Some Christians believe alcohol is a sin and any drinking is unwise, some believe drinking is okay in moderation, and others believe alcohol is a gift of the Lord. Very different perspectives from just one simple topic! The issue of alcohol consumption is one that can easily become a heated debate between believers and non-believers as well as stir separation between Christians themselves. So what does the Bible say about drinking specifically?
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 – “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
Galatians 5:21 – “Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Ephesians 5:18 – “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit”
1 Peter 5:8 – “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”
Proverbs 23:20-21 – “Be not among drunkards or among gluttonous eaters of meat, for the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty, and slumber will clothe them with rags.”
1 Corinthians 6:10 – “Nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Numbers 6:3 – “He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink. He shall drink no vinegar made from wine or strong drink and shall not drink any juice of grapes or eat grapes, fresh or dried.”
The argument I hear most is “they drank alcohol and wine in the Bible!” While this is true, I don’t believe the alcohol content was near as strong as we make it in our present day. Our alcohol made today is made with the pure intent to make people drunk. But even so in Biblical times, the people were warned about not getting drunk. When we drink to get drunk, we are deliberately disobeying God and his principles for our life. And being disobedient is a sin with consequences.
Many things can happen when we are drunk and not of sound mind. Nothing good can come when we are breaking God’s laws which were given to us as a free gift to better our lives. As noted above in 1 Peter, when we are intoxicated the devil is more likely to use your impaired judgment to cause havoc and chaos in our lives. We simply are not able to make Godly decisions when we are not of sober mind. Having a designated driver, drinking in honor of a celebration, drinking with close friends and out of the public eye are NOT good excuses for getting drunk. They are simply excuses and nothing more. I do not think a drink on occasion is a bad thing. But I do believe we should be watchful about our consumption of alcohol and know when to stop.
We should also be aware of the people around us and the impact our choices can have on their walk with Christ. Romans 14:15 reads, “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died.” We don’t know the path the person next to us has taken or will be taking. We don’t know if they are a recovering alcoholic, if they are currently struggling with alcohol, or if they are simply angry and judgmental and will chose alcohol because the strong Christian sitting next to him has a drink. We simply do not know the life circumstances of everyone around us and must be attentive to those around us. Sure, you may be okay to have a glass of wine, but that glass of wine may be a stumbling block to someone else. Is that drink worth the risk of someone else taking a wrong path in life?
Ultimately, alcohol is a personal choice. We are blessed with God-inspired scriptures to be used to make a sound judgment. If the Holy Spirit is leading you to stop drinking (for whatever reason), then you must submit to those principles for your life. The gift of the Holy Spirit was given to you to help you discern scripture and life circumstances; use that gift! Open your heart and mind to the beauty of God’s wonderful gift and really seek His will for your life.
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