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>>>What happens to a Christian who commits suicide?

2/10/2005 -- Steve's comments about his attempts at suicide

3/6/2002 -- Jim's comments about suicide and God's "fairness"

Did Judas repent? Is sorrow for sin the same as repentance?

Soul sleep? (Does a Christian who dies go IMMEDIATELY to heaven?)


Did Judas Iscariot repent after he betrayed Jesus?

Background

Bible Bell's Newsletter for 8/20/99 had a short item that compared the remorse of Judas Iscariot with the repentance of Peter...

  • Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus. After the betrayal, Jesus was arrested, illegally tried, then crucified. Judas felt sorry for what he had done, and hung himself.
  • Peter denied that he knew Jesus. After that, Peter felt sorry for what he had done, and wept. In the last chapter of John, you can read of how Jesus (after His resurrection) "reinstated" Peter.
  • After this very brief Newsletter item was published, we received messages with comments concerning whether or not Judas truly repented in the Biblical sense of repentance.

The following paragraphs contain...

  • The Newsletter item
  • Two messages from our readers
  • A few lines of our further thoughts on the intriguing question of the fate of Judas

Extract from Bible Bell News 27-990820 dated 8/20/99

E) Repentance versus remorse

And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.'' Then he went out and wept bitterly. (Mt 26.75)

(Judas Iscariot said...) "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.'' And they (the Jewish council) said, "What is that to us? You see to it!''
Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself. (Mt 27.4-5)

E1) Peter denied Jesus, then repented. Judas betrayed Jesus then killed himself INSTEAD of repenting.

E2) To repent is to LIVE FOR JESUS. Peter did. Judas didn't.

Extract from a message sent by a reader named Kathy

Kathy writes: If Judas threw down the silver and killed himself, wouldn't you say he felt remorse? Maybe he took the coward's way out but I still wonder.

Bible Bell's reply to Kathy

Dear Kathy,

As always, it's a joy to hear from you. You raise an interesting point. Acts 1.16-25 indicates that, after his death, Judas went to "his own place." Hmm. I'm not fully certain what this means (the Bible doesn't say) but I wouldn't think it means he went to heaven.

Yes, Judas felt remorse, but remorse and repentance are not totally synonymous terms. The "theologically pure" definition of repentance is: to turn FROM sin TO God. It seems evident that Judas turned away from his sin of betrayal BUT -- did he then turn TO God? I think not. In Mt 27.4-5, Judas referred to Jesus as "innocent." Judas did not refer to Jesus as Savior, Lord, or God.

People can turn away from sin WITHOUT turning to God. Many people aim to "reform their ways" but do not necessarily intend to become followers of God. They are sorry for what they have done. They are sorry for the bad feelings that their actions have brought to their consciences. But they are not necessarily sorry for the effect of their actions upon God Himself. In fact, they may not even believe in God.

In my OPINION, when a person completes a true act of repentance by turning TO God, I believe the result will be a desire to live, not to die. When a person truly repents, that person's remorse will be displaced by a sense of overwhelming joy and relief as he or she experiences the love and forgiveness of God.

Am I making any sense? Maybe not. It's a complex topic. I'll think about it some more.

Extract from a message sent by Pastor Harold

One minor point. If you use some of this on your Web Page, one item needs a little clarification.

BBN stated "
E2) To repent is to LIVE FOR JESUS. Peter did. Judas didn't."

To live for Jesus is the
result of repenting which Peter did & Judas didn't.

Matt. 27:3 states that Judas "repented himself", but the Greek word is
metamelomai which means "to have remorse" which differs from metanoeo which means "to have another mind" which is the root word for repent.

For further study

Which category are you -- "A" or "B" or "C" or "D" ???

  • Category A - You enjoyed this discussion but wish it had gone deeper into the topic
  • Category B - You disagreed with or didn't fully understand parts of this discussion
  • Category C - You found this discussion boring and irrelevant (in which case you probably didn't read this far, so... tra-la-la)
  • Category D - Everybody else

If you fall into categories "A" and/or "B" you probably have reached the stage in your Christian growth where you would profit by owning and reading...

"What the Bible Teaches" by R.A. Torrey, Fleming Revell Co (about $15 in hardcover)

 

What happens to a Christian who commits suicide?

Ken writes: I really need to know if Christians who commit suicide automatically go to hell.

Dear Ken,

Your Pastor is the best person to answer your question concerning the fate of a Christian who commits suicide. In the paragraphs that follow I have given a few basic thoughts on the subject but they are BY NO MEANS a fully adequate answer to this very difficult matter.

Suicide is SIN because...

  • Suicide manifests a lack of faith in God, who has promised to meet a Christian's every need. (Phil 4.19)
  • Suicide is disobedience to God's command that Christians are to LIVE by faith. (Rom 1.17)
  • Suicide is murder of one's own self. As such, suicide disobeys God's command not to commit murder. (Exod 20.13)
  • Suicide violates the fact that a Christian's body belongs to God. (1 Cor 6.19)

The Bible does not directly and specifically say exactly what happens to a suicide victim in relation to his or her eternal salvation. We do know that...

  • Every Christian must stand before God's judgment. (Rom 14.10, 1 Cor 3.11-15, 2 Cor 5.10).
  • God is all knowing, fair and merciful. Accordingly we can be sure that God's judgment will give due consideration to a suicide victim's motives and circumstances. (For example -- a suicide victim may have been mentally unbalanced because of such factors as overwhelming physical or spiritual pain, panic, hallucinations, and so forth.)
  • The death of Jesus on the cross atoned for the Christian's sins. (1 Cor 15.3, 1 John 2.2)
  • The Christian has Jesus Christ as his or her own personal Advocate and High Priest in heaven (1 John 2.1, Heb 4.14)

SUMMARY: We know that God's mercies are great beyond comprehension. We know that the blood of Jesus is infinitely sufficient. In the Bible, however, I can find NO ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE as to how God deals with a Christian who takes his or her own life.

