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Do People Who Commit Suicide Automatically 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 . . . 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.

Some may say that all sins have to be confessed before death. Roman Catholics, in fact, distinguish between mortal and venial sins. Mortal sins are those that you cannot have on your soul at death. They are the really bad ones like murder, pride, adutery, using birth control, or missing Mass without a valid excuse. Traditionally, suicide has also been among these, since suicide is a murder which is impossible to confess.

However, I disagree. While I do not believe that all sin is equal in God’s sight, there is no biblical reason to say that there are some sins that destroy the grace of God and need special penance and others that don’t. To say that we cannot have unconfessed sin when we die is problematic in many ways. 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, and will that belief persevere (another question, another time)?

The practical problem is this: If you do have to die without any unconfessed sin, how are you to be spiritually aware enough to know of 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 standpoint, everyone will die with unconfessed sin. Most of these will include serious sins such as greed, pride, and envy. Are we all then 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.

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 the temptation (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.

Hope that is helpful.

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

  1. That’s been pretty much my take on it. Having struggled with these temptations myself, I do believe that I’d still be saved. However, sometimes it is the fear of being wrong that has kept me from it.

    And I really don’t want the last thing I do before seeing God face to face is taking the life he gave me.

    I’m not suicidal right now and haven’t been in awhile in case anyone is concerned, but just wanted to share my perspective.

  2. One of the biggest problems of evangelicalism is that it turns Christians into drones. Listen, doctrine is important and knowing the Scriptures is important but God requires more than intellectual assent. Things in this world aren’t always black and white and suicide is no exception.

    Michael, I’m really enjoying your blog. You do what no pastor or evangelical leader who derives his income from writing books can do: confront the hard questions. Keep at it.

    With that said, I have had an awful doubt plaguing me: how much of Christianity is social control? When I survey history of Christianity in the Middle Ages (and how it was confluent with political power at the time) I can’t help but think of G.W. Bush’s candidacy and how he with the help of Rove secured votes due to their ‘social conservatism’ or Christian beliefs. I also think of Dobson and the way he was taken advantage by political leaders in the past.
    Are Christians just really easy to take advantage of?
    Thanks.

  3. Amen! We ALL struggle with sin. It is so easy to say a sin we don’t struggle with is unforgivable, and then overlook our own because, well, we’re trying but we’re under grace.

    And how trying we must be … to God!

    But that’s the beauty of the gospel.

    Thankfully, I do not struggle with depression. At all. I have the occasional depressed day, and on those days I sometimes wonder how exhausting it must be to feel like that for extended periods of time … periods of time when you honestly can’t think of a reason *not* to do it.

    I can’t speak to suicide because I am not given to it. But I can speak to the sins that I *am* given to. Mine happen to be sins that don’t result in my death. But what if they were?

  4. Surely the Christian life is always a mystery! WE cannot always say what is right and wrong or up and down, only the Lord can, I am talking more about those so-called ways that are not directly seen or spoken in the Word. But the Word of God should always be our direction and way of life. But when we fail, and we all surely will by measure, the grace, love and forgiveness of God in Christ will always be there!

  5. If He was regenerated,He is saved. He may endure loss as his works are burned up,but He himself shall be saved.

  6. No one can argue with that fact that all have sinned and fallen short. However, the question of regeneration still begs. Certain sins and actions are satisfying a lust of the flesh, while others speak directly to your faith in what Christ has done. While I am not one who believes that those that commit suicide automatically goes to hell. But I believe the question goes beyond whether or not God can forgive sin, its a matter of there being legitimate grounds to question the salvation of the individual. I’m glad that we are not ultimately the judges of people’s salvation, but there are certain sins/actions that would lead us to believe that this is not a Christian struggling with sin, rather this is an unregenerate person, and unfortunately suicide is one of those actions.

  7. Great, gracious answer to this tough question.

  8. Hard question. How to attack this? By defending the view that we all would love to be the truth? Who here would want more suffering (eternal even…) on those poor souls who found no other solution than ending it themselves? Not helpful.

    Can we define it better by looking into the gray areas? How about someone who, by wreckless living, essentially killing themselves slowly, softly? Obesity, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity resulting in HIV/Aids, drug abuse, etc etc?

