Nothing can stir up great debate and/or emotion such as the topic of alcohol within the life of a believer. Yet the facts remain that alcohol in its purest form is something we, who are in Christ, need to abstain from. And contrary to some who would argue that moderation is ideal, nothing could be further from the truth.
I was raised in a Christian home, both my parents were believers, although my Father struggled at times in his walk yet in the years just prior to his early death at 43, he cemented his walk with the Lord completely. Still, in his younger days, my dad had bouts with alcohol – so did his Father – my grandfather. For most of my life, I have seen the results of alcohol in all its debilitating forms and none of it proved to me that alcohol, in any form, in any amount was productive to the human body. Actually, it’s a fact that hard liquor is not only harmful to the mind, it’s also destructive to the body.
Yet I see many within the body of Christ reaching for the bottle of Chivas Regal or Budweiser, or worse, Kentucky Bourbon and think it’s no big deal. The problem with alcohol in the life of a believer is, it is a big deal.
The #1 cause of highway deaths related to automobile accidents in the United States is in fact alcohol. The #1 cause for domestic violence in America is both the combination of alcohol and drugs. The #1 gateway drug in teenagers in the United States is alcohol. So far, the benefits (whatever they might be) of alcohol are not as beneficial as one might think, actually, any so called “benefit” are quickly diminished by the long list of health hazards when we look at the overall affects of alcohol on the human body. Here are the facts relating to alcohol and its affects to those who use it.
Alcohol is the #1 cause of liver dysfunction in the world. Alcohol interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, and can affect the way the brain looks and works. These disruptions can change mood and behavior, and make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination. Alcohol can increase your risk of developing certain cancers, including cancers of the:
Drinking alcohol, even on a single occasion can damage the heart, causing problems including:
- Cardiomyopathy – Stretching and drooping of heart muscle
- Arrhythmias – Irregular heart beat
- High blood pressure
Heavy drinking takes a toll on the liver, and can lead to a variety of problems and liver inflammations including:
- Steatosis, or fatty liver
- Alcoholic hepatitis
Alcohol causes the pancreas to produce toxic substances that can eventually lead to pancreatitis, a dangerous inflammation and swelling of the blood vessels in the pancreas that prevents proper digestion. Drinking alcohol can weaken your immune system, making your body a much easier target for disease. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. Drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk.
These are medical facts that can be researched by just taking the time and effort to find the truth about alcohol and its effects.
The problem with Christians who use alcohol in any form and then justify it by suggesting that the word of God does not truly deal with alcohol simply have never taken the time to understand what alcohol is, or the differences to alcohol and its abuse. The truth about alcohol and the believer is very simple,When we lose our testimony, we lose credibility as Christians.
Whenever we discuss the topic of alcohol and its many differences, we need to distinguish between two (2) things, two words which will help us understand the word of God when we discuss what God says and warns about concerning alcohol or wine. They are both Hebrew root words:
1. Yayin – which means fermented, that which makes DRUNK.
2.Tiyrowsh – which means freshly made juice BEFORE fermentation.
Whenever we draw conclusions about wine and its terminology when we read it in scripture, it is vital we separate what and which word is being used and how. Example, some Christians use the excuse to justify the drinking of wine by suggesting that when Jesus turned water into wine, it is proof that Jesus drank wine himself – not so. When we examine the wording, the terminology being used in John 2:2-10, the word wine is not indicative of fermented wine, which produces drunkenness, it’s referring to the word Tiyrowsh, which means grape juice.
The Bible says alcoholic drink is evil. It is not just the amount one drinks that makes drinking a sin. God condemns the drink itself. (Prov 20:1 KJV) “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” God does not lead us into evil; He delivers us from it. He does not teach us to practice evil in moderation. Jesus did not make, use, approve, commend, or tell us to use intoxicating wine. The truth is, God made man to have fellowship with Him and yet alcohol goes directly against the Holy Spirit in the life of a believer. It interferes with God’s purpose for mankind and especially those who are in Christ Jesus.
