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Several months ago, I attended a Bible Study at a local church. I had been with this group for a while, so we all knew each other fairly well. During this particular study, one of the ladies shared a horrific event that occurred in her life. Her teenage son died by suicide several years ago.
Her son had been suffering from a deep depression, and the doctors were not able to effectively treat it. One day, he became so despondent that he ended his life. Of course, this caused immense distress in the family, and this lady explained to all of us how hard it had been on her and her family. The members of the group were so supportive, and we all rallied around her as tears streamed down her face.
She eventually brought up a concern that she had for several years since the suicide. She wondered if her son was in heaven because he took his own life. He had been very active in the church and believed that Jesus died for his sins. He showed love to everyone he met, and he helped out those who were less fortunate. She told us that he was a wonderful person but he suffered terribly from this depressive illness.
We all assured her that he was at home with Jesus, and he was no longer suffering from depression. I specifically said that the depression could have been just too much for him to handle and that God knows how much he suffered during his short life here on earth. God is love, and He has compassion on those who are suffering. According to what she said about her son, I have no doubt that he is with God in heaven.
However, one lady made the statement, “Once you are saved, you are always saved.” This statement bothered me, but I didn’t address it as that would have been inappropriate during that conversation. This woman needed support, and that is what I focused on at that time. Today, in this blog, I would like to address this statement as God’s word gave me clarification on this issue.
To say “Once you are saved, you are always saved” is an incorrect statement. When I heard this statement, I was bothered because I know people who have been saved but then turn away from God and lead a sinful life. It just didn’t make sense to me. Then one day while reading 2 Peter 2, I received clarification on this issue.
“If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit’ and ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.'”
Does this mean that this young man isn’t saved? No. None of us here on earth know what was going on in his mind and heart at that moment that he ended his life. He never turned to a sinful life prior to ending his life. He may have had a very serious illness involving the neurotransmitters in his brain, and his actions may have been out of his control. It also says in the Bible, “Do not judge lest ye be judged.” Only God knows what truly went on at that tragic moment. No one on this earth has the knowledge of God, and no one can tell you who is going to heaven. If they do, they somehow have managed to put themselves on the same level as God himself, and that is sacrilegious. Only God can judge others here on earth.
Having said that, I do believe that it is necessary to clarify the statement, “once saved, always saved”. Do not be deceived into thinking that just because you accepted Jesus at one point in your life, you are destined for heaven even if you turn your back completely on Him. This simply is not true.
I will continue to pray for complete healing for this family. I know that God has them in His loving arms, and I pray that they find the heavenly peace that surpasses all human understanding.