, since Christians ought to know better than to expect any kind of “justice” on earth at the hands of wicked rulers and rogue criminals.

    By its very definition, most human sin involves the injury of innocent victims, 3rd parties, often children, who do not deserve the suffering imposed upon them.

    This suffering imposed upon victims by definition and very nature involves injustice, of a kind which cannot be addressed or properly compensated by ordinary men here on earth.

    Murder for instance is only an extreme example of a crime for which no compensation can be made, and no justice can be achieved, on earth. Sure, we can punish, even execute a murderer, but this does not restore our loved one, or adequately alleviate and compensate for the suffering of all victims involved.

    Christians of all people know this. They know that true justice and full compensation and healing can only come on Judgement Day, and be given by a God with truly miraculous powers.

    Only God through Jesus can raise the dead and undo a murder for instance. And only God can compensate a victim to their own satisfaction regarding any injustice imposed upon them while on earth.

    Our hope, our final compensation and satisfaction must always await the final Judgement Day. Christians do not expect, and do not hope for justice of any kind on earth. On the contrary, they expect, and sometimes even hope for, persecution without earthly reward.

    Of course, no NON-Christian can be expected to have, nor are they likely to have the kind of hope that inspires and drives a Christian to do amazing deeds of love and…

  13. Jesus was able, while on earth to amazingly reverse injustice (a perfect example is the blind man in John’s Gospel, who commited no sin worthy of his suffering, nor did his family!).

    Jesus not only healed a man born blind, (and one who had to suffer at least 30 years of injustice and great inconvenience and difficulty), but was able to offer this man COMPENSATION in the form of a future promise, which was believable to the man because he had been MIRACULOUSLY healed!
    This man received the amazing gift of hope, enough hope to suffer persecution for speaking the truth about Jesus. Would he say he finally got justice for his pain? In heaven, you bet he did! On earth? Probably not. He had to await a future life after death, as even Paul did.

    Now to the second half of my point, even more difficult for weak and inexperienced ‘Christians’ to grasp.

    Jesus committed suicide, and gave the prime example, along with clear and advanced teaching on this subject.

    Jesus’ death was both a murder and a suicide. We can understand this in the case of many other people.

    For instance, among police (who experience this everyday) the phrase “suicide by cop” is well-known and understood. Desperate people often provoke the police with threats and ruses to trick them into shooting them. Even though someone else pulled the trigger, it is recognised as a suicide.

    Similarly, when a mobster or gang-leader orders a murder, we know instinctively that even though he is not physically involved, and has an alibi, he is as guilty of murder as the hit-man or underling that carries out the killing. And courts will find the boss guilty if there is enough evidence.

    Likewise, even though Jesus did not physically put nails in his own hands, he is guilty of laying down his life willingly, and that is suicide, whether Christians like the term or not.

    (cont.)…

  14. At the same time, Jesus was also murdered. Those who killed him do not get off the charge of murder simply because Jesus did not resist them, in the same way as a police officer does not have an excuse to shoot a non-resisting, cooperating unarmed man.

    If a man were deranged, but were a known mental patient who was incapable of violence or harm to others, it would be wrong for a cop to play along and shoot him, just because he was waving his arms and shouting “shoot me, I’m not surrendering!”

    In the same way, the Religious leaders were still guilty of murder, even with Jesus’ cooperation. Because what they were doing was absolutely wrong and an unconditional violation of the Commandment Do not Murder.

    Nor did Jesus teach that it was okay for them to kill Him. He did not teach “Do as others want you to do to them.” but rather,

    “Do as YOU would have others do to you.”

    Under those conditions, we are not permitted to kill someone just because they want us to. This would of course rule out most cases of assisting suicides. Assisting suicides would be wrong, if you do not want someone to assist you to suicide when you might just be a little sad, or confused, or under a medical condition.

    But suicide is NOT always wrong for the person committing it.

    Jesus Himself as the prime example of love, first of all clearly and unambiguously taught this:

    “Greater love has no person than this:
    That they willingly lay down their lives for their friends.”

