SPIRITUAL NOURISHMENT FOR TODAY (November 6, 2013)
“Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God” Galatians 5:19-21.
“I WARN YOU, AS I DID BEFORE, THAT THOSE WHO LIVE LIKE THIS WILL NOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD” Galatians 5:21b (NIV).
Today we want to discuss another act of the sinful nature as mentioned by Paul. I expect a lot of counter comments from my readers because of the sensitivity of the issue. But I still want to prove at the end of the day that drunkenness is an act of the sinful nature, believe it or not!
I would like to start by saying that the Bible is not silent concerning the drinking of alcohol or wine. We can find some of them in the following passages: Leviticus 10:9; Numbers 6:3; Deuteronomy 29:6; Judges 13:4,7,14; Proverbs 20:1;31:4; Isaiah 5:11,22; 24:9; 28:7; 29:9; 56:12. This means that God is interested in what we put into our bodies. Despite what we can find in the above passages, the Bible does not categorically forbid the Christian from the drinking of beer, alcoholic drinks or wine. In certain parts of scripture, we can find something positive about wine. For instance in Ecclesiastes 9:7 says: “Drink your wine with a joyful heart.” According to Psalm 104:14-15, God provides the “wine that gladdens the hearts of men.” Amos 9:14 gives the promise of God’s people planting vineyards and drinking their own wine as part of God’s blessings. In addition, Isaiah 55:1 also invites the thirsty and the hungry to “come buy wine and drink.”
My argument is that if wine in itself were wrong, scripture would not have said anything positive about it. Therefore we cannot say the drinking of wine in itself is sinful. I know from some research that red wine taken once in a while can be very good to a person’s heart.
THE PROBLEM THEREFORE IS NOT WITH ALCOHOL OR WINE BUT WITH DRUNKENNESS OR ALCOHOLISM.
Even though there are no explicit commands against the drinking of alcohol in the Bible, the Bible commands the Christian against drunkenness. We can find several of such passages in the Bible from the passages in the first paragraph. In addition to that we have been commanded in Ephesians 5:18 as believers not to “get drunk on wine” because of what it can lead to. Also in Proverbs 23:29-35, the Bible condemns alcohol and its effects on the one who drinks. It describes alcohol as having the ability of biting like a snake and poisoning like viper (v. 32). It also says that ALCOHOL CAN MAKE ONE’S EYE TO “SEE STRANGE SIGHTS” AND MAKE ONE’S MIND “IMAGINE CONFUSING THINGS” (v. 33). Make time to read the rest beloved of God.
It is an undeniable fact that excessive drinking of alcohol can lead to addiction which means that the drinker of alcohol will get to a point where he or she is controlled by it and may find life very hard without it. Getting addicted to anything and allowing it to control any aspect of your life instead of God is idolatry. According to scripture, the Christian is not supposed to be mastered by anything (1 Corinthians 6:12 and 2 Peter 2:19). We become slaves to whatever gains mastery over lives; in that sense alcoholism which leads to addiction is sinful. This is what Paul was talking about-the excessive drinking of alcohol which makes one become addicted and subsequently mastered by it. Instead of being filled with alcohol, we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).
I don’t want to go with those who claim that alcohol is good because Jesus probably drank alcohol at Cana. There is no proof for that even though it cannot be ruled out. Those who also use Paul’s advice to Timothy in 1 Timothy 5:23 to justify their drinking habits also have no basis because Paul was not prescribing medicine for stomach ailments, besides it was not for Timothy to get drunk. We can also add the following passages:
“Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” Proverbs 20:1 (ESV).
“Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine, and valiant men in mixing strong drink” Isaiah 5:22 (ESV).
“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” 1 Peter 5:8 (ESV). Note: Alcohol does not make a person sober, rather, the opposite.
“If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple” 1 Corinthians 3:17 (ESV)
“Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!” Isaiah 5:11 (ESV).
Apart from the biblical evidence against drunkenness, scientific researches have also shown that excessive alcoholism can have diverse consequences on the health of those engaged in it. Some of the negative health effects of drunkenness are; heart damages such as Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle, Arrhythmias Irregular heartbeat, Stroke and High blood pressure: Liver inflammations such as ; Steatosis, or fatty liver, Alcoholic hepatitis, Fibrosis and Cirrhosis : Cancers such as; Mouth, Esophagus, Throat, Liver and Breast. It can also affect one’s immune system making it an easier target for diseases. At least even if you think the Bible is not clear, this can help you know the negative effects of alcoholism on the body.
Consumption of small quantities of alcohol is not sinful in itself but can lead to addiction and drunkenness. Drunkenness and addiction are sin. However, due to the biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects; due to the easy temptation to consume alcohol in excess, and due to the possibility of causing offense and/or stumbling of others, it is often best for a Christian to abstain from drinking alcohol. We should also remember that our bodies are the temples of God and are to be kept holy and healthy. If we destroy the temple of God, we shall be destroyed. In addition, we need to desist from the idea of taking alcohol to get boost us our morale as Christians when we have to do something before the congregation because we end up putting our trust in what the alcohol can do for us instead of what the Holy Spirit can use us to accomplish. We are to depend on the power of the Holy not the power of alcohol.
One danger in drinking alcohol as a Christian is the fact that it can lead to almost all the acts of the sinful nature. It can lead to addiction, making one a slave to it, which is idolatry. It can cause a person to fall into all types of sexual sins and crimes such as adultery, fornication and rape. It can also lead one into committing murder, the use of filthy language, fits of rage and so on. It is therefore advisable for believers to stay away from anything that can lead us into sins. We should never underestimate the power of alcoholism on the body as well as our relationship with God.
THE WORD OF THE LORD!
See also :
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 1)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 2)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 3)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 4)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 5)
The Acts of the Sinful Nature (Part 6)
Pastor Nana Kobina Baisie
Teacher/Pastor at Nadrim Mission International School, Busan, Korea.