drinking

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Party seasons come and go. Birthday celebrations, holidays events  beckon are participation. There are heavy debates had about drinking among the faithful. There are many who condemn drinking with heavy hands. Some faith organizations will have you excommunicated for drinking.

The Bible says that “wine is a mocker, intoxicating drink arouses brawling” (Proverbs 20:1). The Bible also says, “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk” (Habakkuk 2:15). Yet the Bible does not say that drinking a glass of wine or beer, or a cocktail with dinner, is a sin.

The absolute abstinence from alcohol for many comes from John The Baptist’s actions. John the Baptist related to their behavior and habits. Some, because he did not have alcohol, were critical of John the Baptist for NOT consuming intoxicating beverages (he was under a Nazarite vow to God). John’s vow precluded him from having not only wine (fermented juice) or alcohol but also grape juice. In fact, he could not even eat any grapes! The primary location in the Scriptures that discusses the Nazarite vow is in the Book of Numbers, Chapter 6.

What is in the bible declared an absolute sin is drunkenness. Drunkenness leads to loss of control and clarity of thoughts. Drunkenness is a sin and is called out in the bible as sin.

 Isaiah 28: “Woe to the drunkards of Ephraim…that are overcome with wine [yayin]”

In Jesus’ day, wine was used at meals and in ceremonial functions or for special parties. One of his greatest practices using wine comes from Jesus when he had his last supper. As matter of faith we believe Jesus blood is transfigured in wine.  Many churches are absolute  alcohol abstinence on this and replace wine for grape juice during communion ceremonies.

The issue at hand is that God granted permission for drink in the old testament during a great feast. For us  feasts are parties. God says that it is not improper to desire wine or strong drink during His annual Feast of Tabernacles, which He commands His people to keep:

Deuteronomy 14:26

“And you shall bestow that money for whatsoever your soul lusts after [desires], for oxen, or for sheep, or for wine, or for strong drink, or for whatsoever your soul desires: and you shall eat there before the Lord your God, and you shall rejoice, you, and your household”

There is even instance where a casual drink is permitted in a group environment. King Solomon wrote, “A feast is made for laughter, and wine makes merry” (Ecc. 10:19).

 Some scriptures, which, if not read carefully,  condemn the use of wine. Yet, that is the issue at hand, scripture can be used to create rules where there are none. Those scriptures  do not condemn the correct use but rather its abuse.

Nowhere in the Bible does God condemn the use of wine, as long as it is not abused.

The problem is the same with anything that we do in the world.God expects us to drink smartly.

Jesus never criticized drinking. There isn’t one single passage where he passes judgment on that. In fact he turns water into wine at a wedding.

Jesus does not change. In Hebrews 13:8 states that He is “the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” We are to “follow His steps” (I Pet. 2:21-24). This principle is clear. Drinking alcoholic beverages is not wrong or sinful! The misuse of alcoholic beverages is sinful!

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