    That is suicide. It does not matter what the circumstances, or how heroic that suicide is. It is still killing yourself willingly and knowingly, and that is what suicide is by very definition.

    This is a wonderful thing. It means very clearly that the man who jumps in front of the train to save a child and is killed, is still a hero, and is not going to hell for killing himself.

    It means the person who risks their life going into a buring building to rescue trapped victims is…

  15. …that fireman is a hero, whether he lives or dies. Whether he foolishly risks death and saves someone, or fails and dies in the fire.

    God and Jesus are not unreasonable. And many circumstances that justify, even call for suicide, demand it, are perfectly ok with God and Jesus.

    The real issue with suicide is not whether it is universally right or wrong, because it is not a universal rule or law. There is no Commandment “Do not commit suicide.”

    The real issue with suicide is whether or not taking your life or laying down your life or risking your life is being done for the right reasons, and being done effectively.

    Christians are ALWAYS commanded to lay down our lives as LIVING sacrifices for others.

    Sometimes, we can be expected to lay down our lives as REAL sacrifices for others, even unto death.

    Christians CAN do this, because we have hope in a Resurrection, which will justify our actions.

    This of course does not justify suicide for selfish reasons or incorrect motives, but nor does it condemn those unfortunate cases.

    A man without hope or vision or Christian faith cannot be held to the same high standard as a Christian. They may be in danger of destruction or hellfire, and we may as Christians be accountable for their lives, but Jesus also taught,

    “He who sins and doesn’t know what he is doing will be beaten with few stripes, but he who sins and does know will be beaten with many.”

    This principle holds good here too. Suicides of teenagers or children, or those told they have cancer, or mental patients will find leniency with Jesus.

    Those who know better, will be held to a higher standard.

    Suicide is neither right nor wrong. Its all in the circumstances, which includes personal knowledge and motive.

    peace
    Nazaroo

  16. If Jesus’ death was a suicide, then I think we need to distinguish between kinds of suicide for the question being asked so as to differentiate between 1) those who end their life for the sake of others (or to save others’ lives) and/or others’ pain and suffering and anguish, and 2) those who end their life to stop their own pain or suffering or fear or madness.

  17. Why would you wonder if Lucian is Catholic? Here’s what the church teaches:

    Suicide

    2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of.

    2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.

    2282 If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law.

    Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

    2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

  18. Because I perhaps wrongly understood the act of suicide if not mitigated by other factors to be considered to be a mortal sin. Thanks for the CCC sections.

  19. This kind of question is always amiss. (You act like a god to ask that). You may better ask it to the one already dead ;-<

    No? Then, the question should be NOT whether someone goes to hell or to heaven when one dies. The question should be whether they have lived in heaven (= with God) or in hell ( = without God) when they die.

  20. Having lived through a suicide attempt, all I have to say is that when the attempt is a result of depression, i.e., clinical, biochemically induced depression, most people do not understand or realize the darkness that surrounds one, so that in order to end the darkness one must destroy the darkness. Having lived through that attempt, and working through the lingering darkness that remains, I have come to realize that such a condition is no different than having cancer. Without treatment, both cancer and extreme depression will end with the disease killing the individual. Even with treatment, not all cancer or depression is cured.

    My point in this, even as a Christian, I have a physical condition that can be treated and controlled, but it is always there. As a Christian, I know the joy of God’s love and forgiveness, and I look forward day by day to living in his grace and peace. But the depression could spiral out of control if care is not taken. This is no different than heart disease or cancer. Medical science is forging new treatments for all of these diseases. One hundred years ago there was no treatment for any of these. Now there is understanding of many of the biological causes and underlying biochemical interactions that can lead to the onset of these diseases, and treatments are being devised to counter the disease.

    Before my suicide attempt I would have agreed with the CC’s catechism. Now I have to say that I believe that many, perhaps most, cases of suicide are not cases of extreme selfishness. It is the disease controlling the person. I believe that it is a grave injustice before God to suggest that the one who commits suicide when in the clutches of such depression is a despicable sinner, worthy only of hell.

