Is Suicide a Sin?
Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.
And surely your blood of your lives will
Theologians and false preachers tell us suicide is like any other sin. This is a wicked lie. “Progressive” Christians devalue the sanctity of life and assert some murder is an individual choice: abortion is a choice and suicide is a choice. And theologians allege there is no express or implied Scripture forbidding suicide. But God’s Law declares in the sixth commandment: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13; Deuteronomy 5:17).
Matthew Henry comments:
II. The sixth commandment concerns our own and our neighbour's life (v. 13): "Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not do any thing hurtful or injurious to the health, ease, and life, of thy own body, or any other person's unjustly. This is one of the laws of nature, and was strongly enforced by the precepts given to Noah and his sons, Gen. 9:5, 6. It does not forbid killing in lawful war, or in our own necessary defence, nor the magistrate’s putting offenders to death, for those things tend to the preserving of life; but it forbids all malice and hatred to the person of any (for he that hateth his brother is a murderer), and all personal revenge arising therefrom; also all rash anger upon sudden provocations, and hurt said or done, or aimed to be done, in passion: of this our Saviour expounds this commandment, Mt. 5:22. And, as that which is worst of all, it forbids persecution, laying wait for the blood of the innocent and excellent ones of the earth.
And the Word of the Lord declares:
that overcometh shall inherit all things;
Suicide is the willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing of self. It is self-murder. God’s Law so highly values the life of a man, that it absolutely forbids killing a human being, unless by the command or express permission of the law. We may not use our own private judgment, but we must obey God’s commands.
Christians must never justify or excuse self-murder. If someone is truly insane, he is not guilty of self-murder. However, if the insanity is caused by habits such as drugs and drunkenness, he is guilty. The sinner cannot free himself altogether from the guilt which attaches to the act of self-destruction.
Just as in a court of law, those who kill someone while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are still culpable, in God’s Court of Law, those who kill themselves while under the influence of drugs or alcohol are culpable.
Moreover, to justify or excuse self-murder may make you an accessory to murder. For example, if a “Christian” writer on the Internet justifies or excuses self-murder and persuades a reader to kill himself, and he does so, the writer is guilty of murder. Indeed, the blood of the suicide is on his hands.
In years past, old English law ranked suicide as as among the highest crimes. It was a felonious homicide without justification or excuse. Suicide was a felony committed on one’s self. He that deliberately put an end to his own existence, or committed any unlawful malicious act which resulted in his own death was considered a felo de se. William Blackstone, an eminent English jurist (1723-1780), explained the old English law regarding suicide:
It wisely and religiously considers that no man hath power to destroy life but by commission from God, the author of it; and, as the suicide is guilty of a double offense, one spiritual, in evading the prerogative of the Almighty, and rushing into his immediate presence uncalled for; the other temporal, against the king, who hath an interest in the preservation of all his subjects, the law has therefore ranked this among the highest crimes, making it a peculiar species of felony, a felony committed on one’s self.
The party must be of years of discretion, and in his right mind, else it is no crime. That law judges that every melancholy or hypochondriac fit does not deprive the man of capacity of discerning right from wrong, which is necessary to form a legal excuse; and, therefore, if a real lunatic kills himself in a lucid interval, he is a felo de se as much as any other man.
As Blackstone explained, even those suffering from depression were not legally excused as they were capable of discerning right from wrong.
And the punishment for self-murder under old English law was very severe:
Human laws can only act upon what the felo de se has left behind him, his reputation and fortune; on the former, by an ignominious burial in the highway, with a stake driven through his body; on the latter, by a forfeiture of all his goods and chattels to the king.
It hopes that care for either his own reputation, or the welfare of his family, would be some motive to restrain one from so desperate and wicked an act.
The punishment for committing suicide was severe. Understandably, they were trying to prevent persons from committing the desperate and wicked act of suicide. In other words, the harsh law was meant to deter self-murder.
Today, as stated earlier, many "Christians" assert suicide is like any other sin: Sin is sin. Yes, all sin is sin against God, but there are classes of sin. In other words, God’s Law groups crimes against God (sins) based on the seriousness of the sin; just as man’s law groups crimes based on the seriousness of the crime (for example: felony or misdemeanor). The crimes and sins are punished according to their seriousness. For instance, stealing a bottle of nail polish from Walmart is a crime and a sin; but it is not as serious as murdering your neighbor, or murdering yourself. In other words, in a court of law, you will be judged by the law and punished accordingly.
The Bible proclaims the sanctity of human life and warns against murder, including self-murder:
surely your blood of your lives will I require;
Matthew Henry comments:
Man must not take away his own life: Your blood of your own lives will I require, v. 5. Our lives are not so our own as that we may quit them at our own pleasure, but they are God's, and we must resign them at his pleasure; if we in any way hasten our own deaths, we are accountable to God for it.
