Surprisingly, nowhere in Scriptures do we find a statement that specifically says, “Suicide is a sin,” unless it is included in the command, “You shall not murder,” meaning “You shall not murder others” and “You shall not murder yourself.” There are instances in Scriptures in which people commit suicide, such as Samson (Judg. 16:29, 30), Ahithophel (2 Sam. 17:23), and, of course, Judas (Matt. 27:5), and the Scriptures do not say that these people committed a sin. But then the Scriptures do the same thing in other stories in which people commit obvious sins such as rape, adultery, and murder.
I grew up in a Catholic home and attended Catholic schools. I heard several times that if you committed suicide, you would rot in the worst part of hell forever, as if committing suicide was the unforgivable sin. But again, the Scriptures do not blatantly say that suicide is a sin, let alone say that it is the unforgivable sin.
After I became a Christian, I heard stories of Christians committing suicide. Some became bound by sin and felt so helpless in fighting it that they became convinced that it would be better to end their lives rather than go on disgracing themselves, their families, and the name of their Lord Jesus Christ. Others became so discouraged in their ministry that they thought they would never bear fruit again, so what was the point of staying here? It was better to just go home. Did these people fail to endure to the end? Did they lose their salvation? Did they end up in hell after all?
Again, the Scriptures do not say that suicide is the unforgivable sin. And we do not gain our salvation by works, so we do not lose our salvation by works. We gain our salvation by entering into an intimate relationship with Christ and we lose that salvation when we say that we no longer want that relationship. From what I know about these people, they may have failed to endure in walking righteously and they may have failed to endure in their ministry, but they did not fail to endure in their relationship with Christ. It sounds like they got to the point where they said, “I still love you, Jesus, but I have failed horribly and I do not see how I can go on.” I know that feeling; I’ve been there.
But you can be certain that these people have lost out on the rewards that they could have had if they had remained and you can be certain that when they got home, they and the Lord had a very long talk. For the Scriptures do tell us that when Jesus died on the cross, he bought us: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Our lives, including our spirits and our bodies, no longer belong to us. They belong to God. So we do not get to have the final say of what happens to us or even the final say of when our lives end: he does. Each of us have been appointed to die once (Heb. 9:27), but that appointment was set by God, not us. God has placed each of us in the Body of Christ because each of us has something to contribute (Eph. 4:16). If we choose to change God’s appointment for us by taking our own lives, thereby robbing the Body of Christ of our contribution, then, yes, we have sinned.
Have we failed to endure to the end? Have we lost our salvation? Like anything else in Christianity, that would depend on why we did it. But you can be sure we would have a lot to answer for to our Lord and King.
What took out those Christians is that they started walking by sight and not by faith. The ones bound by sin saw the mess they had made but could not believe that Jesus was big enough to redeem them from that sin and able to clean up the mess. And the ministers could not believe that Jesus had a reason for them to keep laboring in the fields even though they could not see the fruit. Satan’s favorite trick is to get us to walk by sight because it discourages us and makes us want to quit, sometimes to the point where we want to quit living. When our sight tells us that there is no reason to go on, we need to hold on to one important truth: Jesus has us here for a reason. We may not know what that reason is. But we have to trust him and trust that he knows what he is doing. He will take us home when he decides to take us home. Until then we stay here and serve him faithfully, even if we do not understand why we are still here. That’s called walking by faith and not by sight.