So I recently purchased a new bible, (as I tend to do when I reach pivotal points in my life – but that’s another story) and I decided to look through its list of articles included to see if it has any on baptism as I am planning on being baptized this coming Sunday (assuming my pastor gives the okay). rather than finding any articles on baptism as I had expected to find, I found an article that definitely caught my attention. The article was listed as “Can People Who Commit Suicide Go to Heaven?” by Ryan Sharp.
Judging by the name of the article, I figured I would love it or hate it. I have found in a number of the articles included in my new bible, that I am in disagreement with a number of the articles as many of them have to do with denominational blue laws that have nothing to do with biblical laws and oftentimes lack the references I would expect to find in an Apologetics Study Bible. Anyways, holding my breath I turned to the page to see if this article would be yet another failure. About halfway through I had to stop to wipe a tear from my eye as I had finally found someone who sees it the way I do.
You see, I believe that if you were a born again Christian, and you broke down (be it mental illness or misplaced hope) your sins are still forgiven by Jesus’ sacrifice. In Sharp’s article, he states “…Christ’s death paid for all our sins – past, present, and future.” he also goes on to give an example: “If a Christian cheats on a test at school, then dies in a car wreck on the way home, that sin is still forgiven isn’t it?”
The hard truth is, a sin is a sin, many people would like to label one sin as worse than another (myself included), but that’s just now how it works, Romans 3:23 says “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” The passage makes no reference as to what levels people have sinned, but it is simply black and white. So, that person who cheated on their test is no worse a sinner than the man who kills themselves in a moment of weakness and hopelessness. “There is no sin that places a born again Christian beyond the reach of God’s love and forgiveness” (Sharp, 1339).
So am I condoning suicide? NO! Everyone’s life was given to them for a special God-given purpose, and it is our responsibility to give our lives over to God so that he may show us that purpose and help us though our though times. Suicide is not the answer. But, that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen, even to good Christians.
Some people may argue that suicide is murder, but Sharp argues in his article that there are many murderers in the bible that were forgiven by God – even the Apostle Paul was one of these murderers. So why would God not forgive the poor soul that resorts to suicide? I cannot see the loving God turn away a hurting soul that had trusted in him and not lost faith in the Lord’s eternal loving forgiveness. In conclusion, I will leave you with the words of Ryan Sharp:
Instead of getting lost in a myriad of arguments and counter-arguments, it’s best to look at what God’s Word says is the “admission ticket” to heaven. In 1 John 5:12, we read “The one who has the Son has life. The one who does not have the Son does not have life.” the recipe for eternal life is faith in Jesus Christ. We are saved by His goodness and works, not our own. Saying that confessing Christians are excluded from heaven if they happen to commit the sin of suicide misses the fact and risks adding works (good deeds) as a requirement for salvation. As John Says, “I have written these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you man know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).
The article referenced in this blog post is called “Can People Who Commit Suicide Go to Heaven?” by Ryan Sharp; it can be found on page 1339 in The Apologetics Study Bible for Students, edited by: Sean McDowell.