Will God forgive those who commit suicide? This hot topic stems from a previous post about the Unforgivable Sin. Several readers have written to me with their points of view on my statement that God will forgive those who commit suicide. So, I thought it would be good to study the Bible with you about this so we can learn together what the Word of God says about forgiving those who commit the sin of suicide.
Some of the topics we will look at are:
Many people believe that if a person commits suicide that they have committed the unpardonable sin. That is not what the Bible teaches. There is only one unforgivable sin and that is the sin of equating the works of
There is no doubt that suicide is wrong though suicide is a complex matter. While we are not attempting to talk about the reasons why people commit suicide or attempt to end their lives but fail, we do want to discover what the Bible says about forgiving those who commit suicide.
However, if you are reading this and you have been thinking of ending your life, please contact the suicide hotline at https://thelifelinecanada.ca/help/ for a list of call numbers worldwide. God’s desire is for you to live.
Let’s examine the Scriptures to see what it teaches about this.
The Sixth Commandment
The dictionary definition of suicide is the intentional taking of one’s own life, meaning, to kill oneself.
Turn with me to the Sixth Commandment, Thou shalt not kill, Exodus 20:13. This is pretty clear, right? God values human life and commands that we do not kill each other and that includes killing ourselves.
Look at this command and notice that it says Thou…meaning you shall not kill. Only God has the right to take a life, not us.
You may be thinking that nowhere in the Bible does it specifically say that suicide is a sin. You would be correct on that.
However, it does say in this verse we are looking at that “you shall not kill” and since suicide is killing oneself, it is a sin.
Biblical Examples of Suicide Deaths
Suicide is mentioned seven times in the whole Bible and it does not give any moral evaluation as to whether it is right or wrong. It simply mentions the person and the situation.
- Abimelech (Judg. 9:50–57);
- Samson (Judg. 16:28–30);
- Saul (1 Sam. 31:1–6; 2 Sam. 1:1–15; 1 Chron. 10:1–13);
- Saul’s armourbearer (1 Sam. 31:1-6) (1 Chron. 10:4-5)
- Ahithophel (2 Sam. 17:23);
- Zimri (1 Kings 16:18–19); and
- Judas Iscariot (Matt. 27:5; Acts 1:18–20)
Things to note:
- All of these examples of suicide are men.
- These men were of questionable character and were not praised for their actions.
- They were spiritually dry before their suicide.
- Scripture generally presents these examples of suicide as a fitting end to a wicked and unrepentant life (Judg. 9:56; 1 Kings 16:19).
If you read through each of these Scripture passages, you will see that none of these men were condemned for the sin of suicide.
Eternal Life is Forever
Next, let’s look at two verses from God’s point of view:
- John 5:24, Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
- John 10:28, And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Put the thought of “suicide” out of your mind for now and concentrate on these truths: God has given those who believe in Him everlasting life that no one can take from Him. This is saying that you will not lose your salvation.
It is vital for you to stay in God’s will in how you live your life, how you serve God in your church and community, how you pray and worship. Staying in His Will will strengthen your faith and carry you through the storms of life that will surely come your way.
If you don’t stay connected to God, you can become unbalanced in your faith and will find yourself in situations that can cause deep stress and possible mental instability. Everyone has a different breaking point.
If you get to this point, does this mean that you no longer have salvation because you’re not walking close with God? The answer is no. You will always have salvation.
Understanding the Key Points of Salvation
To understand if a person who commits suicide is forgiven by God, you need to understand what salvation is and what it is based on.
Your salvation depends, not on your sinlessness at death, but on your decision to believe in Jesus Christ.
Following this decision, you receive the forgiveness of your sins (past, present, future), and you are able to now repent for those sins.
John helps us understand this when he quoted Jesus saying I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6.
And Luke teaches us that Neither is
We receive salvation by faith (Romans 5:1, Romans 6:23 and Ephesians 2:8-9) and those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, will not be forgiven and will go to hell when they die. (Matthew 25:46 and John 3:18)
Here’s the good news. Jesus forgives ALL our sin when we repent. He died on the cross for ALL sin, past, present and future.
