Q&A: Murderers in Heaven

Murderers in Heaven

Question

I have heard that a murderer, (one who commits a criminal homicide) cannot receive salvation in the flesh and must be executed to be sent back to the Father for judgment. I have also heard that upon death, the murderer will face God the Father and his victim whom he murdered to receive judgement and either punishment or forgiveness, depending upon repentance. Where, if at all, are these Scriptures in the Bible?

Answer

Actually, the Bible doesn't teach that murderers can't be saved in the normal way. Rather, it assures us that even they can receive salvation in Christ if only they repent of their sins and turn to Christ in faith. Some notable biblical examples include King David (2 Sam. 11-12) and the apostle Paul (Acts 8:1; 9:1). Both were murderers, and both were obviously also saved, and both were assured/confident of forgiveness in this life (2 Sam. 12:13; 1 Tim. 1:12-16). Neither was executed for his crimes.

As far as I know, there is no explicit indication in Scripture that a murderer will have to face his victim(s). Nevertheless, there are some indications in Scripture that the injured demand retribution and justice (e.g. Rev. 6:10). In no event, however, will those who are in Christ ever suffer for their crimes -- Christ has suffered for all the sins of believers, including for their murderous actions. Paul also adds that believers are beyond accusation (Rom. 8:33), which suggests that the victims of forgiven murderers will not be able to accuse them on the Judgment Day.

Also, Christ is the one who will render judgment (John 5:22), not the Father, though the saints will participate in judging under Christ's authority (1 Cor. 6).

Answer by Ra McLaughlin

Ra McLaughlin is Vice President of Finance and Administration at Third Millennium Ministries.