My last beer was in December 1993. It had been six months after I had actually stopped drinking that I had my next-to-my-last beer. My date and I were at a Japanese steak house enjoying the thrill of the talented and performing chef cooking just inches away from our seat. We got caught up in the excitement and ordered drinks. We were both followers of Christ.
All kinds of things started running through my mind and her mind too, as we discussed it.
The Bible does not teach anywhere that having an alcoholic drink is wrong. I know there are many people who would disagree based on their own opinion, but being honest to Scripture, prohibitionists are not being intellectually honest, theologically honest, but purely legalistic.
Clearly Jesus turned water into wine. See John 2. This is the favorite passage of my friends who like to drink!
Clearly Paul recommended for Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach problems. See 1 Timothy 5:23
Paul told young pastor Timothy that pastors should not be “drunkards” which means even pastors can have a drink. See 1 Timothy 3:1-3
Paul told young pastor Timothy that deacons could drink a little more than pastors by saying that they should be “not addicted to much wine.” See 1 Timothy 3:8
Now that being said, there is a BOAT LOAD of Scriptures that speak to the negative and harmful affects of drinking alcohol. Search for wine or strong drink in an online Bible to see the horrible list. I knew the horrible list. I lived much of the horrible list.
But, God gives believers freedom. But he also expects followers of Christ to not misuse their freedom. Drinking an alcoholic beverage is not a sin. Misusing your freedom is a sin. Eating ice cream is not a sin, but a gallon is clearly misusing your freedom. I know I lost some of you right there.
Clearly, believers have the freedom to have a drink. The hardcore legalists like the Pharisees in the Bible have a problem with this premise, because they are all about their perception of how life should be. They are about imposing their rules on others. They have become judge and jury.
The question is how are you going to use your freedom? The freedom God has given you.
My biggest concern, as I had that half of a beer in hand, became how that would appear to someone I was trying to witness to about Jesus. The last thing I wanted to was to cause someone to stumble along the way in learning to follow Christ.
In some countries cultures, you would highly offend the person if you refused a drink offered to you. That is their culture. American culture equates drinking with the high-life, the party scene, and a source of satisfying your desires in life, a totally non-Christian life. Just watch the television commercials if you disagree.
My conscience was stricken, the with thought that if someone I had been sharing the love of Christ with came in and saw me drinking that it would hinder them from wanting to follow the Jesus who changed my life and whom I loved.
So we put our drinks down and asked them to be removed from the table.
People coming to know Jesus Christ and follow him is more important than me having a drink. Ever.
I couldn’t drink that beer to the glory of God.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31
This is why I don’t drink alcoholic beverages in any way whatsoever. People knowing Christ and following Christ is more important than me having a drink.
My questions for you:
Are you doing anything that is not for the glory of God?
Are you doing anything that might cause someone else to stumble in following Christ?
If you are comfortable with your answers and the freedom God has given you in Christ, then your drinking is between you and Jesus, and no one should judge you. I don’t. I am not your judge.