Alcohol: Is It the Devil's Brew?
By Hannah Goodwyn
College presidents are calling on lawmakers to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18 in an effort to reduce alcohol abuse on campuses this year. They argue that the current law encourages students to take private underage drinking to the extreme. Teach the kids responsibility is the mantra of these campus leaders.
As this debate is revisited, Christian parents and young adults are also faced with the age-old controversial question – Is it OK for Christians to drink?
Some argue it’s unbiblical to drink alcohol; while others claim that partaking of a little isn’t a sin.
Well, let me clarify what God's Word states about drinking.
To Drink, Or Not to Drink?
Drinking alcohol isn't necessarily a sin. Now before you to try and disprove this statement, let me show you what I found when studying God’s Word.
According to the Bible, Jesus never sinned. In fact, Hebrews 4 states that even though he faced every kind of temptation we do, he didn’t give in to sin.
So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered Heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same testings we do, yet He did not sin. Hebrews 4:14-15 (NLT)
Again in the explanation of the power of the Cross, we read that Jesus was without blame.
Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:18 (NLT)
A lot of negative connotations can be attached to the phrase… “So-and-so drinks.” Most of us immediately envision a drunk, but that’s not what I’m referring to in this article. I’m simply addressing the action of drinking a self-controlled amount of wine or other fermented beverages.
Not only does the Bible say that Jesus drank wine at the Last Supper, but in Jewish tradition he would have done so at Passover each year as well. In understanding the culture and reading the accounts of Christ, readers can’t presume that Christ views alcohol as taboo. In fact, the first miracle he performed was to turn water into wine (John 2).
The master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine. He did not realize where it had come from, though the servants who had drawn the water knew. Then he called the bridegroom aside and said, "Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now." John 2:9-10 (NIV)
This was the first time people would see Jesus' power in action. Why would He pick to create something that is innately sinful?
The Bible reveals to us that God cannot stand to be in the presence of sin (Isaiah 59:2). There will be no sin in Heaven. But, Jesus said at the Last Supper that we’ll be drinking with Him in Heaven. After passing the bread and the cup, Jesus says:
"I'll not be drinking wine from this cup again until that new day when I'll drink with you in the Kingdom of my Father." Matthew 26:25-27 (The Message)
This same account is recorded two other times in the New Testament (Mark 14:25 and Luke 22:17). Therefore, if there is no sin in Heaven, yet we will be drinking wine with Christ in celebration then drinking is not a sin.
Walking the Straight Line
The argument is fairly cut and dry to this point. The danger is when we, in our humanity, become overzealous. Understanding our limit is the key. Although God allows for the drinking of wine, he does not approve of drunkenness or any kind dependence on alcohol.
Wine makes you mean, beer makes you quarrelsome— a staggering drunk is not much fun. Proverbs 20:1 (The Message)
Simply because it isn’t a sin to drink “wine” does not give us license to abuse it. God doesn’t forbid us from eating. However, he abhors gluttons, those who eat excessively for pleasure. Also, if alcoholism runs in your family or it has been a problem of your past, by all means avoid it at all costs. Why set yourself up?
In I Timothy 3, church leaders and servants in the Body of Christ are told to avoid becoming “overfond of wine.”
He must not be a heavy drinker or be violent. He must be gentle, not quarrelsome, and not love money. (I Timothy 3:3, NLT)
This is a good rule of thumb for us all since we are called to be God’s representatives to the world. If you don't drink, don't condemn those who do. When in doubt, default to focus your attention and energy on Christ. Follow Paul’s advice from Ephesians 5:18.
Don't drink too much wine. That cheapens your life. Drink the Spirit of God, huge draughts of him. (The Message)
What are you thoughts? Do you think it is OK for Christians to drink?
Hannah Goodwyn serves as a producer for LivingTheLife.com and CBN.com. She also writes for these sites. For more articles and info, visit Hannah's bio page.
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