  21. When we dirty little Orthodox boldly attack Protestants head-on, by using Saint James’ cute little Straw Epistle, they immediately respond to our wild accusations by turning into innocent little lambs, and showing us how identical their religion is to ours: we are saved by faith alone (they say), but saving faith is never alone (they promptly add), saving faith (they continue) is a working faith — as Christ said in the Holy Gospel: by their fruits you will know them. And Saint Paul (they go on) concurs, when he describes faith as ‘working through love’ (Gal. 5:6). Thus (they serenely conclude) both the words of our Redeemer, as well as those of the Apostle Paul, agree with the ideas that Saint James, the brother of our Lord, expressed in the second chapter of his Catholic (but not “Roman Catholic”) Letter.

    Sounds all peachy-keen, fine and dandy, now, doesn’t it? — Until you get into other subjects, in which they conveniently forget all that they’ve just said somewhere else (about there not being genuine faith if there are no works to prove it, per James 2:18), and write about how someone whose works prove the exact contrary of anything even remotely resembling faith and hope, had actually saving faith all along! — by all means, then: let’s eat, and drink, and be merry!

    My two cents? You guys should get your stories straight, because, –quite frankly–, it’s getting rather annoying, irritating and insulting all at the same time, not only towards us, (your mean, fiendish, and evil dialogue partners), but also towards God’s holy Word as contained in His Sacred Scriptures.

    Eric Weiss,

    recite the line in the creed concerning the Holy Spirit, think of the actual meaning of the word Spirit in all three sacred languages (cheap tip: re-spiration), and then read the passage(s) you provided again. Thank you.

  22. The better question is: why do people still labour under such foolish and legalistic questions, even as John 3:16 has for decades now been the most-repeated sentence? O foolish moderns! Who has bewitched you, before whom pardon was clearly portrayed as acquired by believing, rather than by timing? This only I want to know from you: did you receive the Lord by chanting forth all your sins before the right time, or by faith? As it is written, “whosoever believeth in Him”; for that summary of Jesus’ goal—from the lips of our Lord Himself—says nothing at all about what whosoever does, but whether whosoever believeth. Again, it is written “believe … and you shall be saved”, wherein nothing is found about whether you die as a martyr, or by bulimia-induced starvation, or by cardiac arrest from bad eating, or by failure to move from your neighbourhood/country. It is not about you; it is about Jesus. “It is finished!” Stop being foolish, everyone! The suicide gentleman is not special enough to over-turn the love of God for him: this is the point of the gospels.

    If you think that you can commit some sin, any sin, to reverse the redemptive work of God Himself, or, for that matter, if you think that you are so cool as to have discovered the one corner of sinfulness where Jesus’ blood is none effect, or for that matter, if you think that you are capable of chanting a few lines at the right time an in so doing assuage the wrath of God in a way that believing in Jesus’ finished work could not do …
    You do not need forgiveness. You need your ego trimmed.

  23. Thus (they serenely conclude) both the words of our Redeemer, as well as those of the Apostle Paul, agree with the ideas that Saint James, the brother of our Lord, expressed in the second chapter of his Catholic (but not “Roman Catholic”) Letter.

    I have no religion, so I only speak for myself here.
    I understand St. James as saying that if you believe, you will do. This is not unusual—he was not writing a shocking thing—because whatever you believe, that same thing you will act on. You believe that you will get home safe, so you promise buy food to eat at home. That is faith that is alive (faith in the safety and certainty of the journey, in this case) and works follow from it (living as though one has that faith, hence buying stocks to deliver home). I do not see how St. James can be construed thenceforth to mean “If you do not do the works … then you do not have faith.” Because, after all, even the not-doing is itself a work resulting from faith (faith, that is, in the opposite of what would have driven the doing).

