1 Chronicles 21 & 22
Should Christians Drink Alcohol?
To Drink or Not to Drink?
Verse 1, “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”
I’m frequently asked what the Bible says about drinking. I usually explain that the Bible does not condemn all drinking, but it does condemn drunkenness, specifically. And it gives us other passages to guide our decisions in this area. Here are 3 from Paul’s epistles:
“All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify” (1 Cor. 10.23).
“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Cor. 6.12).
“It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (Rom. 14.21).
Discerning God’s Will
So we need to ask ourselves several questions as we consider whether or not we should drink:
Is it edifying, not just to me, but to those around me? My children or others?
Could I be brought under its power, either temporarily or in the long term? Temporarily, will my behavior be influenced by it? Long term, could I become addicted to it?
Is it the loving thing to do? Are there others around me who struggle in this area and who could be wrongly influenced or tempted?
What about the unbelievers that God has placed in my life? Perhaps even strangers who are watching from a distance? One of the excuses unsaved people use to keep God at arm’s length is that believers are hypocrites. Is my freedom worth being a stumbling block to someone? That’s what Paul was referring to in Romans 14.21.
In many ways, it would be easier if Christianity was just a simple list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, He asks us to choose and to do whatever we do out of a desire to please Him (2 Cor. 5.9) and love others (Matt. 22.37-40).
You may have already made a firm commitment not to drink, as my husband and I have done for a variety of reasons. But each of us needs to remember that other believers may view this issue differently and we must be careful not to impose our convictions on them. Where the Bible does not command either specifically or in principle, neither should we.
May God grant you His wisdom and His grace.
Today’s Other Readings:
Praying for Our Children
1 Chronicles 21 & 22:
Chapter 22.12-13, “Only may the LORD give you wisdom and understanding, and give you charge concerning Israel, that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will prosper, if you take care to fulfill the statutes and judgments with which the LORD charged Moses concerning Israel. Be strong and of good courage; do not fear nor be dismayed.”
This was the blessing that David wanted for his son Solomon. I was reminded of Paul’s prayers and how his primary focus was on praying for spiritual growth for those in his care, something to consider as we pray for our children.
A God of Compassion
Verses 38-39 But He, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity,
And did not destroy them.
Yes, many a time He turned His anger away,
And did not stir up all His wrath;
39 For He remembered that they were but flesh,
A breath that passes away and does not come again.
Oh the depth of His mercy and grace!
But … we cannot let that be an excuse to sin. Romans 6.1-2 says:
“’What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?’ Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
The Fruit of Repentance
In the last two chapters when the mob stoned Stephen, there was a man named Saul watching approvingly:
When they had driven him out of the city, they began stoning him; and the witnesses laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul (Acts 7.58).
Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death (Acts 8.1a).
And he didn’t stop with mere approval.
And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison (Acts 8.2b-3).
But notice when Paul was saved by coming to faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 9.1-19a), there was a complete and dramatic change. He went from persecuting believers and participating in arrests and murder to preaching Christ in the synagogues.
19 … Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, “Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ (Acts 19b-22).
A genuine conversion experience will bear fruit!
Matthew 3.8, “Therefore bear fruits worthy of repentance.”
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Does this sound like you? “Troubling thoughts flood my mind. I lie in bed alone, beseeching God on behalf of my three children. The tears come as I wonder why the Lord seems so far away and why prayers remain unanswered. Life seems so unfair. Why is it so hard? In the “depths of despair” I know I have a choice to make. Am I going to allow these feelings to destroy me?”