What does the Bible forbid? What are those things considered grievous sins?
The Ten Commandments
You don’t have to guess what the Bible forbids and what it allows. All you have to do is to take a look at the Ten Commandments. There is no guess work necessary. For example, we know that we must put God above everything and everyone in our life or we’re committing idolatry, neither can we can’t steal, lie, or use profanity, and the obvious ones are you should not murder and you should not commit adultery. This isn’t hard. Exodus 20 shows what we cannot do but these commandments are not necessarily all “don’t do” but “don’t do this and hurt yourself and others.” The Ten Commandments act as guardrails that keep up out of the ditches whereby we make a wreck out of our lives. Breaking the Ten Commandments can result in breaking the person who disobeys them. These are not negotiable at all. Of course, none of us can keep these laws perfectly but that doesn’t give us permission to break them. We’re not saved by keeping them but they simply reveal what sin is (Rom 7:7-12). Jesus says obedience is a sign that we love God as He said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Some say sin is sin and that it’s all the same, but is that true? Were the penalties of the Old Testament laws all the same for all sins? No, some things like stealing could be settled by making restitution or if someone lies, they could confess their sin and repent of it and ask for forgiveness, but there is a sin which can lead to the most serious of consequences and that is sexual immorality. The Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians, “do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh” (1st Cor 6:16), so “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body” (1st Cor 6:18). When we commit sexual immorality like adultery and fornication, Paul asks, “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never” (1st Cor 6:15)! We sin against our own bodies when we participate in sexual immorality outside of our marriage partner or for singles, before they are married. The end fate of those who are sexually promiscuous is clear, including those who have homosexual relationships (Rom 1:26-27; Rev 21:8) because “those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal 5:21).
The Bible doesn’t expressly forbid the use of alcohol but it is clear that drunkenness is sin. If someone can’t be around alcohol, the last thing we should do is to offer someone a drink at a dinner invitation or at a restaurant. Just because we think its okay doesn’t mean its okay for everyone else does. It is not worth offending a brother or sister in Christ just because we feel its okay to drink alcohol. We should consider the preferences of others before we consider something we do in their presence. Paul writes to the Galatians, “you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another” (Gal 5:13) but “take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak” (1st Cor 8:9). It is possible that “by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble” (1st Cor 8:11-13). You could replace the word “food” for alcohol or any number of things. Paul’s point is if it causes my brother or sister to stumble into sin or goes against their own conscience, then it’s best to not drink alcohol or whatever else they believe is sin to them in their presence.
Instructions for Israel
I read several articles on what the Bible forbids and it seems not many get it! They keep referring back to ridiculous claims that they can’t cut their sideburns, they can’t eat a ham sandwich, they can’t eat shrimp, lobster or other seafood, they can’t wear mixed fabrics, and they can’t even throw a football around because it’s made of pigskin which is considered unclean. What a travesty! What these misinformed people won’t tell you is that these commands were always qualified with “say unto the children of Israel.” These commands were written specifically to the nation of Israel so these are not commanded for anyone but the Jews at that time. To say otherwise is to take text out of context in order to make a false pretext, simply to bash the Bible or Christianity. Shame on those who take these verses and try to make them apply to us today simply to show how ridiculous God’s laws are but these were written for Israel and to Israel. And any church that teaches these things is also surely missing the point and dragging people off into the bondage of legalism.
It is interesting that so many who criticize the Bible and God will take enough trouble to research Old Testament Laws and then take them out of context as a way to criticize those who believe the Bible. That’s clearly dishonest and unfair. They simply have an axe to grind. They are not seeking the truth…only trying to undermine it. No one can ever be saved by trying to live a life of holiness because we can’t be saved by external actions but only by grace and not by works (Eph 2:8-9). Avoiding football and pork chops are not the way to holiness…Jesus is!
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.