The Christian and Alcohol

Question:  I like to enjoy a beer or drink every once in a while, but many Christians don’t drink at all and it makes me wonder if I am sinning by drinking. 

Answer:  The Bible is very clear that drunkenness is a sin (Proverbs 20:1; 23:20,21, 29-35;31:4,5; Galatians 5:21; Ephesians 5:18, which associate drunkenness with poverty, injustice and poor decision making), but the Bible nowhere commends complete abstinence. 

It does teach that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17), meaning that if the indulgence of our freedom in these matters encourages another believer to violate his conscience and sin it is better to give up our freedoms.  Paul deals with this issue both in Romans 14 and at length in 1 Corinthians 8-10.  If my conscience doesn’t condemn me on an issue God has given no command on, I am free to follow my conscience.  If my conscience tells me it is wrong, even though God does not, for me it is as if I have sinned against God by sinning against my conscience and I should not do what my conscience condemns.  If my conscience becomes free at some point in this area, I can change my behavior. 

However, others who see me acting in a way that their own conscience condemns may, because of my example, think they should act that way, and they violate their own conscience.  I have become a negative example for them and encouraged them indirectly to sin.  This is less of an issue in other countries than it is in the United States because of our history of preaching against alcohol use and our era of failed prohibition.  Many Christians still believe it is wrong to drink any alcohol.

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2 thoughts on “The Christian and Alcohol

  1. What if your conscious only bothers you because it was beaten into your head that drinking alcohol is a sin and you feel guilty only because of that?

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