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Is Drinking a Sin?

Today's Question: I am confused. A friend and I have differential viewpoints on this topic. She has been given absolute conviction that the use of alcohol after you have been filled with the Holy Spirit is a sin. Is this true? I know that Jesus' first miraculous sign and wonder was turning water into wine, John 2:1-11.

I cannot help but think that He would [not] do such a thing if it is to be thought of as a sinful pleasure. I think it is a matter of indulgence that is at question. That anything we may become indulgent in can and will lead to sin. I do realize that this sign was done before the day of Pentecost when the Spirit came. I do not want to believe falsely, or misguide others. Please give Biblical input on this matter. Waiting for answers.

DeAnna Holeman

Bible Answer: Your friend, I'm sure, desires to please the Lord, but she will have a hard time preaching against the use of wine in the Bible. As you said, Jesus turned water into wine, so if wine was sinful then Jesus made something sinful. Wine, as we know, has medicinal and health benefits to it if taken in moderation. People who have a glass of wine every night live on an average of two years more than those who abstain completely. The Lord Jesus is vindicated by medical science. He made what was good.

There are those who say that Jesus made not wine but grape juice. This is a ridiculous interpretation. The Bible says clearly that Jesus made the "best wine." Anyone who understands wine knows that the best wine takes longer to make and has more alcohol content than cheap wine. The Bible also says that the best wine is usually brought out first, so after everyone has had too much to drink then they bring out the cheap wine. If the best wine was grape juice, then how would drinking this make people tipsy so they are willing to drink alcoholic wine? Jesus absolutely made alcoholic wine.

The Bible is definitely against drunkenness. That is clear. It is also against gluttony too, but I don’t hear much preaching against that. Most preachers will feel like hypocrites if they preach against gluttony while having their belly hang over their belt.

There is an important principle related to this. Paul said:

As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy your brother for whom Christ died. Do not allow what you consider good to be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men. 

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. 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.

So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But the man who has doubts is condemned if he eats, because his eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin. (Rom 14:14-23)

This is about as clear as it can get. Do not make drinking or not drinking wine a matter of division, which I don't think you are doing. Plus, don't drink wine in front of someone who will get offended.

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