Bible Answer

Would a true Christian commit suicide?

My husband committed suicide recently. He said his troubles were just too much to live with. He was saved and baptized three years ago, claiming Jesus as his personal Lord and savior. I wonder what his decision to take his own life says about his faith and whether he was truly a Christian? Does the Bible consider suicide to be sin?

Please accept our condolences for the loss of your husband, and we understand how painful his decision to take his own life must have been for you and your family. Obviously, we can't say whether he was truly a believer, but assuming his confession was genuine, then we can assure you that his actions to take his own life did not invalidate his faith and salvation.

While the Bible is largely silent on the matter of suicide, it does teach that murder is sin, and suicide is simply another form of murder (we could call it "self-murder"). Therefore, suicide is a sin, because when we take any human life (even our own), we are violating God's command to love and not to murder. We are assuming authority for deciding life or death in place of God Himself.

Your husband's decision to take his own life was self-murder, and therefore it was sin, but any sin - even the sin of self-murder - cannot separate us from the love of God. Paul gives us this assurance most succinctly in Romans 8:

Rom. 8:38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
Rom. 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

As Paul teaches, not even death (in any form) can separate a Christian from Christ. We are not saved by our "good works" because works have no relationship to our salvation.  Therefore neither can we be "unsaved" by our sinful works, even by an act of murder. Our works simply have no bearing on our relationship to God having come to faith in Christ. As Paul says in Ephesians 2:

Eph. 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Eph. 2:9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Your husband's faith and salvation were the result of God's grace and mercy alone, therefore even when we act faithlessly (as your husband did in taking his own life), nevertheless God always acts faithfully for our eternal good, as Paul says:

2Tim. 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.

Also, our gift of salvation is permanent and irrevocable as Paul teaches in Romans:

Rom. 11:29 for the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

Praise be to God that an act of suicide (or self-murder) is not a "special" sin or an unforgivable sin for the Christian. Like all sin, self-murder was forgiven us by our faith in Christ's atoning work on the cross. When your husband came to faith and was baptized, he was sealed by the Holy Spirit and was washed clean of all his sin, both past and future sin. There is no sin too great for Christ's blood to cover, so even his sin of self-murder was forgiven by God's grace and the atoning work of Christ, and so upon your husband's death he entered into Christ's presence.