There is coming a day when we shall all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ and judged according to the sins we have committed against God:
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ;
that every one may receive the things done in his body,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.
Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;
but we are made manifest unto God;
and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
2 Corinthians 5:10,11
Matthew Henry comments: "The apostle calls this awful judgment the terror of the Lord (v.11), and by the consideration thereof, was excited to persuade men to repent, and live a holy life, that, when Christ shall appear terribly, they may appear before him comfortably."
Again, we must all stand before God on Judgment Day and be judged according to His laws and commandments as recorded in The Book - The Holy Bible:
And I saw a great white throne,
and him that sat on it,
from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away;
and there was found no place for them.
And I saw the dead, small and great,
stand before God;
and the books were opened:
and another book was opened,
which is the book of life:
and the dead were judged out of those things
which were written in the books,
according to their works.
And the sea gave up the dead which were in it;
and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them:
and they were judged every man according to their works.
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire.
This is the second death.
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life
was cast into the lake of fire.
Matthew Henry comments:
The utter destruction of the devil’s kingdom very properly leads to an account of the day of judgment, which will determine every man’s everlasting state; and we may be assured there will be a judgment when we see the prince of this world is judged, Jn. 16:11. This will be a great day, the great day, when all shall appear before the judgment-seat of Christ. The Lord help us firmly to believe this doctrine of the judgment to come. It is a doctrine that made Felix tremble. Here we have a description of it, where observe,
1. We behold the throne, and tribunal of judgment, great and white, very glorious and perfectly just and righteous. The throne of iniquity, that establishes wickedness by a law, has no fellowship with this righteous throne and tribunal.
2. The appearance of the Judge, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ, who then puts on such majesty and terror that the earth and the heaven flee from his face, and there is no place found for them; there is a dissolution of the whole frame of nature, 2 Pt. 3:10.
3. The persons to be judged (v. 12): The dead, small and great; that is, young and old, low and high, poor and rich. None are so mean but they have some talents to account for, and none so great as to avoid the jurisdiction of this court; not only those that are found alive at the coming of Christ, but all who have died before; the grave shall surrender the bodies of men, hell shall surrender the souls of the wicked, the sea shall surrender the many who seemed to have been lost in it.
4. The rule of judgment settled: The books were opened. What books? The books of God’s omniscience, who is greater than our consciences, and knows all things (there is a book of remembrance with him both for good and bad); and the book of the sinner’s conscience, which, though formerly secret, will now be opened. And another book shall be opened—the book of the scriptures, the statute-book of heaven, the rule of life. This book is opened as containing the law, the touchstone by which the hearts and lives of men are to be tried. This book determines matter of right; the other books give evidence of matters of fact. Some, by the other book, called the book of life, understand the book of God’s eternal counsels; but that does not seem to belong to the affair of judgment: in eternal election God does not act judicially, but with absolute sovereign freedom.
5. The cause to be tried; and that is, the works of men, what they have done and whether it be good or evil. By their works men shall be justified or condemned; for though God knows their state and their principles, and looks chiefly at these, yet, being to approve himself to angels and men as a righteous God, he will try their principles by their practices, and so will be justified when he speaks and clear when he judges.
6. The issue of the trial and judgment; and this will be according to the evidence of fact, and rule of judgment. All those who have made a covenant with death, and an agreement with hell, shall then be condemned with their infernal confederates, cast with them into the lake of fire, as not being entitled to eternal life, according to the rules of life laid down in the scripture; but those whose names are written in that book (that is, those that are justified and acquitted by the gospel) shall then be justified and acquitted by the Judge, and shall enter into eternal life, having nothing more to fear from death, or hell, or wicked men; for these are all destroyed together. Let it be our great concern to see on what terms we stand with our Bibles, whether they justify us or condemn us now; for the Judge of all will proceed by that rule. Christ shall judge the secrets of all men according to the gospel. Happy are those who have so ordered and stated their cause according to the gospel as to know beforehand that they shall be justified in the great day of the Lord!
Knowing there is coming a great day of judgment should make us fear and tremble unto repentance. But some argue a Christian can repent of suicide and then go ahead and commit self-murder. In other words, if we repent before we destroy ourselves, we are forgiven and will not be judged for that wicked deed. But killing yourself is a sin because your body is not your own, it belongs to God:
know ye not that your body is the
Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you. Your body belongs to God; you have no express or implied authority in the Bible to destroy the temple of the Holy Ghost. You have no express or implied authority in the Bible to commit self-murder.
Instead, we are commanded: “therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Irrefutably, committing self-murder is not glorifying God.
No righteous man in the Bible committed suicide.
Job was a righteous man that suffered, despaired, and yet hoped and battled on until he found peace. He did not commit suicide.
