I was reading Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress where one of the believers that accompanied Christian spoke of suicide as a sure method of going to Hell, even for believers. I got to thinking about it. I'm pretty sure I'm going to have to disagree with the good Pastor Bunyan on this one.
I think that suicide is a sin. I think it is a grievous sin. It is murder, a slap in the face of God who made us in His image. But I have to say that I can't come to the conclusion that it is unforgivable. Why? Let's look at Scripture.
First, there is the argument from silence. The Bible does not list suicide as unforgivable. There is, in fact, only one sin listed as unforgivable.
"Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven" (Matt 12:31).Jesus's words. Note, first, "any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people." This is an "either/or" arrangement. Either you have committed "blasphemy against the Spirit" and cannot be forgiven or you have committed "any [other] sin and blasphemy" and can. Seems like this ends the question. Any sin and blasphemy except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit can be forgiven. But ... it likely doesn't. So let's look further.
John speaks of "a sin leading to death".
If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask and God will for him give life to those who commit sin not leading to death. There is a sin leading to death; I do not say that he should make request for this. All unrighteousness is sin, and there is a sin not leading to death (1 John 5:16-17).Now, the commentators I've found can't be certain to what "a sin leading to death" refers. But almost to a man they agree that it is referring to physical death. All sin leads to spiritual death (in Natural Man). For the believer (John uses the word "brother" here), we stand forgiven.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).If we confess, we are cleansed "from all unrighteousness", not just the sin we've confessed. So the sin that leads to death likely refers to physical death. There are many, in fact, that can do that. Sexual immorality, drug use, and others can easily produce death. Murder can put you under a death sentence. Thus, to pray for someone who has committed one of these sins in order to restore them would be pointless. A believer is forgiven by God, but still faces the temporal consequences. But suicide would seem to necessarily fall outside that arrangement (since you can't pray for the restoration of a person who committed suicide).
What else can we learn from Scripture on the subject? Well, there is the example of Samson. In Judges 16:27-30, Samson prays for the strength to commit suicide, and God answers. In Hebrews 11:32 he is listed as a man of faith.
The most convincing to me, however, is this passage in Romans:
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. 31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things? 33 Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; 34 who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. 35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? (Rom 8:28-35).Yes, yes, I know, a lot of stuff there. But it is an entire thought. God causes all things to work together for good. What good? To be conformed to the image of His Son. So Paul lists a chain here of unconditional things -- "These whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified." It's not what you or I do; God does it. Paul concludes from this certainty "If God is for us, who is against us?" He asks specifically, "Who will bring a charge against God's elect?" Not God. Not Jesus. The two that have the right will not bring a charge. "Who will separate us from the love of Christ?" The answer is clear. No one. Nothing. Impossible.
I think that suicide is a grievous sin. I can't actually think of a circumstance you or I might encounter that would mitigate it. But I can't conclude, based on these Scriptures, that it is unforgivable. Logically, if unrepented sin results in certain Hell, it is extremely likely that you and I will go to our deaths with something unrepented. No, we must repent, but our repentance is granted (2 Tim 2:25), not mustered and maintained. Our forgiveness isn't predicated on our ability to recall and repent of every single violation. If that's where I had to rest, I would have precious little rest. No, it is in the blood of Christ that I rest. You should, too.