Which Drink Should I Choose? (ATP)
This week’s question involves a topic of controversy in the body of Christ. “What does the Bible say about wine; is it ok for Christians to drink wine, as long as they avoid other alcoholic drinks?”
What I’ve found in my time as a Christian, and especially as a pastor, is that most people have already made up their minds about this topic. Anytime we make up our minds on something then go to the Word for proof that we are right, we’re already in error. Many Christians will search for scripture to find passages like Jesus turning water into wine just to be able to say, “see, God encourages us to drink wine.” The truth is, drunkenness is condemned in both testaments and many individuals were used as examples in the Bible including Noah, Lot, Belshazzar, and various Israelite church members on why not to participate in alcohol consumption. It would take pages and pages to include every reference to every scripture that speaks against the abuse of alcohol.
That being said, I’m not going to argue that every Christian who drinks an alcoholic beverage of any sort isn’t going to make it into Heaven. At the same time, the Word does say in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.” These aren’t my words or opinions I came up with. This is the Bible, the New Testament. Is is wisdom not to play with eternity. It is wisdom to look at the Word of God to try to live free from error.
Proverbs 23:19-20 says, “Hear, my son, and be wise; And guide your heart in the way. Do not mix with winebibbers…” Though this is Old Testament, this is a wisdom scripture. Here the Word attributes wisdom to refraining from associating with winebibbers. What the Word wants us to understand is that we should put our flesh under. 1 Corinthians 9:27 says, “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” This is an issue we see in the body of Christ, Christians who won’t live differently and put their flesh under but think they are going to win the lost. 2 Corinthians 6:17 instructs us to, “…Come out from among them and be separate…” Why are so many Christians fighting this? When our life looks like the rest of the world we are in jeopardy of becoming disqualified, which means debased, unfit, and unapproved. Our life looking like the world is not going to be approved by God. Let’s not forget this.
Recently, I was listening to a sermon by Pastor Nancy Dufresne and she said something so wise.
She said if it won’t make you more spiritual, if it makes you more carnal, don’t let your body participate. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says the same thing like this, “…whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” If it doesn’t glorify God, why would we want anything to do with it? Now look at Romans 12:1-2, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” It’s up to us to present our bodies a living sacrifice. This means, we put our body under and decide that we want to live God’s highest and best life, participating in the things the Word calls us to and refraining from the things the Word tells us to. This is considered reasonable.
So to get back to the original question, is it ok for Christians to drink wine, as long as they avoid other alcoholic drinks? Really wine, liquor, beer, etc., are all the same just packaged differently. I don’t see any difference in the Word between the type of alcoholic beverage one is consuming. What is the purpose of drinking alcohol? Back in biblical times a little fermentation could calm a sick belly, but we have other things like apple cider vinegar or even ginger now for this. Not to mention the antioxidants and nourishment of the grapes can now come from grape juice, no alcohol necessary. So we should ask, why is the alcohol being consumed?
Likewise, we should ask what level of sin is ok? How much are we allowed to lie? Can we lie to our boss but not to our spouse? What level of sexual sin is too much? Are we allowed to make out with our boyfriend as long as we don’t “go all the way”? How much are we allowed to rob from God? Can we keep our tithe but give an offering? Can we withhold the tithe on the under-the-table side work we have done? We could go on and on with every arena of life.
The truth is our heart should be to uphold Christians standards and live in such a way that helps bring others to Jesus. Our main purpose shouldn’t be to “get away” with anything, but to be continually transformed and bettered. Whatever makes us more like Christ and less like the rest of the world us where we should be aiming to go. I’m going to stick with grape juice, but that’s just me.