Is Drinking Alcohol A Sin?
-- The Bible says that "wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling"
(Proverbs 20:1). The Bible also says, "Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor,
pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk" (Habakkuk 2:15). Yet the
Bible does not say that drinking a glass of wine or beer, or a cocktail with dinner,
is a sin. Drunkenness is a sin, forbidden by the Bible, but having one drink may
not be wrong.
Is drinking alcohol wrong? I do not drink alcoholic beverages
for one major reason: My conduct might cause someone else, who is weak, to stumble.
The apostle Paul established a rule of conduct that I think is very good. He said
he would not eat meat or drink wine or do anything else which would cause a weaker
brother to stumble (see Romans 14:14-21).
In a country where there are at least
twenty million problem drinkers, and millions of others who use alcohol to excess,
Christians just cannot stand by and say, "I can drink alcoholic beverages because
the Bible does not say not to." My conduct should be governed by the law of love.
If I love my brother, I will not cause him to stumble and be offended. I personally
refrain from drinking alcohol for that reason.
There is another reason for
not drinking. The believer's body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is hard
to think that we could pour liquor into the temple of God without defiling it.
Liquor destroys blood vessels and brain cells. Long-term consumption of alcoholic
beverages can cause cirrhosis of the liver, lead to delirium tremens, and make
for habitual alcoholism.
It is also very difficult to think that anyone could
worship God with his mind befogged by drinking. Even one ounce of liquor can begin
to bring on intoxication. Two or three ounces can make a person legally drunk.
Half of all the traffic deaths in the United States are caused by people who have
had at least one drink prior to driving.
To take our money, our lives, and
our bodies, all of which belong to Jesus, and subject them to a state of intoxication
can hardly be said to glorify the Lord or be an act of faith.
Some would raise
the issue of what Jesus did when He changed water into wine. In ancient Israel
there was almost no alcoholism, and there is little problem with it in Israel
today. But in Jesus' day, wine was used at meals and in ceremonial functions or
for special parties. As a national matter, wine was not a problem for them. Their
wine was probably a low-alcohol-content grape derivative, and it was more of a
refreshing beverage than it was an intoxicant. Jesus lived in a society in which
alcoholism was not the problem that it is in our day. So, for Him, in the context
of that culture, wine was all right. But for us in America today, alcohol is not
How Can I Quit Drinking or Depending on Drugs?
both of these instances a person has to make up his mind to quit. I do not believe
in gradually tapering off of cigarettes, narcotics, or alcohol. You need to make
a total break. That means you should get rid of anything you have that might tempt
In my case, when I found Jesus, I poured some valuable Scotch down the
drain, to the consternation of my wife, who had not yet made the same commitment.
That was a definite break for me. From that moment on, I was not going to drink
any more. I believe this is the case with any habit a person regards as sinful.
He or she must say, "That's it. That's the last one. No more." And from that moment
on, ask God to help you.
You must confess that you have been doing something
you consider wrong, and that you have been defiling the temple of God. You must
tell God that you want and need His forgiveness and deliverance. You must renounce
your habit and cast the spirit of alcohol, the spirit of narcotics, or the spirit
of nicotine from your body. Command it to leave you and resolve that, with God's
help, you will never again smoke another cigarette, another joint of marijuana,
or whatever it may be that you are giving up, again.
After that, do not consort
with those who helped to get you into trouble or who would soon have you back
where you used to be. It may be hard to do that, but it is necessary. Instead,
you should try to find some others, preferably Christians, who have given up the
same habit themselves, to support you during the first days of quitting. Alcoholics
Anonymous is one such group that is very helpful.
It takes about thirty days
to establish a habit. You have to get into the habit of not smoking or not drinking.
It will take about the same length of time for your body to clean out the poisons
and the chemical dependency. After that time period, the craving should be over,
and in the case of cigarettes, you may discover that the smell of cigarettes and
cigarette butts will actually become repugnant to you.
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