    How about those who have a reason (so we think)? Someone who has been bullied into depression, by peers, oppressors, or by life (read depression in general)?

    How about someone who does not know what he’s doing? Popping himself or jumping off a cliff when on drugs?

    Another issue I have with this discussion: Wherein lies the sin of killing oneself? You shall not kill? Denying the help offered by Jesus, of eternal hope?

    On the practical issue, isn’t it really that suicide is the ultimate statement? It is not saying “I am unhappy”, “I feel afraid, violated, left along, confused beyond belief” etc, but rather “I give up to my feelings, I care no longer, about me, or anybody else, and I execute my right to end it”?

    Do we have the right to end our life, why not? Is it ours? Is it just rude to God, throwing away a precious gift we got, in front of him? Or is it unforgiveable? Jer 3:38, Isa 43:25.

    Thanks again for allowing tragedy as an instrument for deeper thoughts on difficult matters. Bless…

  9. By focusing on whether one can die w/ ALL sins confessed, this article misses the real point at hand. That being: what does it mean to “believe” in Jesus?

    If I *believe* the building I’m in is on fire (and I don’t wish harm on myself), I will act according to “the confession of my faith in death by fire.” I believe, as the Bible says, Jesus is life, but if I run INTO the burning structure of suicide, that NECESSARILY negates any previous faith statement. I agree w/ the assertion that, OF COURSE, all sins are NOT the same but that is mentioned for reasons not, apparently, connected to this article.

    Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? Romans 6:16

    Righteousness is not perfection, merely obedience to God’s Word in ones actions. And, as mentioned in 1 John 5:16, we know there are sins “unto (spiritual) death”. If we die IN a sin of spiritual death, how could there possibly be (biblical) redemption?

    re: salvation by grace
    My understanding is, again, once we become aware of the gift of grace we necessarily become “a new creation”. If I am a new creation w/ all, or even some, of my old flaws – including those which “make me” destroy myself – then what does that say to a person who rejects the Gospel? “Why should I follow this Jesus if those He ‘saves’ kill themselves (don’t forgive, are mean, do drugs, get tats, are…

  10. One thing has to be made clear before any debate: there is no list of sins that a true believer would not commit. If David’s horrible, premeditated, long lasting sins are not enough to convince one of that, I don’t know what could. Maybe the fact that there is no such list of sins anywhere in the Bible?

    As for the argument that some sins go against our professed belief in Christ, know that ALL sin gos against that belief. Every sin means we are turning absolutelly against our Savior and telling him we don’t need him, we don’t trust him. Our faith is not perfect, it’s not strong, it’s not unwavering. Sadness, despair, anger at God, fear… all these things may come upon any born again christian given the right circumstances.

    If some take these sins one step further and, out of a despair I can only try to imagine, decide to end the pain in a violent, terrible way, that seems to be part of human nature, just as any other of our flaws. It’s sin, it’s not more than sin.

    Oh, and if one sins “unto death”, that doesn’t mean spiritual death, please.

  11. Good post on a subject that is bound to come up for most of us in one form or another. Thanks be to God that we have an advocate, Jesus Christ.

  12. I read some of the colder, analytical answers and I wonder if people live in the same world I do. It’s not all a spiritual math problem. Reality and psychology are also factors. There are people given to depression, and those who are not. There are people that have psychological disorders, and there are those who don’t. There are those who have been dealt a really sh—y hand in life (that’s right – being a Christian does not absolve you from reality) and all they have to look forward to is pain, and there are those that seem to have comfort and ease the whole way. it’s not fair but it is true and, based on Ecclesiastes, tough.

    From their perspective, life sucks. EVERY DAY. And you really think Jesus would pull out a bible verse and coldly say, “Yes, but didn’t you know this verse and that verse and that logical argument over there? In the midst of your pit, you came up short.”

    A lot of the arguments I see ultimately boil down to being saved by a full and complete understanding of scripture, rather than saved by grace.

    People battling depression aren’t thinking clearly. To relegate them to hell because they forgot their bible lesson is not something a God of love would do.

    • I’m reading this just because I am a Christian and pray hard everyday for Gods mercy but the things of this world and being betrayed by a cheating wife have pushed me to my limits. I’m hoping all who see this know that its a hard road living in my state of mind. Sure I can find another and try to move on with my life but I’d rather be in heaven were there is no pain weather of the heart soul or body. I ask Christ for forgiveness for what I’m about to do. God bless and don’t judge reach out and love the people you know are hurting and goingthrew hard struggles. I may sound like a coward but cannot live in this world any longer. See you on the othother side.

