The subject was brought up a few days ago amongst family about Christians and drinking, I could not add anything to the conversation as I did not know enough about it. So I decided to do a little research of my own and this what I came up with.
So here it is, my take on drinking. I know this topic has been written about and debated about since Jesus entered human history. Probably in the top five subjects Christians talk about, ranks up there with adultery, homosexuallity, gossip and idolatry, the issue of alcohol is big.
So big that even among believers it’s not always been agreed upon.
The question remains, is it lawful for a Christian to drink alcohol?
Obviously we need to refer to God’s word to answer that question, but before we do that let me just establish that whatever my own opinion is towards alcohol is irrelevant, I intend to relay God’s take on it, not my own.
I do not intend to judge anyone. Whether or not a Christian drinks alcohol I don’t think is a salvation issue, Jesus has paid for our sins, past, present and future. If a person is saved and they commit a sin afterwards, that sin is not going to keep them out of heaven. If drinking is a sin, repentance would be the key.
The Bible has a lot to say in regards to alcohol, so do Christians. As Christians, that is, as name bearers of Christ our duty is to follow Jesus, so the first thing we should look at is what Jesus had to say about alcohol.
We see the very first miracle performed by Jesus was turning water into wine at a wedding. A wedding that Jesus, Jesus’ mother and His disciples were attending. The wine runs out and Jesus takes multiple large jugs and turns their contents into wine.
So Jesus is there, the wine runs out and Jesus makes more. Clearly everyone was drinking at this celebration and Jesus didn’t get up and call them a bunch of sinners, He made more for them and presumably for Himself, His mother and His disciples. I don’t know for sure if Jesus Himself drank any wine here, but He certainly did not condemn the consumption of alcohol at the wedding.
Paul let’s Timothy know that wine can have a healing effect, “don’t drink water only, use a little wine.”
So not only does wine have a place in social settings it also has a place in easing pain and discomfort.
Again this looks like an encouragement to enjoy some food and some drink.
Keep in mind that Ecclesiastes was written by the wisest man ever to have lived… until Jesus of course. If the wisest man says to enjoy some wine, I’m thinking he may be on to something.
I think what we need to determine is that drinking in and of itself is not a sin, if it becomes something that leads you away from God, then it is a sin. If it causes someone else to sin, then for you also it would be a sin.
Paul, ever the one who gives such good advice tells us that anything that causes your brother to stumble should be left alone, including meat if that is a problem for him. He tells us it’s better not to drink if it causes sin, not that drink itself is sin. This is simply a warning, not a commandment of what not to do.
Paul uses meat as a comparison to drink, in Proverbs we see a comparison to olive oil, again this is another warning, not one of the commandments.
Also in Proverbs we see the warning of joining anyone who drinks too much or eats too much, not those who drink and eat but those who do so in excess.
Implying that being a drunk is a sin, being a glutton is a sin, but having a drink or eating a meal is not a sin.
To the church in Ephesus Paul warned of the dangers of drinking too much and what that could lead to. Instead he wanted us to be filled with the Spirit, rather than be filled with wine. He doesn’t say not to drink, just not to get drunk.
Back to Jesus, do you know what the Pharisees called Him? They called him a drunkard and a glutton. Why would they say that? Well I think because he was often seen eating and drinking with unsavory fellows like tax collecters and adulterers. Someone doesn’t get the label of being a drunk if they’ve never had anything to drink.
John the Baptist and Samson are a couple of people that were explicitly told not to partake of any wine, we know that Samson didn’t follow these orders and God still used him and loved him. The verse above says specifically that Jesus drank wine and John did not, that didn’t stop anyone from saying negative things about them.
In conclusion what the Bible tells us is that wine is not the problem, too much wine is, like the reference to meat, eating meat is not a problem eating too much of it is.
A theory that I have about this wine and alcohol thing is that a lot of the time alcohol leads to a lot of problems so churches and Christians sometimes call alcohol the problem and swear it off completely saying “we are better off without it” it’s usually used in conjunction with this verse…
You know what, that’s OK. If anyone chooses to say no to any and all alcohol I don’t have a problem with that, I actually applaud them. Because if a person thinks it’s wrong for them, then they shouldn’t partake. Like if someone realizes they are a glutton and chooses not to go to the all you can eat buffet then I support that. However, the Bible does not call alcohol the problem, it calls the appetite for alcohol the problem. It’s like the verse everyone misquotes about money, “money is the root of all evil” when it actually says “the love of money is the root of all evil.”
The Bible is very clear on what is wrong, and you are welcome to correct me if I’m wrong but I have not found anything saying a very clear “no” on drinking. The ten commandments tell us what’s wrong, Jesus Himself doesn’t specifically condone or condemn it but I find that when it comes to right and wrong, sin and not sin, the Bible is clear and drinking does not fall under the sin category.
My two cents.
I’d love to hear your take on it…
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