Is Drinking Alcohol Wrong?

10/10/2003

There are a lot of people who say, “I can drink alcohol because, after all, they drank wine in the Bible.” Do you know that if you are going to use that lower level of “reasoning,” then you are going to have quite a dilemma on your hands? Do you know that there is more “scriptural” basis for condoning slavery than there is for condoning “wine”? So what are you going to do about THAT? Are you going to condone things like slavery, too? I bet not.

The truth is that the minor amount of “alcohol” in medieval “wine” was to kill the bacteria and “was good for the stomach” as Paul said to Timothy. YES, some evil disobedient people COULD do it in excess, just like chocolate cake or exercise fanaticism or ANYTHING can become sin in excess. Their wine was “sanitary” BECAUSE of the minor amounts of alcohol, and made it possible to hydrate without the high incidence of sickness that came from the water sources back then, in most parts of the world. Even the Jordan River, if you have seen it, flows so slowly and is but a trickle in some places, that it could not have been sanitary at most north/south locations where people would live. Animal feces and insects, in addition to the clothing washing that went on in any river, not to mention the human remains thrown into rivers by many of the world’s pagan religions... all made for poor drinking water. Fermented grapes was effective as a water “purification” process.

But, all of that said, BE NOT DRUNK WITH WINE is a Command from God (Ephesians 5:17-18). Period. Any inebriation should be rejected, just as Jesus did with even a TASTE while on the Cross. Will you go to hell for being utterly foolish in ANY indulgence? ONLY if you haven’t enough conscience to STOP the sin (1John 3, Heb.10:26), in which case it is doubtful that such a person was ever Saved. The New Covenant itself promised He would put His SPIRIT in us and “cause us to keep His Commands and Decrees” without “a man saying to his neighbor, obey obey do do don’t don’t” which “have no ability to restrain sensual indulgence” anyway (Col.2). Why would people WANT to mess around with such things? Why would anyone want to smoke cigars or chew tobacco or drink gallons of coffee, too? WHY? Why would anyone who wants to be as close to Jesus as possible in a fallen world want to find out how much they can play with nasty substances that now have NOTHING to do with pure germ-free hydration, but only entertainment? “Drink a little wine—it’s good for your stomach” was a MEDICAL thought offered from Paul to Timothy. For the STOMACH, not for inebriation. 

One man’s testimony (yet the experience of many)... 

I started drinking in high school. Unfortunately, I really liked it. I liked the taste of it and how it made me feel. However, when I decided to get really serious about following Jesus, I had to deal with myself regarding my drinking. Even when I had “stopped” drinking, somewhere inside of me I still wanted to hold out the possibility that it *might* be “okay” to have “just a little drink” sometime or another in my future. Somehow the taste for strong drink still held a place in my heart, even when I wasn’t doing it. I knew it was wrong to get drunk or out of control, but I held out the possibility that maybe it wasn’t really “wrong” in God’s eyes. 

But, then came the question I had to deal with in myself: Regardless of how my mind wanted to come up with “reasons” as to why drinking small amounts occasionally might be “ok”...something in my insides NEVER felt right about it. Period. So, how was I ever going to experience any real change if I would not even obey my conscience in this area? If I wouldn’t obey Him in this, how would I ever have the FULLNESS of Living in Jesus? I certainly didn’t want to spend my years and my days being tossed around on a roller coaster of heartbreaks and emotional upheavals (which seemed to be an automatic for those who don’t live in His Peace). Eventually, I made a decision that I was just DONE with drinking. Period. No ifs, ands, or buts about it any more. And all I can tell you now is that... Wow! Was it FREEING! I recognized that Jesus wanted to be Lord over every area of my life SO THAT He could create in me and change me into what HE wanted. And, in my heart of hearts I wanted HIM to be my only desire. I didn’t want to do “great things for God” like some people might. I wanted to be CHANGED on the inside into the fullness of whatever He wanted me to be in Him. I simply wanted to be His in every way. I loved Him, and I longed to see where He wanted to take me in this process of changing me on the inside to be like Him, Jesus (which is His desire for all who wear His name). 

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