  13. As a Catholic, I would like to add just a couple things to the discussion.

    The Catholic Church does indeed teach that suicide is a mortal sin. And at least in the last generation or so, it was commonly explained as unforgivable because it is a serious sin concerning which one would have no chance for confession and absolution.
    *But* it is now explained differently….suicide is still of course a mortal sin. However, one of the conditions for an act to be a truly mortal sin is full consent of the will. So this may reduce culpability in cases such as mental illness. God is judge. Also, even if the person committing suicide is fully culpable, we are taught to hope and pray that between the act and the moment of death, the person may, even in an instant, make an act of perfect contrition with grace given by God. God’s divine mercy is so great. The greater the evil the greater the mercy. (Interesting side note: the Catholic church has never declared anyone to be in hell. Not Hitler, not Judas, not anybody. Because it is not within her authority).

    So while we have no assurance of salvation, we are taught not to despair, but to hope and pray. I think, especially in cases like this, it is more virtuous to hope than to judge and condemn. Like the Church, final judgement is not within our authority.

    And so I pray for this man, whoever he was.
    Holy God, Holy Mighty One, Holy Immortal One, for the sake of Jesus’ sorrowful Passion, have mercy on my brother…

  14. But he answered and said, “It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.”

    “Follow me: and let the dead bury their dead.”

    “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.”

    But he turned, and said unto Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

    Cold hearted meanie – who would talk to people that way? And to His friends and those seeking His mercy no less? Some saviours, I tells ya. :(

  15. Truth Unites... and Divides March 22, 2012 at 10:28 am

    Do People Who Commit Suicide Automatically Go to Hell?

    Hey, not everybody ends up in Hell like Judas Iscariot!

    Great answer to some tough questions.

  16. I was always taught there was only one unpardonable sin.

  17. @Ananya: Great answer and Text here! (Matt. 12:31-32

    @Mark Ducharme: I can see you don’t pastor or shepherd! Such texts and language are not generally helpful here! Not the context. And note I am a Calvinist, myself.

  18. Many Calvinists teach that babies and the mentally disabled, since they are not capable of reason, are saved anyway by God’s gracious gift of faith.

    If that’s true, it seems those suffering with depression would be in a similar situation. Their brain has turned against them, and they are not behaving rationally. Their choices are not what they would be if they were not sick. I don’t think suicide in such a case is proof they never had a saving faith.

  19. A question similar to this was asked some years ago in a forum I participated in. My response, with some editing, is here:

    http://www.welivebythespirit.org/Documents/Suicide_and_Salvation_A_Letter.htm

    To summarise: it is by grace we are saved and grace can cover even a final act that might be sinful. grace is not something that has to be topped of every day, etc but rather the means of entry into a family that even suicide cannot remove us from.

  20. @Irene: This is a pretty nice post overall, but some of us Protestant Anglicans believe we can and indeed should have the “Biblical” assurance of our salvation! (Rom. 8: 10-18, etc..noting especially verse 16!) And I just bet a few Roman Catholic-Christians have this also!

    Btw, Trevor’s statement is grand: “grace is not something that has to be topped off every day”! But is always fully provisional for all sins, but normally there is of course repentance & faith, but not always in our brokenness. Here God’s grace can reach down, even when we don’t feel or sense it! Such is grace & mercy!

  21. I actually posted that quote as my FB status when he wrote it. “Grace is not something that needs to be topped off every day.” That’s awesome! by extension, you can’t ‘consume’ grace. You just have it.

  22. @Mike: Amen! Ya can’t consume grace, but it can consume you…as ‘In Christ’, ya just have it! Nice! In the hell of combat, and seeing death & dying (I was a Royal Marine), God’s grace just “kept” me! And it still does! :) But sometimes we must dig deep for it! As God In Christ wants us to trust it and Him!

  23. @Fr Robert. Yes, of course. I wasn’t trying to address assurance of salvation. Just didn’t want readers to be thinking that Catholic Church teaches suicide is a mortal sin, you’ll go to hell, and that’s that.
    By the way, I’ve read this blog off and on for a while, and I’ve always appreciated your levelheadedness and the thought you put into your comments. Actually, I often scroll through to see your remarks in particular.

