Mailbag Page 11
>>>What happens to a Christian who commits suicide?
2/10/2005 -- Steve's comments about his attempts at suicide
3/6/2002 -- Jim's comments about suicide and God's "fairness"
Did Judas repent? Is sorrow for sin the same as repentance?
Soul sleep? (Does a Christian who dies go IMMEDIATELY to heaven?)
Bible Bell's Newsletter for 8/20/99 had a short item that compared the remorse of Judas Iscariot with the repentance of Peter...
The following paragraphs contain...
Extract from Bible Bell News 27-990820 dated 8/20/99
E) Repentance versus remorse
Extract from a message sent by a reader named Kathy
|Kathy writes: If Judas threw down the silver and killed himself, wouldn't you say he felt remorse? Maybe he took the coward's way out but I still wonder.
Bible Bell's reply to Kathy
As always, it's a joy to hear from you. You raise an interesting point. Acts 1.16-25 indicates that, after his death, Judas went to "his own place." Hmm. I'm not fully certain what this means (the Bible doesn't say) but I wouldn't think it means he went to heaven.
Yes, Judas felt remorse, but remorse and repentance are not totally synonymous terms. The "theologically pure" definition of repentance is: to turn FROM sin TO God. It seems evident that Judas turned away from his sin of betrayal BUT -- did he then turn TO God? I think not. In Mt 27.4-5, Judas referred to Jesus as "innocent." Judas did not refer to Jesus as Savior, Lord, or God.
People can turn away from sin WITHOUT turning to God. Many people aim to "reform their ways" but do not necessarily intend to become followers of God. They are sorry for what they have done. They are sorry for the bad feelings that their actions have brought to their consciences. But they are not necessarily sorry for the effect of their actions upon God Himself. In fact, they may not even believe in God.
In my OPINION, when a person completes a true act of repentance by turning TO God, I believe the result will be a desire to live, not to die. When a person truly repents, that person's remorse will be displaced by a sense of overwhelming joy and relief as he or she experiences the love and forgiveness of God.
Am I making any sense? Maybe not. It's a complex topic. I'll think about it some more.
Extract from a message sent by Pastor Harold
|One minor point. If you use some of this on your Web Page, one item needs
a little clarification.
BBN stated "E2) To repent is to LIVE FOR JESUS. Peter did. Judas didn't."
To live for Jesus is the result of repenting which Peter did & Judas didn't.
Matt. 27:3 states that Judas "repented himself", but the Greek word is metamelomai which means "to have remorse" which differs from metanoeo which means "to have another mind" which is the root word for repent.
For further study
Which category are you -- "A" or "B" or "C" or "D" ???
If you fall into categories "A" and/or "B" you probably have reached the stage in your Christian growth where you would profit by owning and reading...
"What the Bible Teaches" by R.A. Torrey, Fleming Revell Co (about $15 in hardcover)
|Ken writes: I really need to know if Christians who commit suicide automatically go to hell.
Your Pastor is the best person to answer your question concerning
the fate of a Christian who commits suicide. In the paragraphs that follow I have given a few basic thoughts on
the subject but they are BY NO MEANS a fully adequate answer to this very difficult matter.
The Bible does not directly and specifically say exactly what happens to a suicide victim in relation to his or her eternal salvation. We do know that...
We know that God's mercies are great beyond comprehension. We know that the blood of Jesus is infinitely sufficient.
In the Bible, however, I can find NO ABSOLUTE GUARANTEE as to how God deals with a Christian who takes his or her own life.
- I won't go into details, but I became a Christian because I was
depressed. Part of that depression involved attempted suicide on many occasions.
I then got saved. Things got better. In fact, things were great. But I still suffered from depression, and I still had suicidal THOUGHTS. All the things that I was doing, self-harming, and attempted suicide, they turned into THOUGHTS and not actions. This began to open my eyes on what the devil can do. You see (fortunate for me) the Lord knows my weaknesses and forgives them. Unfortunately, the devil also knows my weaknesses, and he acts upon them.
