This is in reponse to more “God Questions.” If you are seeking answers, forward your questions. Let’s find the answers together.
Did Judas go to hell because he committed suicide?
Also, do you go to hell if you commit suicide?
Matthew 27:3–5 (NIV) 3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
Ephesians 2:8–9 (NIV) 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.
First, it is important for us to recognize how it is possible for any of us to escape eternal separation from God (hell) and that is by faith. We did nothing to earn our salvation therefore we can do nothing to lose it. How are we condemned? We all sin because we are sinners, I am not a sinner because I sin. A sinner is who I am and I am condemned on those grounds. I am saved because of who God is, not because of who I am.
So the question might be, was Judas saved by faith?
John 6:64 (NIV) 64 Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him.
The answer is clearly no. And I think it is worthy to note here that Judas was not a mere pawn in God’s plan. All that he did, he did willingly. Even Judas recognized his own guilt. The word used here for remorse in Mt. 27:3 indicates a change of mind, not a change of heart. It is an intellectual remorse not spiritual repentance.
You and I cannot see Judas’ heart, but we can judge his fruit. Did Judas’ fruit demonstrate a saving faith?
John 12:4–6 (NIV) 4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Judas’ character as revealed by the scriptures showed him to be miserly and a thief void of compassion clear up until his betrayal of Christ. So it is that Judas died a condemned man because he did not believe Christ, not because he violated the sixth commandment.
Does a person go to hell because they commit suicide?
Suicide does not damn a man although murder, even committing one’s own murder, is still a sin even if it can be forgiven. We are condemned because that is who we are without Christ.
The next question that might follow is: Can someone be a believer and still commit suicide?
To that I would answer with a question, “Are you as a believer without sin?” People commit acts of sin throughout their entire lives, even believers. And people commit suicide for many reasons, including chemical imbalances in the brain.
1 John 1:8–10 (NIV) 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.
The Christian faith is unique in that it is not a works based righteousness that saves a man from the condemnation of hell. We are saved apart from our deeds, thereafter our deeds reveal our faith. James 2:24 (NIV) “24 You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.” We are justified before men by our deeds because how we live betrays what we truly believe.
As believers we are secure in our salvation because of the way God saves us.
Ephesians 1:13–14 (NIV) 13 And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Romans 8:37–39 (NIV) 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
In conclusion, if one goes to hell it is because they died apart from Christ, not because of their deeds. Suicide can no more cancel the seal of the Holy Spirit or the finished work on the cross than lying, gossiping or sexual immorality. But if we are living like we do not believe God exists or like we do not fear God, then we would be wise to examine our selves to determine if we are in the faith.
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV) 5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?