  24. We’re dealing with some family “drama” right now, and having grace, and having needed grace and obtaining it, makes it a lot easier to give it, as well.

    I don’t know if people who commit suicide go to hell automatically or not. I don’t think they do. But either way, I can have grace and show grace to those left in their wake. And if I err, it will be on the side of being too graceful, rather than not. I may need it to come back my way some day. I probably will, actually. :)

  25. @Irene: Thank you for the kind words! I was raised Irish Roman Catholic (Dublin), and I have bascially good memories of such, I had a Father Sweeny, an Augustinian (his order and education) priest, who was providential in my life! I know He sees the Lord now! (RIP)

    Btw, I still read many R. Catholic theologians, mostly the somewhat older ones, I like Hans Urs Von Balthasar and Henri De Lubac, who both got the Red hat as I remember? And an old friend, Joseph Fitzmyer! But just recently a young Catholic blogger called the first two liberals, and myself a liberal because I read them! lol Strange, someone calling me a liberal? They (he) don’t know me or my theology! I am even a conservative political Brit! And I like and watch FOX News! ;)

    Well, sorry for the side-bar.

    Best of blessings..

  26. No one “automatically” goes to hell…or Heaven, for that matter.

    There’s a judgement where Christ Jesus will decide.

  27. Thanks Mike for sharing and for the insight. My little brother committed suicide a number of years back. Even 15 or more years later it still haunted me that I did not know his heart at time of death. My brother was my best friend, i did what i could to watch out for him, but drugs and alcohol won that battle. For years I have been hurt and angry over him. I think that their sin does not end with the murder of themselves, its the pain they leave for the living. I am encouraged buy what has been said here. I believe whole-heartily that Jesus’ sacrifice cleansed us for eternity and I am hopeful that I will once again be able to hug his neck one day in heaven. Thank you all for opening my eyes to the Truth.

  28. Thank God for the believer the Bema-seat of Christ will be a glorious blessing! (1 Cor. 4:3-5) As Christ alone will reveal the blessing of the new nature in each redeemed. (Rev. 3:12) “Which is Christ in you, the hope of glory – or glorification.” (Col. 1:27) We don’t hear much of this teaching in the Church today, for the Holy Scripture does use much metaphorical language when talking about the redeemed in heaven or glory. But again, our “image” is Christ. His perfection and beauty! But when God looks upon the redeemed He sees His Son! (Heb. 13: 20-21 / 1 Peter 5: 10 / Jude 24-25)

  29. You’d better be right, Fr. Robert…or I am toast…

  30. I must confess that when I started reading the first few lines I thought “CMP will be biased here because of what happened to his sister and find a way to theologically justify this” (kind of a ‘genetic fallacy’ accusation).

    But having read your response, it stands on its own feet and the defense is theologically convincing.

    Having said that, I don’t where dying with unconfessed sin leaves an adulterer who dies from a heart attack during intercourse with his mistress or the Christian who’s hooked on porn and gets run over by a bus, or someone dying clutching on to unforgiveness (Matt 6:15?) etc. And while these may sound like shallow caricatures, they are not beyond the realm of reality.

    (John from Down Under)

  31. Me too Steve! “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, my flesh..” (Rom. 7: 18) Here the conflict is the Two Natures, that great I of sin and self. But thank God for the new nature! (Rom. 8:9-11)

  32. JFDU: There is simply no sin greater than the sin or sins of omission, those sins we cannot see in ourselves! Which come from the selfishness of the old nature, we can never kill this root in this life! So again, God does not “see” sin or sins in the believer, and again this is all because of Christ! Of course we are talking about our Christian position or standing here, for the state of each Christian believer ebbs and flows, with our spiritual growth hopefully in or under Christ’s Lordship. But we must acknowledge the grave possibility of our failure…”saved; yet so as by fire.” (1 Cor. 3:15) says Paul, but with great personal loss. Here I admit a profound mystery! But oh how dull we are to judge our sin/sins, only in the New Man, or nature can even attempt such! And thank God we have two Mediators, Christ above on the Throne of God, and the Holy Spirit Himself within! (1 John 2:1 / John 14: 16…”Parakletos”, Gk.)

