Apostasy & Suicide: A Believer’s Response

Recent news from the social media left many believers thinking. A couple of prominent believers turned away from their faith (that is, apostatize) by doubting the Lord Jesus in their lives.

What happened? How can this be?

The answers will many times depend on someone’s preconceived theological worldview. A Classic Calvinist would immediately conclude they are not real believers in the first place because if they were then they would have persevered in their faith (see Matt. 24:13). While a Reformed Arminian would surely give these former believers the benefit of the doubt that they were genuine believers who just experienced deception, therefore, having forfeited their salvation (see Matt. 24:24). 

So you see, it’s a matter of perspective from the person who judges. But who are we to judge anyway? Do we know the heart of that person? Are we trying to usurp God’s position of being a Judge? The Scripture is clear that says the Lord knows those who are His. We need to stop judging because the position for being a Judge has been taken. God is Trinity, not “Fournity” which includes you (see Jam. 4:12). 

What is best is to pray for these former believers to yield themselves to God once more if you are led by the Lord to remember them. 

How about Christians who killed themselves? Will they end up in heaven? Is it possible for a believer to end up in heaven after committing suicide? 

These questions will not go for the next fifty years so let me try to explain. The Bible listed at least six people who committed such a grievous act. But let me say this on the onset that nobody knows the heart of any person who committed this unfortunate act except the Lord alone. Although, we can presume some possible reasons why an individual brings one’s life to an end. At the end of the day, it is still the Lord who knows everything (see Rom. 2:16).

They may have been overcome by a spirit of depression and hopelessness, a reason why they wanted to conclude their life. However valid their reasons maybe it is still evil in the eyes of the Lord to take one’s life because this is murdering one’s own physical body. The Scripture is clear when it says, “You shall not murder” (Exo. 20:13). 

What if a genuine believer commits suicide? Can a true believer be overcome by mental and emotional problems? 

It is possible to be overcome by the condemning words of the enemy if a believer is not growing in one’s relationship with the Lord, not regularly reading His Word, not involved in a church community, and has no accountability (see Heb. 10:25). 

It is possible for any believer to deceive the eyes of the public that he is doing good but in reality, he is slowly eaten up by spiritual termites. This can happen to anybody, whether a pastor, a son of a minister, a church leader, or an ordinary church member.  This is why it is very important to seek spiritual help if you feel this is coming.

Let me share my take on the theological side of this issue. Can a genuine believer forfeit one’s salvation by committing suicide? 

If a believer will embrace this then he would surely be guilty of adding works to the finished work of Jesus Christ. It is true that taking one’s life is an evil act that a believer can do to himself in the worst-case scenario. However, no evil deed or wicked thing can take away our security in Christ’s love. The Scripture says, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?” (Rom. 8:35) 

But let me be quick to say that I am not advocating this evil practice nor encouraging anyone to cut-short one’s life because of trials, testings, difficulties, and hardships in life. No! 

If a believer does that before the appointed time then he will give an account with His Lord (see Rom. 14:12). It is not a believer’s salvation that will be at stake but one’s heavenly rewards (see 1 Cor. 3:15). Why end one’s life when we know fully well there is hope in Jesus Christ? Did not Jesus Christ said, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33)? 

I don’t know about you but I would like to hear the sweet words of my Savior saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master” (Matt. 25:23). 

Therefore, let us not take matters in our hand because our time is in God’s hands. 

For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God? – 1 John 5:4-5

Additional References:

The following individuals took their lives early: Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4–6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas (Matthew 27:5)

But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” – 2 Timothy 2:19

“I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” – Jeremiah 17:10, ESV

My times are in your hand… – Psalm 31:15

2 thoughts on “Apostasy & Suicide: A Believer’s Response

  1. Thank you, Ptr. Jun. I was remembering our class discussions in light of recent news but I was still troubled. Grateful that you wrote about this; to help us process and also for us to know how to help others process. Truth and Hope. Stating painful (in this case) but necessary truth while laying down much-needed hope, that only the Grace of God can reconcile. Thank you.

    1. It’s difficult to comprehend but this is a reality. This is why we need also to surround ourselves always with our loved ones and spiritual family whom God can use to encourage us with physical touch, emotional feeling, and listening ear.

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