Again I strongly recommend that you seek a fuller answer to your question by discussing it with your Pastor. You might want to take this message with you when you meet with him, so he can clear up any problems he perceives concerning the information I have provided.

2/10/2005 - Further Comments about Christian Suicide
by Steve

Steve writes - I won't go into details, but I became a Christian because I was
depressed. Part of that depression involved attempted suicide on many occasions.

I then got saved. Things got better. In fact, things were great. But I still suffered from depression, and I still had suicidal THOUGHTS. All the things that I was doing, self-harming, and attempted suicide, they turned into THOUGHTS and not actions. This began to open my eyes on what the devil can do. You see (fortunate for me) the Lord knows my weaknesses and forgives them. Unfortunately, the devil also knows my weaknesses, and he acts upon them.

Because of this, I turn to the Lord and ask Him to deal with it for me, because I can't. I still get down, and so I say, "Lord, please help me with this, I can't cope." And He deals with it.

I don't know what I am trying to say, but just thought I would post up my thoughts.

Cheers, Steve

3/6/2002 - Further Comments about Christian Suicide
by Jim

Jim R. writes - I have just recently come across your website, and it is wonderful! In the short time I have been aware of it, it has indeed been a blessing to me.

Now for my 2 cents worth on Christians and suicide:

  • When Jesus died at Calvary, He paid the price for All sin.
  • The Bible says that when a person is saved, no one can snatch them from the hand of God. (Editor: Jim refers to John 10.27-30, I think.)
  • One sin can't be weighted more than another, for all sin is an abomination to God.
  • If I can't lose my salvation for one, I can't lose it for any of them.

In your answer to this question, you stated that God was "Fair". I praise God everyday that He is NOT "Fair".

If God were "Fair", I would get what I deserve from Him. But since He is "Merciful", and not "Fair", I am the recipient of his "Grace", which means I get so much more than what I deserve.

I am certainly NOT a Bible Scholar, but I am confident that God always keeps His promises, and His promise is that if we accept that we all have sinned and fallen short of His Glory, and accept that when Jesus died at Calvary we died with Him and had our sins paid for with His blood, and trust Him as our own personal Savior, then we have eternal life.

We can do nothing to save ourselves, hence we can do nothing to "un-save" ourselves.

God Bless, and I'll keep reading!
JIM R.

Biblebell replies - "Gee I wish I had written that!"

Folks, don't you just KNOW that God beamed with pleasure at the lovely thoughts expressed by His son Jim?

Okay, here's what I wrote that sparked Jim's comments: "God is all knowing, fair and merciful."

Jim is right. I should NOT have used the word "fair." What I should have written is this: "God is all knowing, JUST, and merciful."

It might sound nice to say something like "God gave me mercy instead of justice," but it doesn't tell us all that we need to know about this topic...

  • If God had wished to save you and me based SOLELY on mercy, and without any regard to justice, then Jesus need not have died to atone for our sins.
  • It is precisely because God IS just that Lord Jesus had to suffer and die on the cross.

God Himself met the law's demands. God was just in that He Himself JUSTIFIED us, whereby we were made RIGHT under the law...

Romans 3.25-26
God sent forth (
Jesus) as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness <dikaiosune>, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness <dikaiosune>, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
Strong's 1343 dikaiosune, dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay
equity (of character or act); specially (Christian) justification:--righteousness.

Does a Christian who dies go IMMEDIATELY to heaven?

Karen writes: Hello Bible Bell, I have a question. When we saints pass away from this life, are our souls placed in a waiting room until Christ comes for us? Thanks.
Bible Bell's reply: Please read Luke 16.19-22, as quoted below...
(Jesus said...) There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom.

The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."

But Abraham said, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented." (Lk 16.19-25, NKJ)

In the preceding verses, Jesus is teaching us a little bit about what happens when Christians die versus when unbelievers die. In this Bible passage...

  • Lazarus represents a Christian who has died
  • the rich man represents an unsaved person who has died
  • "Abraham's bosom" pictures heaven

Notice that, when Lazarus dies, his soul is escorted to Abraham's bosom (which pictures heaven) by angels. When a Christian dies, he or she is escorted to heaven by God's angels. No roadmaps required. :o)

Also notice that both Lazarus and the rich man are awake, and fully aware of their circumstances. Moreover, they are capable of feeling pain as well as pleasure. Their souls are NOT asleep. Their souls are very much awake.

In this story, it is abundantly evident that Jesus is teaching us that the soul of a Christian who dies does NOT sleep. Rather, the Christian's soul goes immediately to heaven.

Consider also the following verses...

Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home in the body (alive) we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body (physically dead) and to be present with the Lord. (2 Cor 5.6-8, NKJ)

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire
to depart (physically die) and be with Christ, which is far better. (Philippians 1.21-23, NKJ)
The above verses clearly proclaim -- absent from the body (physically dead) is present with Christ the Lord!

Finally, have a look at two more Bible passages...
Jesus prayed...) "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world." (John 17.24, NKJ)

We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that
God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep (physically died) in him. (1 Thes 4.14, NIV)
In John 17 Jesus prayed that His people would be WITH Him. Would God fail to grant His Son's request? Absolutely not!

First Thessalonians 4 tells us that, when Jesus returns for His church (at "the Rapture"), those who have died in Christ will come WITH Him from heaven (1 Thes 4.14). To come with Jesus to earth, Christians must obviously have been with Jesus in heaven.

In summary - when a Christian dies, his or her soul goes to be with Jesus. Not in a grave. Not asleep. WITH Jesus - awake, alive, and filled with joy! Amen.

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