  33. And I am btw, not advocating any lines of ‘once saved always saved’! I am a Calvinist, I believe in Christian Perseverance, unto the end! But, there is simply no perfection even here!

  34. CMP, please forgive me, but I do not follow your arguments. I would like to, but I can’t. I am not trying to prove the opposite, but I cannot see that you come to a reasonable explanation backing what I think is your conclusion.

    I conclude your argument as in: If we once accepted Jesus, repented and all that, carried on performing premeditated sin we’d still go to heaven, regardless. All other people go to hell. Is that what you are saying?

    “Christ’s death is a once for all remedy to our damnation.” OK. So from God’s side, there is salvation from hell (or damnation, I assume we talk about the same thing). Does that mean all people are safe from going to hell (automatically or not)? No? Some will, yes?

    So who goes to hell then? What is the other component required? Answer: Rejection of Christ’s offer of salvation. Right?

    So, is ending my life (on earth, I cannot kill my spirit, can I?) a way to reject Christ’s offer of salvation or not? No, why?

    Is that too simple way to view the problem posed in the header? The question is not if suicide is a sin or not. I agree with all that. Nor is it whether or not we are all sinners. It is about “how far” we think God will extend his grace. No?

    I cannot see how we can determine that by using our minds to analyse that. I cannot prove it either, I just have a feeling we are all guessing here.

    Can our human moral logic comprehend the paradox God’s grace vs God’s holiness?

    Who is hell for…

  35. @ Robert: FWIW, and correct me if wrong but, there is a place & time for different things. This is a *forum* in which was presented, I presume, a serious question – I am not disposed to a pastoral mode in this setting. My take, and again correct if wrong, is when serious questions are posed we should address them as if a soul hung in the balance – because we just might be entertaining seekers unawares.

    That said, let me repeat my question above: What are we, the body, to say to a person asking, “If your Jesus ‘saves’ people and makes them into ‘new creations’, why do they still kill themselves (do drugs, hate, don’t forgive, judge, live as worldly as they come, etc.)?”

    Personally, the Bible contains my “default” positions and, for the life of me, I am unaware of any Holy Ghost filled, NT types going about their lives in the grips of any self destructive neuroses. In fact, when such an instance is mentioned (and they don’t immediately heal them because they are willful in their behaviour), it is suggested that person be let go so as to let Satan have his way that they might gain revelation & be liberated from the bondage of their sin.

    Anyway, do you have an answer for that curious non-believer? Thank you

  36. Nobody is seeing this as a Calvinist/Arminian conflict. Arminianism is a works religion. Free will gets you in and free will can get you out. Suicide is a sinful work of the will so of course one can lose his salvation. Calvinism is a religion of grace. One cannot gain or or lose it by acts of the will. It’s a gift that cannot be refused or lost. So if one is regenerated,He has been elected to eternal life and that is what he has. The real problem is that men just can’t believe God is the Potter and they are the clay. They crave control over their destinies.

  37. Like some have said above, the question is not whether a person can be saved and commit suicide, but rather what kind of fruit is exhibited by such an act. To ask a similar question, would we doubt someone’s salvation if they committed a murder?

  38. @Mark: The majority of this post is asking about what a Christian thinks about suicide, and does such suicide automatically send the one or the soul who commits such, to an eternity without God In Christ? This was the question! And as our Roman Catholic sister and friend has commented about the RCC position now days, the answer, from there, as for others too, appears to be no! And so it of course depends on each individual situation, etc. But, I think many would agree it is not based itself on the essence of sin or sins itself. Most would agree that sin has been defeated by Christ on the cross and thus forgiven, and so one simply cannot “sin” their way out of grace. But, wilful sin, and constant sin would no doubt be another question, as this manifests perhaps someone who is not really regenerate. So I myself don’t see this as a question of holiness, or again “sins” in themselves. And as has been stated, when a so-called Christian commits this sin, he or she is usually not in a position of a rational mind. So, there are really no obvious scripture texts, that we can turn to, and say, oh yes.. here is the answer, at least by subject. We could ask, did Samson sin against God when he killed himself, among the enemies of God, though he killed many of them? I mean Samson did put himself in that position by his not listening to God, and obviously as a Jew being with a pagan woman. But that whole history is much different I think.

