There is a false teaching in the church that says if someone commits suicide that God will damn that person to hell.
This belief is taken from 1 Corinthians 3:17, which says:
If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
As always, the context of a verse determines its meaning.
So what is the context of 1 Corinthians 3:17?
Paul has been writing about those who come into a church and teach on the foundation he laid...a foundation of the death and resurrection of Jesus, grace, the new covenant... where God is not counting our sins against us and where he remembers our sins no more...where we are reconciled to God and at peace with him by faith in Jesus, and we are declared to be righteous in his sight.
It is a foundation of where we are not under law but under grace, where we do not live by the Ten Commandments, but by the Spirit of Christ within us...where Christ indwells us by his Spirit, and where we call God "Abba Father" (see my previous post entitled - Escaping As Through The Flames).
In 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, Paul writes about pastors/teachers who come into a church and build upon the foundation he laid.
Some build on the foundation using wood, hay, and straw (teachings not consistent with the new covenant of grace).
These teachings will be revealed as worthless and will burn up when they go through judgment.
The teacher will not receive any reward for his ministry based upon his teachings.
Others build on the foundation using gold, silver, and precious stone (teachings consistent with the new covenant of grace).
These teachings will prove to be of great value in judgment.
This teacher will be rewarded for his teachings.
Paul then refers to the church, God’s family of believers in Jesus, as God’s temple where his Spirit dwells (1 Corinthians 3:16; see also Ephesians 2:21-22 also).
The temple in 1 Corinthians 3:16 is not referring to an individual believer’s physical body.
That is not the context.
The temple is referring to the body of believers being built upon the foundation that Paul laid.
In verse 17, Paul says, “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”
The “anyone” being referred to in this verse is not referring to an individual who takes his life (suicide).
The “anyone” of verse 17 refers to a speaker or teacher who comes into a church for the purpose of destroying it.
This person is different from the one who teaches on the foundation Paul laid and suffers the loss of reward because his teachings were inconsistent with the new covenant of grace (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).
The person in verse 17 seems to be an unbeliever in Jesus whose goal is to destroy the church body, the spiritual temple of God where he lives by his Spirit.
The person of verses 12-15 has pure motives, but his teachings are in error.
The person of verse 17 has impure motives, and his teachings or actions are designed to destroy the church.
About this person, God says he will destroy the person who seeks to destroy his temple (the spiritual family of God).
Paul routinely dealt with people whose goal was to destroy the church in the cities where he laid the foundation of grace.
The Roman Empire during Paul’s lifetime was seeking to destroy the church.
Paul himself was eventually beheaded during the time of Nero.
The Roman Empire no longer exists...the church does!
It is obvious from the context that 1 Corinthians 1:17 does not refer to a person who commits suicide, but it refers to a person who is seeking to destroy God’s spiritual temple where he lives (in the hearts of believers) by his Spirit.
So what about people who commit suicide?
If they are believers in Jesus, they are with the Lord.
If they are unbelievers, they are not with the Lord.
If someone reading this post is contemplating suicide, please reconsider.
I know life seems hopeless.
You see no way for things to change or get better.
You have trusted God before but were let down.
You you have no hope.
Suicide seems like an easy escape from the hopelessness of life.
I want to encourage you to not commit suicide.
People love you.
You may feel as if you are doing them a favor by taking your life...you're not.
They will not be better off without you.
Their lives will be worse off without you.
You will bring great pain into their lives.
Pain they will never recover from.
You can't bring such excruciating pain into their lives.
You love them too much to bring so much pain into their lives.
You will get through what you are going through.
I know it is difficult.
I know it is painful.
I know your days seem dark.
But you will make it through.
Better days are coming.
You will smile again.
The sun will shine again.
Make a decision to not take your life.
Do not allow suicide to be an option.
Satan is against you and wants you to take your life.
Don’t cooperate with him.
Don’t yield to him.
That is not you desiring to take your life, that is Satan persuading you with his lies, seeking to convince you to take your life and making it look like a good option, not only for you but for those you love.
Again, better days are coming, and Satan does not want you to experience these better days.
The sun will shine again.
You will smile again.
When that day comes, you and your loved ones will be full of joy because you made the decision to live, even though you had to go through some difficult days.
You are loved and there is hope.