Beer and Wine
In Proverbs 31:4-7 Lemuel passes on the warnings of his mother concerning the importance of kings and others in authority to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages, lest in a state of intoxication their ability to make right decisions be impaired.
There’s no question that alcoholic beverages have deceived and destroyed many lives; but what’s so dangerous about drinking wine in moderation? After all, Jesus miraculously changed water into wine at a wedding feast. He instructs us to use bread and wine in observing the Lord’s Supper. I don’t deny that many Christians around the world drink wine responsibly and in moderation. I am also aware that health studies show that red wine is good for our health. Nevertheless we must not ignore the plain warnings of Scripture of the deceitfulness and danger of intoxicating beverages, including wine. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” Proverbs 20:1
Reasons why I do not drink wine and other alcoholic beverages.
Before I give my reasons, please understand that my total abstinence does not make me a better Christian than those who drink wine in moderation. Though beer and wine are not temptations to me, I have my struggles with ice cream and certain pastries that can be more harmful to my health than wine. I am an ongoing recovering addict from some of those rich foods.
Nevertheless, I will give you my reasons for avoiding wine and strong drink for your own consideration.
1. Although Israel drank wine and used it in their feasts, I am not an Israelite. I am a born again Christian and have an intimate relationship with Christ as part of His bride. In The Song of Solomon 1:1-2 the bride says of her husband, that His love is better than wine. In 4:10 the Husband, says of His spouse, that our love is better to Him than wine. Whereas Old Testament Israel perhaps needed a little wine to give them cheer and help make life bearable; as a Christian, wine is something I do not need to give me cheer, nor do I need rich foods and entertainment to brighten my day. With Christ I enjoy a continual feast.
2. I enjoy grape juice. If I started drinking wine, I imagine I could acquire a taste for it and thoroughly enjoy it. If that happened, I might have as much trouble drinking in moderation as I have trouble eating chocolate or certain flavors and brands of ice cream in moderation. I don’t want to take that chance. I do not trust my sinful flesh nature, nor should any Christian. Read the warnings about this in Romans 7:14-25
3. As Paul said in I Corinthians 6:12, so I refuse to allow my body to come under the control of anything, good or bad. If I crave anything, that is a caution flag warning me to bring it under control. If I crave something, I try to avoid it. This is what Paul is talking about in I Corinthians 9:24-27. Be warned of those things you MUST have in order to be happy and content. If your meal is ruined because you cannot have a cup of coffee or a can of soda or anything else, than perhaps you have a craving that needs to come under control. If you or I have a certain TV program we just MUST see or our day is ruined, that is a sinful craving. If you or I MUST have a glass of wine with a meal or the meal is ruined, that is an inordinate affection or desire and Colossians 3:5 warns about allowing that to rule our lives.
ANYTHING THAT WE MUST HAVE IN OUR LIVES IN ORDER TO BE HAPPY AND SATISIFED, HAS BECOME A LUST. THAT IS A SIN!
When Israel was traveling through the wilderness on their way to Canaan, they lusted after the cucumbers, leeks and garlic of Egypt and despised the manna God was providing them. Read Number 11:4-10 and see how this attitude displeased God.
II Samuel 23:14-17 tells the story of how David, while in battle with the Philistines, sinfully craved a drink of water from a certain well in Bethlehem, his home town. Three of his brave soldiers jeopardized their lives to bring him a cup of that water. He became so convicted of this that he refused to drink it, but poured the water on the ground as a sacrifice to God.
4. If some people in Old Testament times took a Nazarite vow, which included abstaining from wine and even grapes, in order to please God; it seems to me that as a Christian, I ought to abstain from wine and other alcoholic beverages.
5. Aaron and his sons as priests were forbidden to drink wine. We as Christians are a kingdom of priests. See I Peter 2:9-11. It seems to me it would be right for us to also avoid wine.
6. Kings and judges were commanded to avoid wine lest they should forget God’s Law and pervert judgment. Remember, that was Bathsheba’s warning to her kingly son Lemuel, n Proverbs 31:4-5.
7. Pastors, elders and deacons are all warned to not be given to wine. II Timothy 3
8. I am free as a Christian to drink wine, but I refuse to enjoy that freedom lest by my example I should cause a weaker brother to stumble. Romans 14
9. Personally I cannot think of one good reason to try to acquire a taste for wine and start drinking it, so I won’t.
10. I expect in Christ’s Kingdom in my glorified body, I will feel free to enjoy drinking wine with Christ, but until then I choose to abstain. Luke 22:18
As I hold these standards for myself, I refuse to condemn or think less of my brother in Christ who does not see it my way. Romans 14:21-23
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