    So the question for us is more a…

  39. Michael: (Post 40) Morre comfortable with that question, as such. Agree, similar, but you’d have to amend it somewhat to be relevant. Person (Christian, follower of Christ, at some point in life) committing a murder, then gets killed almost instantly (well enough not to have time to repent anyway…) afterwards.

    Similar, more similar, but still not the same.

    Same in as much as: Can you be a Christian, a follower of Christ and deliberately sin, passing the stage of physical death and trust grace will save you?

    So, does passing on from life on earth to death make a difference? When does grace come into play? Is it here now, are we sinful, unclean now and go through some sort of transformation later, before entering the throne of God or something? If that is the case, does what we have done (grade of sinfulness etc) during our time here come into play then? Or is it different? Can someone get saved after death?

    Finally, adjacent to the above, what is the difference between a Christian passing on with unforgiven sin, and a non Christian passing on with unforgiven sin? God’s grace is the same (poured out for all mankind) but we argue that one is excluded from the grace. If that is the case, we can still not work out the answer to whether or not there are different grades of sin. Even with the support from scripture. Can we? Are we asking the right questions? Do we have the tools to compute the equation?

    Cheers,

    H-man

  40. In the end, we are cast upon God, as was Job in his grave calamities! We sometimes simply don’t have all the answers, this is quite often hard for Christians who are used to cut and dry biblical answers! I have not found the Christian life to be that simple myself, but I still love the Word of God, and the God of that Word! And I move along in faith, hope and love!

    Btw, I am at present semi-retired, and do mostly hospital chaplain work now, and believe me, this is not always easy! No quick answers many times, even for Christians.

  41. @H-Man: Your last paragraph, simply must include the question and mystery of God’s electing grace, as our brother JW has pointed out! Perhaps we have not really included this posit, from the doctrine of God? Note, I am myself not an evidentialist, but a certain biblical presuppositionalist! I can only be on certain ground there! God’s grace is certainly not the same for the elect believer, verses the “non Christian”!

  42. Fr. Robert (Anglican, semi-retired, chaplain, biblical presuppositionalist and elect believer I suppose?)

    Interesting spin, but are we getting closer? :)

    Concept of election is “funny” (as in hard to understand why it’s left out in so many places in scripture). I suppose John 3:16 need to be revised, or should read more like:

    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him, prior to having been elected of course, shall not perish but have eternal life.

    H-man (uncertain sinner)

  43. H-man: Btw, our blog host, Michael is also a “Calvinist”! But surely we cannot really understand the grace of God without the doctrine of God, and in my biblical/theological belief, in that doctrine God is always Sovereign! And yet, in this place God is always a certain mystery too. But, I will always as Augustine, and then too the Reformers, Luther, Calvin, etc. stand in this biblical tension!

    No uncertain sinner here! Btw, I did my Th.D. (back in the mid 90’s) on Romans studies, and especially Romans chapter 7. And I took the classic Reformational-Reformed position.

    Btw, I am 62, 3 this late Oct. Yeah I am gett’in older! So I have covered some ground in my life. ‘In Christ’ by the grace of God for well over 40 years…thanks be to God!

  44. Fr. Rob,

    What you’re telling me in essence is that an unrepentant and practicing adulterer can have Jesus AND his mistress and march into heaven undeterred. So repentance is optional. Troublesome thought indeed.

    Where does the imperative to “strive for…holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14) go then? Strive for “to pursue with malignity” Gk (deeohkehthe) διώκετε. Same Greek word as “persecute” which would denote active intensity of pursuit rather than a passive submission to an ethereal concept.

    I’m no theologian, but it can’t be possibly referring to imputed holiness in a vicarious sense (through Christ) as the imperative is directed at us (2nd plural present active imperative).

    Or…let’s move away from the sleazy adulterer and use the scenario of someone refusing to forgive others. What is your understanding of “if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt 6:15). Why would he not forgive your trespasses if you’re already forgiven once and for all on the cross?

    John

  45. @John, Check out King David, adulterer & murderer! But, repentant certainly…Ps. 51 and too Ps. 32. I never said no repentance, but when one is in some place of emotional and mental stupor, we cannot make moral judgments completely. This was my point, note again I pastor people, and I see this all the time, even with confessing Christians.