    (about there not being genuine faith if there are no works to prove it, per James 2:18)

    Actually it is you who, by your works, prove that you do not have faith in the sufficiency of Jesus’ work to save you. Again, St. James is right. You panic when you sin, because you think you are no longer covered by the blood.
    We, on the other hand, maintain “We live by faith, not by sight.” “Nothing can snatch them from my hand.” “In our weakness he is shown to be strong.” “Where sin aboundeth, Grace aboundeth even more.”
    And most-importantly: “Faith without accompanying works is dead.” Or works are primarily the trust we put in Him. Believe; the doing follows necessarily, for that faith (in whatever) is alive, hence the works (such as penance, or re-affirming “No condemnation”).

  24. recite the line in the creed concerning the Holy Spirit, think of the actual meaning of the word Spirit in all three sacred languages (cheap tip: re-spiration), and then read the passage(s) you provided again. Thank you.

    by Lucian on Aug 20, 2010 at 12:13 am

    What “passages” are you saying I provided? Are you sure it’s my comments you’re referring to?

    And what does your attack on Protestants have to do with the subject of this thread?

  25. And thanks, Lucian, for spelling out my whole name so I’d know you were referring to me and not to some other “EricW.” :rolleyes:

    Now I’ll have to endure the endless string of people ad infinitum approaching me in the comboxes here asking me: “Do you know what Harry Houdini’s real name was?”

    Thanks a lot, my friend! :D

  26. Mr. Patton, tear down this 2000(sic)-character limit.

    CMP:

    Please keep the limit, or maybe increase it by 500.

    But don’t remove the limit. Limiting post length promotes DIALOGUE – versus LECTURING or cutting-and-pasting huge lengths of Scriptures or previously-written materials. If a response can’t be written in 3,000 characters or less, it belongs in another venue, perhaps the writer’s own personal blog. If people write on at length and length and length, it hogs the discussion and becomes a monologue rivaling the thread topic post.

    My 2 cents.

  27. Hmm, Eric Weiss;

    I am compelled to accept your viewpoint. “Do you think you can turn me into a length limitist so soon?” :-D
    Because, on second thoughts, I see the community utility in preventing long-winded rants.
    Maybe, then, he should work in a reliable feedback counter.

  28. “From a practical stand point, everyone will die with unconfessed sin. Most of these will include serious sins such as greed, pride, and envy…. Christ’s death is a once for all remedy to our damnation. Because of this grace and forgiveness we should live a life that is pleasing to him, but some of us won’t do so well. That is what makes grace so wonderful and radical—indeed, beyond belief.”

    The practical question is, given this kind of theology, whether there is any kind of sin that is able to keep one from entering heaven?

  29. @ Lucian

    It’s grace my friend….grace, don’t fight it, embrace it.

  30. The beginning chapters of 1 Corinthians – addressed to perhaps Paul’s most fleshly-minded-and-acting and problematic children – as well as all of Galatians should put to rest the idea/teaching that salvation and/or the Holy Spirit are acquired or obtained by works and/or as a result/reward/gift for lengthy practices of askesis or katharsis.

    That is, assuming one “believes” in Paul’s Gospel and not “a different Gospel, which is not [really] another Gospel.”

  31. To #29 & 30

    As to the limit of the amount of text one can post, it forces me to clean up my writing. That’s very good.

    But is there any indicator to tell me when I am about to go over the limit, without resorting to open MS Word and have total characters counted?

  32. It’s grace my friend….grace, don’t fight it, embrace it.

    This statement has to be addressed to those who commited suicide, and who obviously DID fight and reject God’s grace. :-( (Choose life, not death, and all that…)

    And thanks, Lucian, for spelling out my whole name so I’d know you were referring to me and not to some other “EricW.” […] Thanks a lot, my friend!

    Ah, don’t mention it: it was all my pleasure! 8)

    You mentioned blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (the giver of life) as being unforgivable.

  33. Lucian wrote:

    You mentioned blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (the giver of life) as being unforgivable.

    I think that was Jesus, not I, who said/mentioned that. :)

    And in that context, Jesus wasn’t referring to suicide as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Mark makes it clear that it was referring to Jesus’ enemies’ charge that He was doing what He was doing because He had an unclean spirit. Which is why I pointed to more than just 3:28.

    Did YOU read the entire passage? If so, how do you derive “suicide” from it?

