Suicide....can a Christian do it?

In light of recent news, it has made me think about this subject of suicide. Can a Christian do this?
If you believe in the perseverance of the saints and God's faithfulness to keep you from falling, how can a truly saved person do this?

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Bob T.'s picture

A Christian can commit any and all sins. Perseverance has to do with our being kept by a gracious God based upon our declared justification. We have been given an umbrella of declared sinlessness (Justification) under which we work out our salvation with regard to our continuing residing sinfulness. Many Christians commit countless thought sins. All of us are guilty of various behavior sins. There is no sin that is so small it would not make us fall from salvation if our perseverance was connected to behavior.

Awareness of changed behavior may bring a sense of assurance based upon God's power in us. It also is a witness to others. But the basis for our absolute assurance are the promises of God based upon the person and work of Christ. We are united with Christ by faith alone. The initial result is our Justification and regeneration. Regeneration is of our present unglorified soul and may bring change but not sinlessness. If any sin can separate the believer from the love of God then no one will be saved and no one has ever been saved. Perseverance is with regard to salvation not being kept sinless.

Mike Durning's picture

Saul essentially committed suicide, yet Samuel prophesied that Saul and his sons would be "with me".
I know that's not a NT believer, and I know it's possible Samuel meant "in death", but it may indicate something.

Samson committed suicide, though there was a hint of self-sacrifice for his people in the event. Nevertheless, he is listed as a hero of the faith in Hebrews 11.

Just a few thoughts.

MarkClements's picture

As much we are pained to hear that a believer has become so despondent over sin or circumstances of life that he or she would commit suicide we have to be careful not to fall into Roman Catholic theology of classifying sins as mortal and venial. Someone who commits suicide has a damaged view of God but, as far as I can see in Scripture, doesn't lose their salvation just because they take their own life.

God isn't honored by suicide because it basically cries out that "God can't handle my problems so I will." Yes, it's a terrible testimony to the world; however, I'd be hard-pressed to say it's complete evidence of a lack of perseverance. It could be just that, or it could be the failure of a believer to walk in the Gospel in a time of intense temptation or difficulty.

Joseph's picture

MarkClements wrote:
It could be just that, or it could be the failure of a believer to walk in the Gospel in a time of intense temptation or difficulty.

While you're right to question Catholic theology on this point, I would suggest that you've not gone far enough. Indeed, the above could be read as reflecting a significant lack of sensitivity. Although it does not cover all cases, we know some people are, beyond their control, subject to pyschological problems that can lead to suicide. I knew a family in my parent's church in which the mother was prone to horrible depression and suicide attempts - her mother and aunts had committed suicide, and she took regular medication because she had a clinical problem that ran in her family. With people like her it's grossly insensitive to not acknowledge the pyschological complexities of the state people are in when they seriousy consider or attempt suicide. It's terribly reductive to label such a state "sinful," even in some irrelevant (with respect to their suicide or depression) sense that may be true.

CharlesChurchill's picture

I think the question regarding suicide has more to do with assurance of salvation than the possibility of salvation. One would be hard pressed to say that anyone who commits suicide cannot be in heaven, but one could say quite plainly that a person who commits suicide has almost no reason to have any assurance of their salvation. Salvation is of the Lord, assurance is largely through works and other evidences of the Spirit. One who commits suicide is testifying to a very poor relationship with God and very little evidence of the work of the Spirit.
Furthermore, I think one who claims to be saved who is struggling with suicide should be talked to in this manner. Christ desires us to hold fast to what He has set before us, he desires us to labor and to strive in our faith. The person who is thinking of suicide should know exactly what it means. We are all so prone to self-deception, there is not a point where we should stop asking ourselves, "Am I fooling myself? Do I truly love Christ with all my heart, or have I loved some other thing and called it Christ instead? And if I can take my life, which I know does not belong to me, why do I believe that I am a child of God?"

Good topic.
Charles

Jay's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
I think the question regarding suicide has more to do with assurance of salvation than the possibility of salvation. One would be hard pressed to say that anyone who commits suicide cannot be in heaven, but one could say quite plainly that a person who commits suicide has almost no reason to have any assurance of their salvation. Salvation is of the Lord, assurance is largely through works and other evidences of the Spirit. One who commits suicide is testifying to a very poor relationship with God and very little evidence of the work of the Spirit.

I disagree. I know Christians that have gotten so overwhelmed with life's circumstances that to be with the Lord was the 'greater gain' [because, after all, it is ] and thus considered expediting heaven in the middle of all of their earthly turmoil. Fortunately, they chose not to.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

CharlesChurchill's picture

Jay C,
And the question is, Scripturally, what basis did they have for their assurance of salvation? The fruit of the Spirit? The joy in their hearts? I'm not saying they were saved, I'm saying that Scripture (particularly in I John) lays out how we have assurance of our salvation, and at that point, most people have no reason to have any. To be clear, I'm not speaking to whether they are actually saved.

Charles

Mike Durning's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
I think the question regarding suicide has more to do with assurance of salvation than the possibility of salvation. One would be hard pressed to say that anyone who commits suicide cannot be in heaven, but one could say quite plainly that a person who commits suicide has almost no reason to have any assurance of their salvation.

Charles,

Why do they need assurance of salvation if they're already dead? Don't they already know by then? Wink

Sorry. Couldn't resist. I actually do understand what you're saying.

Mike D

Jay's picture

CharlesChurchill wrote:
And the question is, Scripturally, what basis did they have for their assurance of salvation? The fruit of the Spirit? The joy in their hearts? I'm not saying they were saved, I'm saying that Scripture (particularly in I John) lays out how we have assurance of our salvation, and at that point, most people have no reason to have any.

If a believer is especially overwhelmed by life's circumstances, they can and do act foolishly. [Isn't that what sin is? ]

If a pastor of 45 years preaches with great power, 'wins dozens of souls', and has national name recognition for his gifted ministry, then realizes that his closet mistress is coming out and announcing their affair, the temptation to suicide might be greater than living with watching everything implode and losing his name, his family, and his finances.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Todd Wood's picture

I believe that a believer has the potential to actually murder others or murder self.

And we as believers need to be continually repenting of the self thinking in our minds. The warfare that goes on between our two ears is real and ongoing.