    And this blog post question did not start out as “theological” question, but more of a suppositional question. So we cannot really get to this theologically it appears? The weakness sometimes of the blog, but we cannot solve such issues here certainly, but just dialogue somewhat.

  46. JFDU, I am with you on that Fr. Robert’s stand, and Calvinism seems to be a bit of a balancing act.

    Fr. Robert, good going, congrats on a successful years, and many more to come! Cheers.

    I am sure someone can get to it theologically. Since theology is what we all believe it to be, we all have our own. Don’t we? Albeit, some correct strictly academically speaking, whereas others (like me) just try to get our heads around it with limited time, resource, intellect etc. However, I am equally certain that nobody can convince me. Regardless of how cleverly it is argued. Perhaps the dialogue is more important than reaching the conclusion (which is what I think you are saying). :)

    Look. Here are the two cruical questions Fr. Robert:

    1) If I choose to execute my free will this afternoon, and end my life, will God forgive me? Can you give me a 100% guarantee on that? Because I do not want to end up spending eternity in hell.

    2) OK, OK, you don’t know if I am a true Christian. Fair enough, what is the litmus test please?

    I would say: I’d say you can’t answer that, with a 100% guarantee.

    And no, I am not going to. I am not considering it either. I can humbly say that I don’t think I would be brave enough, if I ever ended up in a situation where I was so emotionally damaged to consider the option.

    I will stop here, and wait for the topic of Euthanasia to show up. Or has that already been covered?

    Peace!

    H-man

  47. Thanks for the added contribution from our Catholic friend.

    JW,

    Most Arminians do not believe that one can sin their way out of salvation. So they would not say that suicide is a sin that sends you to hell. For the Arminian (again not all) the only way for a saved person to no longer be saved is to let go of their faith and not persevere in it to the end. Suicide does not amout to a forfeit of faith. My sister died with a copy of Chuck Swindoll’s Day by Day open in front of her.

  48. H-man: More suppositional questions that cannot be answered. We are always pressed back to faith and the Word of God, itself.

    Here is a nice link, the domain of the Holy Scripture!

    “A Christian believes, not because everything in life reveals the love of God, but rather despite everything that raises doubt. In Scripture too there is much that raises doubt. All believers know from experience that this is true. Those who engage in biblical criticism frequently talk as if simple church people know nothing about the objections that are advanced against Scripture and are insensitive to the difficulty of continuing to believe in Scripture. But that is a false picture. Certainly, simple Christians do not know all the obstacles that science raises to belief in Scripture. But they do to a greater or lesser degree know the hard struggle fought both in head and heart against Scripture. There is not a single Christian who has not in his or her own way learned to know the antithesis between the “wisdom of the world” and “the foolishness of God.” It is one and the same battle, an ever-continuing battle, which has to be waged by all Christians, learned or unlearned, to “take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:5)
    Here on earth no one ever rises above that battle. Throughout the whole domain of faith, there remain “crosses” (cruces) that have to be overcome. There is no faith without struggle. To believe is to struggle, to struggle against the…

  49. You simply can’t “do the math” on God and know you’re right. Theology is the result of “doing the math.” Armenian, Calvinist, pre-/post-trib, charasmatic or whatever – we’ve *all* done the math … some better than others … and come up with a wide variety of answers. Theologies.

    The main thing is, love the lord your god with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. Truly do your best to be right with him. THEN do your theology and go with it. You can never be certain your theology is correct, only that it is genuinely pursued. To *know* you are right is to *know* you have figured out God, and you haven’t. Calvanists, armenians, what have you – we’re all wrong at some level. And we’re all right at some level. But all we can KNOW is that our search is genuine and my theology is where it has led me.

    Back to suicide – I don’t know. But based on what I see in scripture and my genuine desire to know Christ and him Crucified, I am led to the conviction that suicide does not, in and of itself, send you to hell. But who knows? Maybe it does.

  50. If *saved* Christians go around killing themselves (engaging in every other negative activity the rest of the world does) how are we to answer the doubting non-believer who says this reflects poorly on our claim(s) of “a new life in Christ”?

    For the sorrow which God gives is the cause of salvation through a change of heart, in which there is no reason for grief: but the sorrow of the world is a cause of death. 2 Cor. 7:10 (BBE)

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