Where does it say in the Bible that suicide is a direct ticket to hell? My church and many other churches believe that as long as you are saved you will go to heaven. If you are saved and become weak and sin by committing suicide, then that is a sin that God will obviously hate, but will he send you to hell for it? We just had a 45 year-old Godly man commit suicide and everyone is saying that he went to heaven. I really don't know the answer. I was brought up in church believing that you would go to hell for committing suicide but apparently not.
My response is in Green:
Like the Trinity and many other Christian doctrine, the Bible does not come right out and say that suicide is wrong, but if you look you will see it just as clearly. Let me give you a couple passages to show you what I mean. First we know and most Christians will agree that suicide is self murder. Murder is forbidden by the Bible.
Here are the other passages I wanted to show you:
(1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. We are not our own. It is up to God when we die not us. It is hard to argue that a person who kills himself is honoring God with his body.
(Romans 14:79 NIV)  For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone.  If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.  For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living. This passage shows that our lives are in Christ's hands. We live for Christ and we die for Christ, not for ourselves.
(1 Corinthians 3:16-17 NIV)  Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him; for God's temple is sacred, and you are that temple. If you look at the context of this passage it is speaking of the church as a whole, but I don't think we should discount it in reference to our bodies either. We are the temple of the Holy Spirit.
Here is another passage which I think shows this same thought: (Matthew 16:24 NIV) Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." To be a follower of Christ, you must deny yourself. Now it is pretty hard to claim a person has denied himself when he commits suicide.
(1 John 2:3-6 NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did. We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. Since suicide is against His commands, that poses a problem.
(Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV)  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Here again we see that if we deliberately sin, it shows that we don't really have a relationship with Christ. Now let me make one thing very clear. I am not saying that a Christian will never stumble and sin, but I am saying when a Christian thinks that they can deliberately sin and God will somehow just wink at it, they are sadly mistaken.
It appears that your church teaches once saved always saved. In very simplistic terms what that means is that once a person is saved all their sins are forgiven (past, present and future) and they never have to worry again no matter how much they sin. That goes against many passages of God's word.
I cannot know whether this man you mentioned is in heaven or not, but neither can anyone else. The reason I say that is because none of us can know his heart at the time of his death. Did he have a true relationship with Christ or not? Now your church may look back at his life and say it was obvious from his life that he had a relationship with Christ and since nothing can change that he went to heaven. My point is that there is something that can change that and that is his heart. We are commanded to follow Christ, or in other words to continue in the faith.
(1 Corinthians 15:2 NIV) By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. If we don't hold firmly we have believed in vain. People can twist that passage to mean whatever they want it to, but it says what it says. If we don't continue in the faith then we believed in vain in the beginning. That is what we cannot know about the person who commits suicide.
I will tell you in my opinion when a Christian gets to the point of suicide, it is the mark of a longer battle. Now that battle might have contained things which were beyond the person's free choice such as a disease which might take away their ability to make a clear choice. But if the person is thinking clearly and makes the decision to take their own life, then I think it shows that they are no longer following Christ.
This is exactly why I think that the doctrine of once saved always saved is such a dangerous doctrine. It very well might lead a person, like the man in your church, who feels that he is at the end of his rope to commit suicide and believe that God will gladly welcome him into heaven with open arms. If that is true, great, but if (as I think Scripture clearly shows) it is wrong, then many people who thought they were just getting to heaven quicker then God intended were sadly mistaken.
Again let's go to Scripture and see what a biblical response to being at the end of our rope is: (2 Corinthians 1:8-11 NIV)  We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.  Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us,  as you help us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gracious favor granted us in answer to the prayers of many. Paul too was at the end of his rope, and when he says he felt the sentence of death and despaired even of life, he is saying the same thing that the person who commits suicide is saying. The difference is that Paul said it with words not actions and in fact then realized this all was to help him learn to lean more fully on the Lord. That is what a true relationship with Christ is all about. He also says that he was greatly helped by the prayers of other believers.
Let me restate something, because people often tend to misconstrue what I am saying. I am saying that no one can know for sure what this man's relationship with Christ was at the moment that he took his own life. It is possible that he did not make a clear choice, due to many possible reasons, and I don't believe that God would hold anyone responsible for something that was out of their control. On the other hand, if the man deliberately made the choice to reject what God wanted for his life and 'get to heaven sooner' then God intended even though he knew it was a sin, then I think that it shows he had quit following Christ and had no place in heaven.
People don't like to hear that, but why should it surprise them? God demands obedience, sin is rebellion or in other words disobedience. If He requires us to have faith to obtain salvation, why wouldn't He require us to continue to have the faith? We can't make a fool of God by being forgiven and then going back to being rebellious. You have to throw the entire Old Testament away to believe that. That is exactly what many churches do. They claim that we are under grace which makes the entire Old Testament null and void. They seem to forget that the Apostles preached using the Scriptures. And what Scriptures where they using? They were using the Old Testament. The oldest New Testament writings are the letters Paul sent to the churches, then came the gospels, so they were teaching the gospel using the Old Testament. It was relevant then and it is relevant now.
I hope that helped answer your question. Go to your Bible and see for yourself. I have only quoted a small number of the passages which refer to our continuing in the faith.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)