    Your equation seems to be:
    1. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is an unforgivable sin.
    2. The Holy Spirit is the life-giver.
    3. Therefore, to take one’s life is to blaspheme against the lifegiver, the Holy Spirit.
    4. Therefore, committing suicide is an unforgivable sin.
    5. Therefore, if a person commits suicide, he/she goes to hell.

  34. @ Lucian

    This statement has to be addressed to those who commited suicide, and who obviously DID fight and reject God’s grace.

    Huh

    How is it that you have come by your omniscience’s as to Michael sister and my sister and brother-in-law who also committed suicide?

    Let me guess……..by their fruits right. Their final act of self murder bares witness to their standing before God. You forgot one thing…..”The Mediator”

    Is it safe to say you have accepted God’s grace? If so, do you still sin? If you do could I not say that you blaspheme the name of God and stand with those who crucified Christ because you’re still a slave to sin. After all, your fruits bare witness against you; I could, but I won’t because scripture doesn’t teach that.

  35. Michael,

    I appreciate your graceful, and truthful, response.

  36. I just come across the following sentence:

    …..Until the day we die, we are clearly still within God’s plan or providence when we sin, ….

    It seems to give me something to think on our topic.

    It’s found under a paragraph heading “God’s Providence and God’s Will”
    in the current article by Jeff Mirus (Aug 20, 2010):
    “Providence, Sin and Love, for Jews and Christians”
    http://www.catholicculture.org/commentary/articles.cfm?id=458

  37. C Michael Patton wrote:

    “From a practical stand point, everyone will die with unconfessed sin. Most of these will include serious sins such as greed, pride, and envy…. Christ’s death is a once for all remedy to our damnation. Because of this grace and forgiveness we should live a life that is pleasing to him, but some of us won’t do so well. That is what makes grace so wonderful and radical—indeed, beyond belief.”

    I ask him:
    Is there any sin that is able to keep one from entering heaven?

  38. I thank the Lord for his mercy and grace that surpasses proud, self indulgent, and self righteous sin filled human beings who always have an answer for everything. I thank the Lord that he is not like some who can sit as judge against suicides with their Pharasaic and Sadduccaic “no-it-all-isms.” How sad that there are actually those who would say, “Yes he/she is in hell for committing suicide for this reason or thus.” Thank God for His Grace! Thank God He is not like us! And thank you Michael for recognizing that.

    Blessings!

  39. This statement has to be addressed to those who commited suicide, and who obviously DID fight and reject God’s grace.

    Lucian, it is not obvious that they did fight and reject God’s Grace. Rejection or acceptance of it happens at the level of faith, of believing, and you have no obvious markers of that.

    This suicide question quite clearly marks out those who rely on their works to get righteousness, and those who understand that Jesus did not lie when He said “whosoever believeth”; because a suicide has no more opportunity to work for his/her salvation in light of this sin. Does nobody read Hebrews 10 anymore? O foolish moderns! Who has bewitched you?

    Most of you in this comment box will die by (non-violent, nutritional, lifestyle-related) suicide. Suicide by bad eating is how we classify Alan Turing a suicide. “There is none righteous; no, not one.” I say this to level the ground for everyone here, in the style of “the Catechism tells you to not shoot yourself … but I tell you that whosoever eats less that ultra-vegan is a suicide”, that you may know that we all rely on the sufficiency of Grace, not what we had a chance to say, and none is better than the guy who shoots himself in the head. You base your righteousness on whether you did ((not do) something), we base ours on whether we believed.

    Whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life.

  40. Michael,

    Thanks for this post. I particularly resonate with survivor’s post because it seems to accurately reflect the medical dilemma at work when someone is experiencing depression. It most closely reflects what my family’s experience with depression was at least. Many people don’t know that there is help for many cases of depression. Many people know it but are afraid to seek help due to the negative stigma. Sometimes it can be treated with talk therapy alone … but sometimes it requires medication and sometimes even hospitalization.