Because of this, I turn to the Lord and ask Him to deal with it for me, because I can't. I still get down, and so I say, "Lord, please help me with this, I can't cope." And He deals with it.
I don't know what I am trying to say, but just thought I would post up my thoughts.
Jim R. writes - I have just recently come across your website, and it is wonderful! In the short time I have been aware of it, it has indeed been a blessing to me.
Now for my 2 cents worth on Christians and suicide:
In your answer to this question, you stated that God was "Fair". I praise God everyday that He is NOT "Fair".
If God were "Fair", I would get what I deserve from Him. But since He is "Merciful", and not "Fair", I am the recipient of his "Grace", which means I get so much more than what I deserve.
I am certainly NOT a Bible Scholar, but I am confident that God always keeps His promises, and His promise is that if we accept that we all have sinned and fallen short of His Glory, and accept that when Jesus died at Calvary we died with Him and had our sins paid for with His blood, and trust Him as our own personal Savior, then we have eternal life.
We can do nothing to save ourselves, hence we can do nothing to "un-save" ourselves.
God Bless, and I'll keep reading!
Biblebell replies - "Gee I wish I had written that!"
Folks, don't you just KNOW that God beamed with pleasure at the lovely thoughts expressed by His son Jim?
Okay, here's what I wrote that sparked Jim's comments: "God is all knowing, fair and merciful."
Jim is right. I should NOT have used the word "fair." What I should have written is this: "God is all knowing, JUST, and merciful."
It might sound nice to say something like "God gave me mercy instead of justice," but it doesn't tell us all that we need to know about this topic...
God Himself met the law's demands. God was just in that He Himself JUSTIFIED us, whereby we were made RIGHT under the law...
God sent forth (Jesus) as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness <dikaiosune>, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness <dikaiosune>, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
|Strong's 1343 dikaiosune, dik-ah-yos-oo'-nay
equity (of character or act); specially (Christian) justification:--righteousness.
|Karen writes: Hello Bible Bell, I have a question. When we saints pass away from this life, are our souls placed in a waiting room until Christ comes for us? Thanks.
|Bible Bell's reply: Please read Luke 16.19-22, as quoted below...
|(Jesus said...) There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared
sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring
to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.
So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom.
The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. Then he cried and said, "Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame."
But Abraham said, "Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented." (Lk 16.19-25, NKJ)
In the preceding verses, Jesus is teaching us a little bit about what happens when Christians die versus when unbelievers die. In this Bible passage...
Notice that, when Lazarus dies, his soul is escorted to Abraham's bosom (which pictures heaven) by angels. When a Christian dies, he or she is escorted to heaven by God's angels. No roadmaps required. :o)
Also notice that both Lazarus and the rich man are awake, and fully aware of their circumstances. Moreover, they are capable of feeling pain as well as pleasure. Their souls are NOT asleep. Their souls are very much awake.
In this story, it is abundantly evident that Jesus is teaching us that the soul of a Christian who dies does NOT sleep. Rather, the Christian's soul goes immediately to heaven.
Consider also the following verses...
|Therefore we are always confident, knowing that while we are at home
in the body (alive) we are absent from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body (physically dead)
and to be present with the Lord. (2 Cor 5.6-8, NKJ)
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart (physically die) and be with Christ, which is far better. (Philippians 1.21-23, NKJ)
|The above verses clearly proclaim -- absent from the body (physically
dead) is present with Christ
Finally, have a look at two more Bible passages...
|Jesus prayed...) "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave
Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation
of the world." (John 17.24, NKJ)
We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep (physically died) in him. (1 Thes 4.14, NIV)
|In John 17 Jesus prayed that His people would be WITH Him. Would God
fail to grant His Son's request? Absolutely not!
First Thessalonians 4 tells us that, when Jesus returns for His church (at "the Rapture"), those who have died in Christ will come WITH Him from heaven (1 Thes 4.14). To come with Jesus to earth, Christians must obviously have been with Jesus in heaven.
In summary - when a Christian dies, his or her soul goes to be with Jesus. Not in a grave. Not asleep. WITH Jesus - awake, alive, and filled with joy! Amen.