Q. I have heard it stated by people, especially those who are saved, that if a born again Christian takes their own life, they will still go to hell. One of my friends had a best friend who truly was saved, but hung himself. My friend, who is also a true believer, thinks his friend went to hell, even though this person was a born again Christian. The Bible is pretty quiet on this one, so I was wondering what the answer is. Does that person go to hell or do they get into heaven by the skin of their teeth?
A. This one takes the application of some simple logic. In Ephesians 1:13-14 Paul wrote that when we heard the gospel and believed it the Holy Spirit was sealed within us as a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance. In 2 Cor. 1:21-22 he added to this saying that God Himself has accepted responsibility for us and put His mark of ownership on us. Together these verses mean our salvation was guaranteed before we had a chance to do anything, good or bad, after becoming saved.
Then in Colossians 2:13-14 he said that the Lord forgave us all our sins at the cross. The word translated “all” means “each and every, any and all”. Therefore all the sins of our life, past, present, and future were paid for at the cross.
Put another way, since God knows the end from the beginning, He knew every sin we would ever commit. The moment we accepted the Gospel and became born again all of them were forgiven, even the sin of taking our own life if it comes to that. That means the only way your friend can be right about this is if his friend was never saved in the first place.
Some teach that 1 Cor. 3:16-17 means our body is God’s Temple and if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. Therefore a Christian who commits suicide will go to hell. But that’s not what the verses say. They say “you yourselves” are God’s temple. The Greek word translated “you yourselves” is plural while the one for temple is singular. That means all believers together make up the one temple of God. It doesn’t mean each believer is a separate temple. In effect, Paul was saying that if anyone were to destroy the whole Church God would destroy him.
Since this statement comes right after Paul’s description of the Bema judgment (1 Cor. 3:10-15), I believe it’s a reassurance that even if all the works of all the believers in the entire Church age get burned up in the fire, we would all still be saved because we are God’s Temple. If He destroyed us He would have to destroy Himself.