There are several things to consider under this question. Let’s look at them one by one.
First: What are you made up of?
The Bible teaches us that we have a physical body, a spirit and a soul.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 – And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and [I pray God] your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Suicide is the purposeful killing of your own body – but what then happens to the soul and spirit? Your soul is who you are. Your spirit is the conduit by which you operate in the world of the spirit, either God’s or the devil’s.
Second: What happens when you die?
We all know what happens to the body – it goes into a state of decay and eventually crumbles into literal dust. Jesus gave us a parable as to what happens to the soul & spirit:
Luke 16:19-31Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
The Rich Man and Lazarus
19 Jesus said, “There was a rich man who always dressed in the finest clothes. He was so rich that he was able to enjoy all the best things every day. 20 There was also a very poor man named Lazarus. Lazarus’ body was covered with sores. He was often put by the rich man’s gate. 21 Lazarus wanted only to eat the scraps of food left on the floor under the rich man’s table. And the dogs came and licked his sores.
22 “Later, Lazarus died. The angels took him and placed him in the arms of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 He was sent to the place of death and was in great pain. He saw Abraham far away with Lazarus in his arms. 24 He called, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me! Send Lazarus to me so that he can dip his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am suffering in this fire!’
25 “But Abraham said, ‘My child, remember when you lived? You had all the good things in life. But Lazarus had nothing but problems. Now he is comforted here, and you are suffering. 26 Also, there is a big pit between you and us. No one can cross over to help you, and no one can come here from there.’
27 “The rich man said, ‘Then please, father Abraham, send Lazarus to my father’s house on earth. 28 I have five brothers. He could warn my brothers so that they will not come to this place of pain.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have the Law of Moses and the writings of the prophets to read; let them learn from that.’
30 “The rich man said, ‘No, father Abraham! But if someone came to them from the dead, then they would decide to change their lives.’
31 “But Abraham said to him, ‘If your brothers won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen to someone who comes back from the dead.’”
So, clearly He is teaching that ALL of you does not “die” – only the body. And that the soul and spirit may go to either one place or the other – to dwell with God…or to dwell in the place that was designed for the demons. AND are fully aware of just WHERE they are – and why.
(Note: this teaching was given before Jesus died on the Cross. Part of what He accomplished there was to bring the souls out of Abraham’s Bosom (a place) and up into Paradise with Him. Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”)
An even more sobering warning is given here:
Romans 2:6-8 ESV He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.
Third: What determines where your soul/spirit go when you die?
The word “death” could also be translated “separated”. When you die, the soul & spirit is separated from the fleshly body.
The bodily death of a Believer in Jesus allows for the release of the soul and spirit from the body, so that a person may go to live with Him in Paradise, in a new and wholly different body that will never again be corrupted OR die.
Everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:26
He is not talking about our earthly body here, but the soul and spirit.
When an unbelieving person dies, because he is not dying in faith in Jesus, this death also entails the separation of his entire being from the presence of God.
John 3:18 But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.
This judgment will never change:
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Get away from me, you who will receive terrible things. Go into the unending fire that has been prepared for the devil and his angels…. And they will go away into eternal punishment. But the righteous ones will go into eternal life.” Matthew 25:41, 46
So, what conclusions can we make from this?
We know that killing is a sin, and suicide is killing yourself. Is it unforgivable? No – the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy against Holy Spirit.
Matthew 12:31-32 And so I tell you, every kind of sin and slander can be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven. Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but anyone who speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come.
We know that the unbeliever will go to the place prepared for the devils and not Heaven, no matter how or by whose hand his body dies.
But what about the Believer who commits suicide? What about him? What could possibly compel a Believer to do such a thing? And did this act sent them to Hell?
What we have not yet considered is the work of Satan on a Believer’s life. Even though a Believer has seen the Truth of Who God is and believed, and perhaps even lived much of their life walking in the Truth of what God has for him, it is Satan’s whole intent and purpose to deceive us, draw us away and make our lives impotent as Christians.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. John 10:10
While Jesus works continually to give us a life close to Himself, full of blessing and comfort and His presence, Satan (the thief) never ceases to send his demons against us with their myriad lies and deceptions to ultimately destroy us. It is always OUR choice to decide which we will listen to, which we will allow to control our lives. Sometimes…the lies of the enemy are strong enough to completely shut out the voice of the Lord – even to the point of self-destruction. What happens next is entirely according to God’s Mercy.
One last thought: Why should such a soul receive the “reward” of Heaven, when I have lived my life in dedication to the Lord?
There are examples in Scripture that teach us that God rewards according to what we have done in life, and the motivation of our hearts as we have done these things. The final verse clearly states that while a soul may still gain Heaven through faith in Jesus – there is much evidence that they may enter with shame, having forfeited/lost again all the crowns and rewards that could have been theirs, through living a life wasted and thrown to the world.
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels; and will then recompense every man according to his deeds.
If you say, “See, we did not know this,” Does He not consider it who weighs the hearts? And does He not know it who keeps your soul? And will He not render to man according to his work?
I Cor. 3:14-15 If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.Above all else, God is Love and Mercy. He is the perfect and just Judge – not only of deeds, which are outward, but of hearts, which only the Father can know.
We have seen that this sin, though grievous to the family and friends left behind, is not unforgivable. We have seen that once the body dies, the soul is still aware – in fact much more aware of the Truth of things as they are seen from God’s perspective. There are testimonies of those who committed suicide, and the Lord sent them back to earthly life to warn the rest of the world about Hell and Heaven.*
In the end, no-one but God knows the heart of a man, and this is what determines where they ultimately go. But these Scriptures we have looked at give Hope that a loved one who has committed suicide in a moment of rash desperation may still be with the Lord.
*See the story of Tamara Laroux, who as a teenager shot herself in the heart, yet the Lord preserved her life, showing her both Heaven and Hell and bringing her back to life on Earth to be a testimony of what she experienced.
Delivered! by Tamara Laroux http://lifechangeintl.com/