Recently I asked on the Facebook page if a pastor who has a drink occasionally is above reproach. The answers were varied, with supporting biblical and historical texts for both arguments. This led me to ask myself a question: “Since there is so much controversy surrounding alcohol(and smoking), should Christians bother putting themselves in the midst of this debated issue?” In the Bible it would be pretty hard to say that alcohol and smoking in themselves are sins, since it doesn’t explicitly say this. It does say we should not cause another brother to stumble into sin, and there are many people who have struggled with alcohol and smoking addictions. Some of the great reformers drank beer and wine, in fact part of John Calvin’s salary was paid to him in barrels of wine. John Calvin in his commentary on Psalms 104:14-15 writes, ”it is lawful to use wine not only in cases of necessity, but also thereby to make us merry.”
We see there are varied positions on this subject, but let me push us a little further. I don’t think alcohol and smoking are the only problems here. Don’t get me wrong, they are huge problems and they have ruined many lives. But what about TV, money, sex, and so many more things that can either be used for the glory of God or the ruin of man. Has the thought ever crossed your mind that the husband of the couple you have invited over for dinner struggles with lust and pornography, and some of the commercials that you watch during your hockey/football game might cause him to stumble? What about the innocent PG rated movie you are watching with your kids that has a distorted and sinful view of sex and marriage? I think the problem goes above and beyond alcohol and smoking.
My hope isn’t to spur you on to legalism, rather to spur you on to a life of holiness in Christ. If we are serious about Jesus then it only makes sense that he will affect every aspect of our life. Be sensitive to those around you. Know that there might be some brothers and sisters that struggle with what you use to bring glory to God. All that said, we can and should redeem all these gifts for the glory of God, after all that is what they are – gifts.