God’s Alcohol Policy

The Bible clearly declares drunkenness a damnable sin (1 Cor. 6:10; Gal. 5:21).  The question many people have in mind is that of social drinking or drinking on special occasions.  The Bible lays down certain principles of life, which, in view of modern conditions, direct today’s Christian toward total abstinence from all forms of alcohol.

These principles are:

  1. The effects of alcohol are detrimental to the proper functioning of our bodies–the temples of God.

(1 Cor. 6:19-20)

  1. It deadens us spiritually to the work of the Lord (Isa. 5:11-12).
  2. Some physical symptoms (vomiting, staggering) are found in Isa. 28:7-8.
  3. It provokes anger in us (Prov. 20:1).
  4. It impairs mental judgment and understanding (Hosea 4:11).
  5. It causes emotional and psychological distress, leading to woe and sorrow (Prov. 23:29-33).
  1. Drinking alcohol gratifies the sinful nature.
    1. 13:13-14. “Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.  Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.”  (NKJV v.14 “… make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”)
    2. Gal 5:16-17a. “So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature.”
  2. God desires us to focus on His will and the things of God, not on our own pleasures.
    1. 5:15-20. v.16 (KJV)  “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”  The Lord wants us to know what His will is: to be filled with the Spirit (and have our mind dwell on spiritual things) rather than to indulge in our own interests (drinking wine). 
    2. Matt 16:23-24 “Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.’  Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”
  3. Drinking alcohol ruins our witness and weakens our testimony in today’s society.
    1. We are called to a higher level of holiness than those who are not saved (1 Peter 1:14-16). “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”
    2. 1 Pet. 3:15-16. “But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”
  4. Drinking alcohol causes other Christians to stumble.
    1. 14:13-21. Note especially vv. 20-21. “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food.  All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble.  It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” 
    2. 1 Cor. 8:13. “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall.”  KJV “… I will eat no flesh while the world standeth …”
  5. Causing other Christians to stumble (by drinking alcohol) is a damnable sin.
    1. Luke 17:1-2. “And He said to His disciples, ‘It is inevitable that stumbling blocks should come, but woe to him through whom they come!  It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should cause one of these little ones to stumble.’”
    2. See also Mark 9:42ff.
  6. Drinking alcohol fails when tested against the 6-8-10 Principle.
    1. It is not good for me. (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12a)  See #1 above.
    2. It can control me. (cf. 1 Cor. 6:12b)  Alcohol is addictive, and the next step is drunkenness. 
    3. It can cause others to stumble. (cf. 1 Cor. 8:12)  See #5 above.
    4. It does not glorify God. (cf. 1 Cor. 10:31)  See #3 above.