Another piece of good news is that salvation is not based on works, it is based on faith, Ephesians 2:8-9. This doesn’t mean that you can sin all you want and still get to heaven, no, it means that you don’t have to earn your salvation.
So, since you did not receive your salvation by what you did, you cannot lose it by what you didn’t do.
Do you need to repent of sin to gain salvation?
You simply believe in Jesus Christ by faith and you receive salvation. After you have received it, you repent of your sins because you are saved and want to leave the past behind.
The short version is repentance is not the cause of salvation, it is the result of salvation.
You did not receive your salvation by what you did, therefore you cannot lose it by what you didn’t do.
Suicide and Eternal Life
The hard truth of suicide is that not all who commit suicide will receive eternal life. Those who have declared their belief in God will have received salvation with the promise of eternal life.
Here are Paul’s words in Romans 8:32-34, 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered
There are many who believe that because the person who died by suicide is not able to repent of his sin, that he will not have eternal life.
Eternal Life is Based on Jesus Christ
This is not true. There is no Scripture verse stating that eternal life is based on repentance of sin. Confession of sin does not save you from sin. It is only through the finished work of Jesus Christ that you are saved from sin. I know I’m repeating this but I want you to get it.
Confession of sin does not save you from sin.
Ephesians 2:8-9 clearly states 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
As stated already, only those who surrender their lives to Jesus Christ will receive the gift of salvation and eternal life which cannot be taken away.
If it could be taken away, then what would happen to the multitude of believers who do not repent of each of their sins? They do not remember them all, or simply forget to repent daily and if their lives were cut short one day, would they lose out on eternal life because they did not repent that one last sin?
According to Scripture, confession of sin does not save you from sin.
The Debate: Can God Forgive the Sin of Suicide?
Here’s the question, is suicide forgivable? Will God forgive the Christian believer who gives up on life and commits suicide?
Here are the comments I have received concerning this:
- “For God to forgive us, we have to repent from our sins and confess our sins to God.
- If someone commits suicide, he/she has no opportunity to repent or confess. Therefore, suicide is not a forgivable sin.
- Anyone who commits suicide is sent straight to hell.”
Here’s the issue and we covered it already but it bears repeating. Jesus died for ALL our sin, not just some of them or only those that we repented of before dying.
It’s hard to believe but yet it isn’t. Especially if you trust in the Word of God that what it says is true. Jesus died for ALL sin and therefore the sin of suicide when the person cannot or does not repent of that sin, is forgiven. The shed blood of Jesus covered the sin of suicide, just like it covers any other unrepented sin any believer still carries.
Suicide is NOT the Unf
Suicide is not the unforgivable sin or ‘an’ unforgivable sin. There is only one unforgivable sin and it is against the Holy Spirit by crediting demonic work to Him.
Jesus said in Matthew 12:31, Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. (Read Matthew 12:22-32 for full context.)
Jesus is teaching us two things:
- ALL sin is forgivable, including suicide
exceptthe sin against HolySpirit, crediting the work of satan to Holy Spirit.
The other thing that Jesus is teaching is that suicide is not greater than the work that Jesus did on the cross. He died so that ALL sin would be forgiven, known and unknown sin, past, present and future sin.
That’s a Wrap
Can we conclude that our convictions need to be based on the Word of God and not on what our own minds think? We are not omnipotent, omniscient, nor omnipresent. We do not think as God thinks and we do not know what He knows.
He searches the hearts and minds of His children. He knows what the deep thoughts are and He knows our heart condition. The anguish and cries of the heart do not escape Him. He has compassion for His children. When His son or daughter gives up living because they can’t handle life any longer, do you not think that He knows their heart?
Who are we to say that Jesus is wrong when He said that ALL sin is forgivable? That’s something to think about.
So, based on the Scripture verses that we have studied today, are you able to believe and trust that God will forgive the sin of suicide? If you still struggle with this, why not pray and ask Holy Spirit to help you understand His Word and to believe it?
The Scriptural truth is that God will forgive those who die by suicide. We need to believe this and trust His Word.
Have your thoughts changed about this topic? Do you now believe that God can and will forgive the sin of suicide? I’d love to hear from you.
Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through 215 Ministry.