To be clear, I do not believe drinking alcohol is a sin. The Bible declares drunkenness to be a sin (Luke 21:34; Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:18; 1 Peter 4:3), but drinking in moderation is not. Yet, I choose not to drink alcohol because for me, I believe it could be and even would be sinful.
WHY IT COULD BE SINFUL
Like everyone, I am a sinner who is prone to wander and prone to indulgence. I have eaten way too much ice cream and lived to regret such a decision. Thus, I plead with my wife, sometimes successfully and sometimes unsuccessfully, not to buy ice cream. If it is not in the house, I will not overindulge. Perhaps such overeating of ice cream is even sinful at times, but it does not cause me to say or do foolish things. Ice cream cannot cause me to be intoxicated. As long as I do not eat so much that I become overweight, things are okay. Still, I know I have to be careful with delicious foods like ice cream.
If I struggle to say no to sweets because they taste so delicious, what could happen if I found an alcoholic beverage that tastes delicious? What could happen if I drank one and then wanted another and then another? I do not plan to find out, as drinking is just not worth the risk to me.
Wine is a mocker, beer is a brawler, and whoever staggers because of them is not wise.Proverbs 20:1
I am doing fine without alcohol, enjoying life and not feeling hindered by the lack of alcohol. It could be sinful for me to begin drinking because I am no less susceptible to drunkenness than anyone else. Wisdom tells me to just stay away.
WHY IT WOULD BE SINFUL
Not only could drinking be sinful for me, though, I believe it would sinful. Again, I want to be clear that I am not declaring alcohol consumption to be a sin. In moderation and in good conscience, it might be completely fine. Because of the message I believe I would be sending to my children, other believers, people who might stumble spiritually when seeing me drink, and unbelievers who might see drinking alcohol as Christian hypocrisy, however, I believe it would be sinful for me to drink.
This is a personal conviction that I am obviously okay sharing with others, although I do not try to push this conviction on those who disagree but are self-controlled, responsible, and do not appear to be damaging their Christian witness. If I am asked, which I am occasionally, I share my position. Otherwise, just as in any other area of life, I only confront people in sin when they are clearly in sin, just as I hope others in the body of Christ will confront me whenever I am clearly in sin. We need one another for encouragement, edification, and accountability.
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will continue our Church Undivided series and talk about “The First Quandary: Am I My Brother’s Keeper?” (1 Corinthians 8). We do have a responsibility to help one another grow closer to Jesus. “Therefore, if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall” (1 Corinthians 8:13). And, related to the topic of this post, “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else if it might cause another believer to stumble” (Romans 14:21).
Drinking alcohol, you can argue, is a freedom we have, not just as Americans but as Christians. The Bible allows for drinking in moderation and self-control. With all of the problems caused by alcohol abuse in our country, though, and with all of the division caused by this substance and this issue, is this a freedom worth treasuring or even maintaining? Or, would we better honor Christ and serve His church by letting go of this freedom for the sake of our example and for the sake of our witness?