So why would God warn us about the consumption of alcohol? The reasons are many, but let’s examine a few cases where men, servants of God, disobeyed and were consumed by alcohol and the ramifications of such cost them dearly. They are:
Genesis 9:20-26 – Noah became drunk; the result was immorality and family trouble.
Genesis 19:30-38 – Lot was so drunk he did not know what he was doing; this led to immorality
Leviticus 10:9-11 – God commanded priests not to drink so that they could tell the difference between the holy and the unholy.
1 Samuel 25:32-38 – Nabal died after a drunken spree.
Proverbs 23:21 – Drunkenness causes poverty.
Proverbs 23:29-30 – Drinking causes woe, sorrow, fighting, babbling, wounds without cause and red eyes.
Proverbs 23:31 – God instructs not to look at intoxicating drinks.
Proverbs 23:32 – Alcoholic drinks bite like a serpent, sting like an adder.
Proverbs 23:33 – Alcohol causes the drinker to have strange and adulterous thoughts, produces willfulness, and prevents reformation.
Proverbs 23:34 – Alcohol makes the drinker unstable
Proverbs 23:35 – Alcohol makes the drinker insensitive to pain so he does not perceive it as a warning. Alcohol is habit forming.
Proverb 31:4-5 – Kings, Princes, and others who rule and judge must not drink alcohol. Alcohol perverts good judgment.
Proverbs 31:6-7 – Strong drink could be given to those about to perish or those in pain. Better anesthetics are available today.
Numbers 6:3 – The Nazarites were told to eat or drink nothing from the grape vine.
1 Corinthians 6:10 – Drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God
Galatians 5:21 – Acts of the sinful nature, such as drunkenness, will prohibit a person from inheriting the kingdom of God.
Ephesians 5:18 – In contrast to being drunk with wine, the believer is to be filled with the Spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:6-7 – Christians are to be alert and self-controlled, belonging to the day. Drunkards belong to the night and darkness.
1 Timothy 3:2-3 – Bishops (elders) are to be temperate, sober, and not near any wine.
When we examine all the scriptures that it has to say about alcohol and wine, then we can clearly see that not only is wine and everything about strong drink (whiskey) is wrong, but it literally places the believer in a position where they are going against God and his word. Yet some would say that the word speaks only about drunkenness and not moderate usage, but here’s the problem with that argument, it does not hold up to the facts. It is a fact that 1 drink of beer, wine or a shot of whiskey makes one legally drunk. That’s just 1 drink. However, 1 drink has never produced anything of substance in the life of someone trying to live for Christ, actually the opposite.
If one (1) drink does no harm, then what does the word say? “A little leaven leavens the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:9) If alcohol, in any form, is not harmful, then can the argument about pot, cocaine, legalization of drugs be any worse? Where’s the defining line? I will tell you where the defining line is – the word. The word of God makes it clear to AVOID the very appearance of evil, and it’s a fact that alcohol in drinking form, has never produced anything of value, but evil. Wives are beaten because of alcohol. Children are tormented because of alcohol. Marriages are destroyed because of alcohol. If there is any redeeming value in alcohol that is available to drink for people, then I’ve missed it. The truth is, there is nothing good about drinking alcohol, nor should it be in the life of a believer – period.
In this modern day watering down of the word of God, where men are trying to justify the sins of the flesh, especially in the realm of alcohol usage, the truth remains the same, God never changes. People might change, cultures might change, society might change, but the reality is, God will never change his opinion when we are dealing with sin. Yet many are trying and many are falling for false teachings daily. However, some of us refuse to believe it and some of us choose to fight it, even if it means labeled as old fashioned, out of touch, legalist, and Bible thumper. Yet the facts are, the dangers of alcohol in the life of a believer should not occur, simply because the temptations, the seduction alcohol brings is many times the stumbling block which starts the road to ruin to them that don’t listen and obey what God says in his word. Noah fell victim to it, so did others- are you any different?
The answer is simple – abstain. Abstain from the dangers of the evil one and all he offers in this life which leads to destruction, this includes alcohol.