A young man jumps in front of a moving bus; a young woman is found in her car with a hose running from the exhaust pipe to her window; a teenager jumps from a high bridge; a career professional is found having swallowed a bottle of pills – SUICIDE. After it has happened, family and friends are stunned, and tortured with the thought that they did not see signs that may have been there, ahead of time, and done something.
Is suicide a direct ticket to hell? For many, it no doubt has been. Some have considered all suicide to be such a ticket. However, I think that the issue is not as black and white as many believe. There are many situations where it is best to leave that judgment to God, in fact, in all situations God is the judge, not ourselves. Suicide is sin. It is killing – self-killing. Is killing murder? In the Bible we are commanded not to murder. However, there are some who have committed suicide under circumstances for which we would have great sympathy. There are prisoners, Christian prisoners, who have been awaiting horrible torture who have ended their lives to escape such treatment. God will be their judge, not us.
While suicide is not necessarily a ticket to hell for everyone, it no doubt has been for many. Friend, if you are reading this because you are considering suicide, let me warn you in as strong a way as I possibly can, “Do not do it.” Your life here on Earth is for the purpose of finding God, surrendering your life to Him, being converted and then serving Him for the rest of your days. 01 Do not destroy your body; it may be the veil between your life on Earth and unimaginable suffering in the hereafter.
If you are considering suicide, you no doubt feel that you have come to the end of a long road of suffering and grief. Your grief may be mixed with guilt, hopelessness and despair. You probably feel that your life has no meaning. You may feel that your life had meaning at one time but that all of that has been shattered. What can the future hold? Why carry on? There is reason for you to carry on and you can move into the future with hope. Friend, I want to tell you that your life counts and that you are of tremendous value. You have come to the place that you are in now by believing many lies. You need to now open yourself up to truth, God’s truth and love.
What must you do when you find yourself in this condition? You should talk to someone about it. Don’t hold all of this in like a balloon which is about to burst. You need an outlet. You need to express what you are feeling. You need to tell someone, and not tell just anyone. You need a spiritual Christian pastor or a Christian counsellor to unburden to. They should be able to help you with navigating through the web of pain that you are feeling. How can they do that? By leading you to Jesus Christ. Jesus alone can heal you and make things right in you.
What kind of things should you expect a pastor to tell you about when you seek help? A pastor will tell you about faith. Jesus, on one occasion, asked; “… Where is your faith? … ” (Luke 8.25). I believe that Jesus asks men and women this same question today. God has ordained that the receiving of salvation is by faith. We read that the end of our faith is the salvation of our souls (see 1 Peter 1.9) and that God’s righteousness is revealed from faith to faith (see Romans 1.17). In fact, when we come to God by faith, Jesus Christ comes to dwell within us. The Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian Church “that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; …” (Ephesians 3.17).
What, then, is faith? It is believing. We are told that it pleased God to save those who believe the gospel (see 1 Corinthians 1.21). How does one come to true faith in God? Firstly, it is by believing the truth that Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again. He not only died on the cross but, after three days, God resurrected Him. Just as Jesus died on our behalf, for our sins, He rose from the dead to conquer death on our behalf. Because He was raised back to life, He can grant spiritual life to those who come to Him by faith. In this way, those who are spiritually dead in sin can be born again to life.
So, firstly, we must believe this truth and, secondly, we must believe in Jesus Christ Himself. Believing in Jesus also includes entering into a personal relationship with Christ. This can be done by coming to Christ in prayer, acknowledging to Him that you are a sinner, expressing to Him your remorse for sin and asking Him to forgive you; it is also acknowledging that you believe that He died for you and that He rose from the dead for you; it is also committing to turn from your own way to follow His will.
Dear Reader, have you believed in Jesus? The Bible tells us; “And this is his commandment, that we should believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as he gave us commandment.” (1 John 3.23).
Remember the discussion between Jesus Christ and Nicodemus (see John, chapter 3) on being born again. Further on in that discussion, Jesus said:
17 For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.
Many today try to come to, and be accepted by, God on the basis of the good things that they have done. However, good works do not earn us salvation. Salvation comes another way. The Scriptures teach; “ … but the righteous shall live by his faith.” (Habakkuk 2.4). Biblical faith leads to, and is an expression of, obedience to God. Faith is not an involuntary act on our part that just simply occurs due to the sovereign actions of God. Faith is a response which we must make to God and to His gospel. Faith is not merely affirming a set of doctrines or believing in a creed. Faith is an experience where a man or woman expresses trust. John Wesley described it as “a sure trust and confidence in God, that, through the merits of Christ, his sins are forgiven, and he [is] reconciled to the favor of God.” 1
Faith is a response from man to God. It is a change from the common course of unbelief that humanity is traveling on. Faith is necessary for salvation, for one must believe in Jesus Christ to be saved. Paul says this about the message of faith which he preached; “But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach: because if thou shalt confess with thy mouth Jesus as Lord, and shalt believe in thy heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved:” (Romans 10.8-9). “Confess” is a term for acknowledging, agreeing, affirming and declaring. A man first believes in his heart that Jesus is Lord, that Jesus died for our sins and that He rose from the dead and, then, because his heart believes, he eagerly confesses this to God and to others.
