Does the Bible contradict itself? 1 Corinthians 6:10 says that drunkards are going to hell, but in John 2, Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding. Was Jesus setting people up to fail? He said in Matthew 15:11 that what we eat and drink don’t matter. So…why can’t we just eat and drink what we want?
Unlike “thou shall not steal,” there is no hard and fast rule that applies to every Christian with regards to drinking alcohol. In the end, you have to decide for yourself whether to drink alcohol and that decision should be in consultation with God and His word.
There are many references to wine and “strong drink” in the Bible. Many people base their thoughts about drinking around just one or two of those verses. Proverbs 20:1 says, “Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.” So, many people use this biblical wisdom to say that we should not drink at all. On the other hand, Ephesians 5:18, says “And do not get drunk with wine which leads to debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.” The “social drinkers” use this to support their drinking preferences. They believe as long as they are not drunk, they’re fine.
If you have two drinks every day when you get home from work because you’re stressed out, that’s not God. If you refuse to go to your sister’s wedding because they plan to serve alcohol, that’s not God either. If you have a fabulous glass of Cabernet with your steak, you’re not necessarily dishonoring God with that choice. Drinking alcohol as a Christian is a personal conviction. How much you drink is explicitly established by the Bible so don’t get carried away with the Rum or Rose’.
Does alcohol replace God in your life? Do you have a drink when you should be praying? Do you drink to forget the problems that you should be turning over to God? Proverbs 31:6-7 teaches us to “Let beer be for the perishing, wine for those who are in anguish. Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more.” So ask yourself…”Why am I pouring this drink ?” If it is to change your mood, you should probably not be drinking. Instead, go into prayer.
Does your drinking affect your health? 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. We are supposed to glorify God with our bodies. So if your doctor has warned you to stop drinking, you need to stop. If you are on medication that advises you not to drink alcohol, don’t do it. Otherwise, you are causing harm to God’s temple. If the genetic disease called alcoholism runs in your family, even social drinking could cause big problems in the long run. Avoid drinking.
Does drinking affect your character and judgment? Some people should not drink at all. Not one drop. You know who they are…the ones that become completely different people under the influence of alcohol. You’re shy until you drink. Then, you’re the fool of the party. You’re kind until drinking makes you mean. The passage in Ephesians 5:18 warns us that drinking, though in itself is not inherently bad, can lead to some very bad things. If you only end up making a fool of yourself doing the wobble in the wrong direction, you’re blessed. Many car accidents, sexual exploits, and violent crimes could have been avoided if alcohol had not been involved.
So, when I read the 73 verses on drinking alcohol in the Bible I conclude that drinking is okay unless you drink too much. That’s pretty much where I stand. But wait a minute — Romans 14:21 tells us not to cause our brothers to stumble. (Pardon the pun.) So, if there is a Christian friend who believes that they should not drink alcohol, stand with them without question. Don’t try to convince them that drinking is okay. Don’t look down on them or deem them as self-righteous. Don’t put them in situations that might offend them. Let’s show love and respect for those whose views may differ from our own on this “disputable matter.”
Pray and examine your motives for drinking, your behavior when drinking, and whether or not your drinking offends anyone else. After all, Jesus said the greatest commandment is love and we need to love God enough to follow his lead and love others enough to let them do the same.
Read Romans 14:13-22
Who are the people that you tend to judge for their beliefs and behaviors? Why does their behavior bother you? Eating and drinking are not a matter of salvation but how can eating and drinking hinder our spiritual lives?
1 thought on “Saints and Summer Cocktails”
This is a very wise and comprehensive summary of the issue of Christians and drinking. Thanks.