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While in India, I read an account of a woman who had leaped in front of a train with her baby in her arms. Pinned to her sari was a note declaring that life was too great a struggle; it simply wasn’t worth the effort. Let us consider for a moment: Is suicide the ultimate sin? Our Bibles record the stories of a number of people who committed suicide. In 2 Samuel, chapters 15-17, we read of a man named Ahithophel who was, at one time in his life, a counselor to King David, but when he became involved with Absalom in a sinister plot to overthrow the king, Ahithophel was implicated, and ultimately he compounded his sinfulness when he chose to hang himself.
Previous to that episode, King Saul, a wicked and despiteful man, had killed himself on the battlefield, see 1 Samuel 15:10-23. Sin can plunge a person into depression and despair. Such was the case with Judas, who, after betraying Jesus, hanged himself. In the words of Luke, Judas“went to his own place,” Acts 1:25, that place being one that I want to avoid.
The above persons had alienated themselves from God, and apart from God there is no hope in this life. In Ephesians 2:12, the apostle Paul wrote, “ At that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” Many people without God have nothing to turn to when the going gets tough, thus we are confronted with the sin of suicide. And suicide is a sin. Believe it.
I once sat in a Bible study with a man who had preached for a church not far from here and listened to him tell the audience that he believed suicide could be forgiven. “I’ve made a study of this subject,” he said. Someone else spoke up, as if agreeing with him, and said, “well, I’ve always heard that if a person committed suicide he would never be able to repent and therefore couldn’t be forgiven.” And then a third person chimed in with his words of wisdom:Well, I don’t believe that we are going to solve this question here today.
Without the Bible, there is some truth to that statement, but if we will consider what God has to say on that subject, then we can certainly arrive at the truth of the matter.
The apostle Paul, writing in 1 Corinthians 6:19, penned the following words: What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
In other words, what the apostle is saying in this passage is that our bodies belong to God, and He expects us to use them to His glory. A person cannot do that by committing suicide.
God has instructed us as to how to use our bodies. In Romans 12:1 we read, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” One who commits suicide is doing the very opposite of this command.
And finally, what is a man to do who, once he becomes a Christian, then again commits sin? Can he receive forgiveness of those sins? Is there a second law of pardon? Christians have an example of God’s second law of pardon, as illustrated in the eighth chapter of the book of Acts. In that instance, one Simon, a man who had become a Christian but who still practiced sorcery, observed that the gift of the Holy Spirit, which enabled a person to perform miracles, was apparently passed on through the laying on of hands by the apostles. Simon offered money in order to buy this gift and was strongly rebuked for his effort. “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter; for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee, “ Acts 8:20-22. Simon was told to repent and pray to God for forgiveness; one who commits suicide can do neither.
Stay with God and life will never be so bad that you would contemplate suicide. Learn to put your faith in Jesus and walk through this life with Him, right into God’s presence, where His promise of eternal life abounds forever.
Gene Dumas is preacher at Manatee Springs Church of Christ.