    With prayer and persistence on treatment, many often find the help they so desperately need. Sometimes the person that is depressed is thinking so wrongly that they aren’t as qualified to get the help they need as someone they love might be. I know this because of walking through this with my wife.

    I don’t want to over simplify this because it is complicated and there are many misdiagnosis and ineffective treatments. I do see how someone can get to the point of suicide because I watched my wife get there. She is a wonderful Christian person and we’ve been married nearly 30 years with grown children now and we have lived through this difficult disease together. It’s a medical condition that needs attention. Early on, I made a lot of mistakes that worked against my wife getting the help she needed. I’m still learning and I’m grateful to God that we’ve been able to get to the point we are at when so many people don’t. My heart cries out for those familes.

    My biggest prayer is that people reading these posts won’t conclude it’s o.k. to commit suicide because it is forgivable. The act is tragic … and can destroy families … it happens to Christians too. It is often treatable if you go to a doctor and seek help, being persistent until you find the right treatment.

  41. Does nobody read Hebrews 10 anymore?

    Actually, various parts of that chapter, as well as other parts of Hebrews that emphasize Christ’s once for all complete work, His continual intercession for us, and the superiority of the new covenant, etc., have been shared by various persons in our church on occasion over the last several weeks. It’s encouraging, and challenges us to understand and grasp and believe what He has done.

  42. Is anyone willing to answer the question in #31 and repeated in #40 above?

  43. Dozie,

    There is no sin for which there is not forgiveness when sought. The Bible makes it clear that the blood of Christ (his atonement) cleanses us from all sin. The sin of blasphemy against the Spirit is, as best I can tell, the sin of unbelief (not yeilding to the Spirit’s conviction). When someone truly turns to Christ for forgiveness (which is simple trust and calling on him to save them), all their sins are covered.

  44. Harry Houdini, yes Hebrews is a loaded canon of an epistle (no pun intended); the believers have rarely ever used it, even as they get defeated over and over by dart-launching powers and principalities. The only problem I see with the Good News is that it really is too good to be true, and I understand if people refuse to believe it in its insane extent. “Chirst is the end of the law, that all who believe may be justified” is an offensive thing to hear and live with.

    @Dozie: If Hebrews 10 is to be taken seriously, the only sin “for which no pardon remains” is “trampling on the Spirit of Grace”. It is so, because only by having faith can one be made right with God; it follows that the only sin left for us to commit before God is to not believe in His sacrifice, and the sufficiency thereof. I regret to say that it is one we have unfailingly committed over and over, as can be seen from our emphasis on what one does (not do). If we had not, we would not have this blog post, whose title question could safely be completed as “After all, suicides can no longer do …”. O foolish moderns.

  45. Harry Houdini, yes Hebrews is a loaded canon of an epistle (no pun intended); the believers have rarely ever used it, even as they get defeated over and over by dart-launching powers and principalities. The only problem I see with the Good News is that it really is too good to be true, and I understand if people refuse to believe it in its insane extent. “Christ is the end of the law, that all who believe may be justified” is an offensive thing to hear and live with.

    @Dozie: If Hebrews 10 is to be taken seriously, the only sin “for which no pardon remains” is “trampling on the Spirit of Grace”. It is so, because only by having faith can one be made right with God; it follows that the only sin left for us to commit before God is to not believe in His sacrifice, and the sufficiency thereof. I regret to say that it is one we have unfailingly committed over and over, as can be seen from our emphasis on what one does (not do). If we had not, we would not have this blog post, whose title question could safely be completed as “After all, suicides can no longer do …”. O foolish moderns.

  46. “There is no sin for which there is not forgiveness when sought. The Bible makes it clear that the blood of Christ (his atonement) cleanses us from all sin.”

    Ok, this look like you are pedaling back from your earlier assertion. Now (above comment) you are talking about confessed sins but your original comment was about unconfessed sins, including “serious sins such as greed, pride, and envy”.

    “From a practical stand point, everyone will die with unconfessed sin. Most of these will include serious sins such as greed, pride, and envy…. Christ’s death is a once for all remedy to our damnation. Because of this grace and forgiveness we should live a life that is pleasing to him, but some of us won’t do so well. That is what makes grace so wonderful and radical—indeed, beyond belief.”