Faith is absolutely indispensable.
We must have faith if we are to please God. Scripture teaches; “And without faith it is impossible to be well-pleasing unto him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that seek after him.” (Hebrews 11.6). In order to come to God, we must believe in Him. We must believe that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. That means we must believe that God will hear the cry of, and reward, those who are truly seeking Him.
Faith is more than a mental act of understanding that something is true. Faith is tied to repentance and to surrendering to God. One thief on the cross, beside Jesus, exercised faith. The Scriptures tell of how there were two criminals who were crucified along with Jesus. As they hung on crosses, one of these criminals blasphemed Jesus. The other criminal then rebuked the blasphemer, as we read; “But the other answered, and rebuking him said, Dost thou not even fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.” (Luke 23.40-41). The next verses tell us; “And he said, Jesus, remember me when thou comest in thy kingdom. And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23.42-43).
In this amazing account we see a man putting faith in Jesus and receiving forgiveness, salvation and hope. What did he do? First, he acknowledged his sin; he said that he was deserving of the penalty he was suffering. He acknowledged that his deeds had led him to judgment. Next, he acknowledged that Jesus was pure and innocent. Then he called out to Jesus, calling Him Lord. This thief put faith in Jesus. Jesus saved the soul of this thief and blessed him with the promise of being with Jesus in Paradise.
Oh, the salvation which came to the thief on the cross; how wonderful and good and extensive is the grace of Jesus Christ. The thief called out to Jesus. The thief was humble and confessed that he was deserving of judgment. He knew that he was a sinner needing God’s forgiveness and he called out to Jesus. He put his faith in Jesus Christ and was saved. Today he is with Christ.
Friend, how about you? Have you made this all-important choice to repent and put faith in Jesus Christ? Jesus has gone to great lengths to save you from hell, a place of judgment and suffering. Have you called out to Him in prayer? Remember Jesus’ question earlier; “Where is your faith?” Where is it, and whom is it in? If you do not know the Lord, then it is time to put your faith in Jesus Christ. Faith is a voluntary act. You must choose to believe, or you do not believe. Faith is not merely affirming a creed. Faith is an experience. It is a trust and a confidence in God. Faith is a response from man to God.
Is faith your response to the Lord’s love for you?
Friend, you are a sinner, just as the thief on the cross was a sinner. Jesus, the pure and innocent Son of God, died in your place and mine. Then He rose from the dead, showing His authority and power over death. You may have thought that death was simply the ending of a life of pain, your life of pain. Suicide is not the answer. Today you can choose life, a new life with God living inside of you and giving you hope and freedom. Jesus Christ has made a way for you. Choose Him today. Jesus calls all men and women to put faith in Himself. Faith is two-fold; firstly, it is believing in the truth of the gospel, that Jesus died on account of our sins and that He rose from the dead. Secondly, faith is actively putting your trust in Jesus Christ, Himself.
Friend, do you have faith, as I have described it here? You may have good deeds, or even religion, but without faith it is impossible to please God. God is, and He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. Call out to Jesus Christ now. Call out to Him in prayer. Call out in faith.
I want to pray for you also:
Lord Jesus, suicide is not an escape, it is a defeat. Death is something You are trying to save us from. We choose to listen to You today. Lord Jesus, it says in Your holy Word that if we would confess You with our mouths, and believe in our heart that God has raised You from the dead, that we will be saved. I pray for this reader, that this one would find this place of confession and believing. Let them find this place of faith and trust in You. I pray that this one will respond to You. I pray that this soul will respond to what You did when You died, on account of their sins, and when You rose again from the dead. Lord, You granted forgiveness and salvation to the thief on the cross. You granted it when he called out to You. Help this one also to cry out to You in this moment. Help them to repent and surrender. Amen.
Your life has great value and worth. Jesus has died for you and risen again. He has conquered death and see Him now reaching into your life, pulling you back from the brink of death. It is time to follow Him. God bless you.
Scripture references taken from the American Standard Version.
1John Wesley, quoted in A Compend Of Wesley’s Theology, Robert W. Burtner, Ed. et al (New York: Abingdon Press), 160.