Friday, October 12, 2012

What About Suicide?

What About Suicide?

Colossians 2:13-14
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;

I was asked a question last week that caused me to ponder the full affects of the tragic reality of suicide. During Bible study, a young woman ask me, “Is suicide a sin and will those who commit the act, go to heaven?” My heart was grieved as she spoke, considering the possibility that someone she knew and loved may have committed such an act or that she herself was contemplating this step. In response, I replied: “Suicide is a serious sin and equal to murder according to Exodus 20:13 ~ Thou shalt not kill (murder), but as any other sin, it can be forgiven. The Word of God teaches us that our past, present and future sins are all forgiven, if we have truly been redeemed by God. The Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:38,39, that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.” 

According to Scripture, if a person should take their life during a time of extreme weakness, they could be received into the presence of God. Jude 24 ~ Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy.  But there would be cause to question this individual’s faith for even considering to take their life–––it could be that they have never been truly “Born Again,” by the Spirit of God. A Christian is characterized by their hope and purpose in life.  Romans 5:2-5 ~ By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 

Some may ask, “What is our purpose in life and what are we to do with the life that God has given us”? Luke 9:23-25 ~ And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? To take up the cross which Christ speaks of is to deny one’s self and be willing to obey Christ’s commandments, serve one another, and perhaps suffer, even unto death, if called to do so for His sake.

Those that repeatedly think about or consider suicide are practicing sin in their hearts. Proverbs 23:7 ~ For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. 1 John 3:9 ~ Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin (habitual sinning); for his seed (permanently transformed into a new creation) remaineth in him: and he cannot sin,  (practice sin) because he is born of God. We must live out the gospel every day of our lives to be able to embrace the trials God has allowed. Living, breathing, and thinking about the gospel gives us the “Good News,” we so desperately need in realizing the gospel is our life, not just one part of it. The gospel slays sin at the root and encourages us to rest in the Righteousness of Christ knowing our standing is secure in Him regardless of our performance. 

Pastor and theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote: "God has reserved to himself the right to determine the end of life, because he alone knows the goal to which it is his will to lead it." When that leader of the German resistance to Hitler was being persecuted -- prior to his imprisonment and execution -- he affirmed: "Even if a person’s earthly life has become a torment for him, he must commit it intact to God’s hand, from which it came" (Ethics [Macmillan, 1955], pp. 124-5).

Thought: Suicide is a difficult issue to write about and hard to understand when someone you love decides to take such extreme measures. My encouragement to you dear friend is–––if you have someone that is struggling with thoughts of suicide, give them the gospel, which is the power of God unto salvation. Romans 1:16 ~ For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 

Such an awareness of their need for Christ should not leave them distressed but lift their spirit by magnifying the grace of God that has forgiven them of all their sins. The more they appreciate the magnitude of God’s forgiveness of sin, the more their love will grow for Christ and they will delight in worshipping Him, the Redeemer of their soul. Some dear people have definitely lost their focus in what the power of the gospel is and how important it can be in their daily walk. To experience the life-transforming power of the gospel in all areas of life and to preach the gospel to themselves daily, will cause them to be amazed at the difference it will make in their lives, while savoring the glories of God’s love–––from which they can never be separated.

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