    You are free to amend your earlier comment but that was the basis for my question. I am sorry you missed it.

  47. To #42 the 27the comrade

    When you say “Most of you in this comment box will die by (non-violent, nutritional, lifestyle-related) suicide. Suicide by bad eating is how we classify Alan Turing a suicide. …” you are mixing up suicidal behavior with suicide. Otherwise, everything will be same as suicide, yeah, even Adam’s Fall was a suicide.

    It’s prudent to focus on the topic rather than divert.

  48. Eric,

    See? It wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

    How is it that you have come by your omniscience’s as to Michael sister and my sister and brother-in-law who also committed suicide?

    For the same reason I also have omniscience about what goes on inside the body of someone who came down with the common cold, fever, or influenza: I’ve been there. It’s that simple.

    Let me guess… by their fruits, right?

    See? You’re omniscient as well. (And it wasn’t so hard, was it?)

    your fruits bare witness against you;

    Of course they do. One problem, though: I’m not dead. Yet. There’s still time to repent. (Hebrews 9:27)

    Is there any sin that is able to keep one from entering heaven?

    Yes. An unrepented sin. (Like suicide, for instance).

    How sad that there are actually those who would say, “Yes he/she is in hell for committing suicide for this reason or thus.”

    Let us focus for now on condemning the sin (as opoosed to exculpating it), and not the sinner — shall we?

    Most of you in this comment box will die by (non-violent, nutritional, lifestyle-related) suicide. Suicide by bad eating is how we classify Alan Turing a suicide.

    1) That’s why there’re four Great Fasts each year, as well as two fasting days each week, plus the commandment to serve God, not the belly. (Philippians 3:19)

    2) “Everybody’s doing it” is not mentioned in the Bible as a viable excuse in front of the Throne of Judgment.

    My biggest prayer is that people reading these posts won’t conclude it’s o.k. to commit suicide because it is forgivable.

    Same here. God forbid.

    it is not obvious that they did fight and reject God’s Grace: rejection or acceptance of it happens at the level of faith, of believing, and you have no obvious markers of that.

    According to the Bible, I do. We all do. Some of them, (like Matthew 7:16, 20; 12:33; Luke 6:44; and James 2:18) were already mentioned in my…

  49. Suicide is clearly the work of the one whom Christ described as being a liar and a murderer of men from the beginning: the devil. — It doesn’t take tons of exegesis to figure this one out.

  50. Dozie,
    Let me try a different approach at explaining what I think Michael intended to say. Let me start by dichotomizing our standing from our actions. As unbelievers, how often people sin does not change their standing. Yes, their actions are wrong, but it does not make them any more or less likely to end up in hell. As members of Adam’s race, our standing before God is “condemned.” When Adam sinned, we all received his guilt as members of the human race through his representation. When Christ died sinless, we were offered His righteousness by God’s grace through faith. What was done in Adam’s rebellion was undone in Christ’s perfect obedience (Romans 5:12-21).

    The issue with salvation is not activity, but standing. I am going to heaven, not because I am a really good person, but because I stand before Him justified. Justification is simply God’s legal declaration that a person is now righteous, and this justification is brought to us courtesy of Christ’s work through which I am imputed Christ’s righteousness. No matter what I do, no matter how heinous of a sin I commit, this standing will not change.

    This is the important element. A Christian can die with unconfessed sin, and that sin can affect his walk and relationship with God, but it does not affect his standing. In a way, it is similar to our justice system, where a person can never be tried twice for the same crime with the same consequences. God doesn’t “appeal” our salvation status after violations; we stand before him reflecting the righteousness and holiness that Christ Himself possessed. Christians live just like unbelievers, and Christians sin just like unbelievers. The difference is NOT what we do, but how we stand before God through what Christ did.

    So, to answer your question, for the one who stands as “justified”, nothing can be done to negate that standing. A disobedient child may hurt his relationship with his parents, but cannot lose his place as their child.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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