“Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).
Welcome to our study of the truth about alcohol. The use of alcohol has become a confusing topic for many people, especially among Christians. Some wonder as to whether or not Christians may partake of alcoholic beverages. Others adamantly oppose such a thing because of the evils that are associated with it. Today I am going to be asking the question, “What does God say about the use of alcohol?” Should a Christian use things like these in his or her everyday life? Should a Christian ever use alcohol? This is an important topic because it is a biblical topic. Any topic that God’s Word discusses is naturally an important topic. Christians are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:21,
“Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good.”
So we are going to be looking to the Bible for proof regarding whether a Christian should or should not use alcohol. We need to understand that this is a moral and ethical topic. There are a lot of moral and ethical problems related to alcohol and its uses. And there is much confusion in the world over this topic.
What is the problem related to alcohol? This topic is relevant because alcohol is a dangerous substance. Three out of every ten homes are affected in some way by alcohol. Out of every ten homes, three are affected in some way by alcohol-related problems. There are over one hundred million Americans who have an alcohol-related problem. One hundred million! In a survey performed by the Gallup polling organization, 64% of the populace said that they had either drunk alcohol in the past or still drink it currently. So this is a very serious problem, and one by which many people have been brought under the devil’s influence.
Sometimes people will try to condone the use of alcohol by saying, “Jesus made water into wine.” But let’s consider this for a moment? Did Jesus make wine at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee? Is that really what Jesus did? Did He make alcoholic wine so that people could consume that and get drunk? In John 2 we know that they filled large pots with water. Mary, Jesus’ mother, told the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” There were about four pots containing around thirty gallons of water apiece. Thus, Jesus would have made about 120 gallons of wine. There are several things to be considered here. For example, the host usually gave out the best wine first. But the host of this wedding said, “You have saved the best for last” (vs. 10). The wine that Jesus made was better than the rest. Quality (then) was based not on alcoholic content, but on a wine’s freshness. That therefore suggests to us that the wine Jesus made was not alcoholic in nature. There is a passage in the Old Testament which teaches (when the principles are applied correctly) that Jesus did not make alcoholic wine. Look at Habakkuk 2:15—
“Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, pressing him to your bottle, even to make him drunk, that you may look on his nakedness.”This passage condemns one person giving another alcohol so that he can become drunk. How does this relate to John 2? If Jesus is the perfect, sinless Son of God (and He is, according to Hebrews 4:15), then He did not make 120+ gallons of alcoholic wine to give to people who had already drunk well. That would have been a direct violation of Habakkuk 2:15. This, in and of itself, ought to teach us that Jesus did not make (or condone) alcoholic wine. The key here is to understand the Greek word for wine—oinos. That word can mean either fresh juice that has been squeezed from a grape, or it can mean alcoholic wine. The context determines which one is under consideration. Habakkuk 2:15 would suggest that the wine that Jesus made was not alcoholic, for if it was, Jesus would have been committing sin.
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