Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Is Suicide Forgivable?
A preacher once related his experience at a Hindu funeral of someone who committed suicide. The pundit conducting the service stated that those who commit suicide have lost all chance of forgiveness. The preacher marveled how even a Hindu pundit could get such a revelation of truth. First of all I question whether that is really a truth, and secondly how much that pundit really knows about Hinduism.
There is one sin that is unforgivable – blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Matt. 12:31, 32). 1 John 5:16, 17 also speak of a sin unto death. The context of 1 John suggests that John has in mind apostasy as being that sin unto death, for which there is no forgiveness (cf. Heb 6:4-6; 10:26). It is difficult to say exactly what blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is, but I believe it is the same sin as apostasy. In any case, neither passage implies that suicide is the unforgivable sin.
Suicide however is unique in that it is difficult to repent of it after committing it. This raises the question of whether repentance is necessary for forgiveness. It is necessary for forgiveness in the sense of reconciling broken fellowship with God (Isa. 59:1, 2). Confession of sins and repentance are necessary to maintain an open relationship with God, not to maintain salvation. The context of 1 John 1 is fellowship with God (vs. 3). But as long as we are in Christ, the blood of Jesus continually cleanses us of all sin (vs. 7) whether or not we repent. We should confess our sins if we desire an intimate walk with God, but even if we do not, our salvation is not affected. Thus suicide is forgivable.
The real question is not whether suicide will prevent one for going to heaven – it will not. Only unbelief will (John 3:18). It is whether a genuine Christian will commit suicide. I personally do not believe that they would but in the rare event that they do, it will not deny them of heaven. What ultimately determines whether we go to heaven is whether we were in Christ.