Righteous Paul was an extraordinary sufferer: frequent imprisonments, dangers of death, beatings, stoned, thrice shipwrecked, exposed to hunger and thirst, endured cold and nakedness, and other hardships and peril. Paul did not commit suicide.
Trials and tribulations should cause us to cry out to God our Deliverer. Self-murder is not the answer to our problems. Troubled and burdened by overwork, unemployment, pain, disease, or the pressure of worldly anxieties cause many to be tempted to commit suicide. We may be troubled, but we must never fall into the dark pit of despair and self-destruction. We must have courage and patience. And we must have faith in God. Paul writes:
are troubled on every side,
but not forsaken;
Matthew Henry comments on v. 8, 9, 13-18 :
In these verses the apostle gives an account of their courage and patience under all their sufferings, where observe,
I. How their sufferings, and patience under them, are
declared, v. 8¨C12. The apostles were great sufferers; therein they
followed their Master: Christ had told them that in the world they
should have tribulation, and so they had; yet they met with wonderful
support, great relief, and many allays of their sorrows. "We are,
"says the apostle, "troubled on every side, afflicted
many ways, and we meet with almost all sorts of troubles; yet not
distressed, v. 8. We are not hedged in nor cooped up, because we can
see help in God, and help from God, and have liberty of access to God.
Again, "We are perplexed, often uncertain, and in doubt what
will become of us, and not always without anxiety in our minds on this
account; yet not in despair (v. 8), even in our greatest
perplexities, knowing that God is able to support us, and to deliver us,
and in him we always place our trust and hope. Again, "We are persecuted
by men, pursued with hatred and violence from place to place, as men not
worthy to live; yet not forsaken of God,
II. What it was that kept them from sinking and
fainting under their sufferings, v. 13¨C18. Whatever the burdens and
troubles of good men may be, they have cause enough not to faint.
1. Faith kept them from fainting: We have the same
spirit of faith (v. 13), that faith which is of the operation of the
Spirit; the same faith by which the saints of old did and suffered such
great things. Note, The grace of faith is a sovereign cordial, and an
effectual antidote against fainting-fits in troublous times. The spirit of
faith will go far to bear up the spirit of a man under his infirmities;
and as the apostle had David’s example to imitate, who said (Ps.
116:10), I have believed, and therefore have I spoken,
so he leaves us his example to imitate: We also believe, says he, and
therefore speak. Note, As we receive help and encouragement from the
good words and examples of others, so we should be careful to give a good
example to others.
5. The prospect of eternal life and happiness kept them from fainting, and was a mighty support and comfort. As to this observe, (1.) The apostle and his fellow-sufferers saw their afflictions working towards heaven, and that they would end at last (v. 17), whereupon they weighed things aright in the balance of the sanctuary; they did as it were put the heavenly glory in one scale and their earthly sufferings in the other; and, pondering things in their thoughts, they found afflictions to be light, and the glory of heaven to be a far more exceeding weight. That which sense was ready to pronounce heavy and long, grievous and tedious, faith perceived to be light and short, and but for a moment. On the other hand, the worth and weight of the crown of glory, as they are exceedingly great in themselves, so they are esteemed to be by the believing soul-far exceeding all his expressions and thoughts; and it will be a special support in our sufferings when we can perceive them appointed as the way and preparing us for the enjoyment of the future glory. (2.) Their faith enabled them to make this right judgment of things: We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen, v. 18. It is by faith that we see God, who is invisible (Heb. 11:27), and by this we look to an unseen heaven and hell, and faith is the evidence of things not seen. Note, [1.] There are unseen things, as well as things that are seen. [2.] There is this vast difference between them: unseen things are eternal, seen things but temporal, or temporary only. [3.] By faith we not only discern these things, and the great difference between them, but by this also we take our aim at unseen things, and chiefly regard them, and make it our end and scope, not to escape present evils, and obtain present good, both of which are temporal and transitory, but to escape future evil and obtain future good things, which though unseen, are real, and certain, and eternal; and faith is the substance of things hoped for, as well as the evidence of things not seen, Heb. 11:1.
troubled and weary soul, have faith in the Lord! O
troubled and weary soul, have hope in the Lord!
O troubled and weary soul, have faith in the Lord!
O troubled and weary soul, have hope in the Lord!
Unquestionably, in this world we will have trials and tribulations. But the mighty Hand of the Lord is ready and able to help us.
If you are drowning in despair and tempted to kill yourself, call on the Name of the Lord:
"Lord, save me: I perish!"
out the Life-line across the dark wave;
out the Life-line with hand quick and strong:
out the Life-line to danger fraught men,
will the season of rescue be o’er,
is the Life-line, oh, tempest tossed men;
is able! To you who are driv’n,
is the Life-line, oh, grasp it today!
Throw out the Life-line! Throw out the Life-line!
Jesus can save.