The Bible commands us not be drunken, which is an intoxication of the physical body and mind by alcohol. drugs or the spiritual intoxication of pride.
There is deliberate intoxication and there is also being intoxicated with the heady wine of pride and self importance.
The ancient religions were built on visions seen by people while intoxicated mainly by drugs. People would seek revelation or answers from God by getting intoxicated with drugs; and giving up control over their minds, as they sought after answers. That is the main source of the Greek myths of their gods, which the western world is so fascinated with.
This same foolishness continues to this very day with very many taking drugs in search of “spiritual enlightenment;” when what they are doing is removing all control over their minds and giving them over to the forces of evil.
God’s enlightenment is through his Spirit; which is the spirit of a sound mind fully controlled by the person.
To understand spiritual things one must study God’s Word with a fully controlled and sound mind. To seek enlightenment by willfully losing one’s mind and giving it over to intoxicated fantasy’s, is not godly and is of the devil who desires to gain control over our minds.
There is a small difference between drunkenness which is loss of control, and alcoholism which is a DEPENDENCY. Dependency on alcohol or drugs is also a sin, since it makes one a slave in bondage to the substance; when we are to be free from any such bondage in Christ.
If you cannot go a few days without a serious desire for a drink, then you are an alcoholic. Herbert Armstrong was both a drunkard and an alcoholic, and so are very many of today’s COG leaders. This is a sin that needs to be repented of.
- Alcohol and drugs are intoxicants, and so are many other things.
- Some American natives used pain and deprivement to drive themselves out of their minds in their vision quests.
- Fear can be used to establish dominance over others and when fear causes one to loose our natural self control to be dominated by others; it is a kind of intoxication.
- There is another kind of intoxication which is a mental or spiritual intoxication. Who has not heard the phrase “drunk with power” or “drunk with pride?” We can become so intoxicated with power or pride that it clouds our judgment.
Isaiah 28:3 The crown of pride, the drunkards of Ephraim, shall be trodden under foot.
Also read Isaiah 29 concerning those who are drunken with the pride of their own ways.
Today the COG groups are drunk with their pride in themselves and their own ways; so intoxicated with themselves that they reject any zeal for God’s Word and exalt their own ways above the scriptures.
This is what we saw in the Calendar issue. These people decided that they were right and simply rejected God’s Word when it disagreed with their own false traditions. They have been made drunk with pride in themselves and their idols of men and traditions.
They are so intoxicated with pride, believing that they are the pinnacle of spiritual understanding; that they cannot see how spiritually blind and bereft of the garments of the righteousness of God’s Word that they really are, Revelation 3:15 . .
Very many also become intoxicated with power; they love the chief seats and love the adulation of the people and they love to exercise power over others. They become intoxicated with power to the point that they loose sight of the fact that God and God’s Word are the basis of all moral authority; and they become so fixated on themselves and their non existent supposed authority; that they prefer their own ways above the ways and Word of God like Lucifer did when he became intoxicated with pride.
In the Olivet prophecy as recorded by Luke, Jesus foretold several major trends that would increase and intensify before His return. The kind of things He emphasized were false prophets, with their religious deception, wars and rumors of war, earthquakes, famines, disease epidemics, and great signs in the heavens; and at the end of his discourse, He gave the disciples a grave warning; to be sure to stay alert to these things and to avoid a certain kind of lifestyle.
Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. 21:36 Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
At the end of his discourse, after talking to them about what would be going on in the days just before His return, Jesus said to be ready at all times by watching and praying that they [and all of His disciples that would come after] would be accounted worthy to escape all these things and then stand before the Son of Man [at their redemption – Luke 21:28]
Before he told them to watch and pray, he warned that they must not be distracted, weighed down and burdened with surfeiting [kraipalé Strong’s #2897 – drunken to the point of nausea, giddiness], getting drunk and being occupied with the cares of this life.
In his epistle to the brethren in Rome, the apostle Paul gives a similar warning about certain kinds of “works” and to cast them off because “the day” is at hand.
Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting [carousing and reveling] and drunkenness, chambering [sexual promiscuity] and wantonness, not in strife and envying.13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Paul is warning the brethren not to get involved in rioting [carousing and reveling] drunkenness, chambering [whoring] , wantonness, strife and envying. In verse 12 he calls these things the “works of darkness” but these are all works of the flesh as well.
Today our study is on the works of the flesh as listed in Galatians 5, “drunkenness”.
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings,
The Greek word for ‘drunkenness” is methé (Strong’s #3178). This word simply means an intoxicant, i.e. (by implication) intoxication – drunkenness. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
“Intoxicate … verb (used with object), intoxicated, intoxicating, to affect temporarily with diminished physical and mental control by means of alcoholic liquor, a drug, or another substance, especially to excite or stupefy with liquor. (Dictionary.com)
Spiritually to leave ones senses due to pride, power or some other influence.
At what point is a person considered to be intoxicated?
It is not wrong to feel good; however when we lose our moral compass or moral filter for our behavior, what the world calls losing our inhibitions; then we have imbibed too much and have reached the point of drunkenness and loss of self control that opens us up to sin.
“A person is under the influence of alcohol [or any kind of intoxication] when he has lost to any extent some of that clearness of intellect and self-control that he would otherwise possess” – American Med
The Bible explicitly condemns drunkenness (intoxication) and can include many substances other than just alcohol for there are many things that can cause intoxication, both physical and spiritual. God tells us in many of the Scriptures to stay sober, watchful, awake, vigilant, to exercise self control and to guard our hearts.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
1 Thessolonians 5:5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep [guard] thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
There are several examples of drunkenness in the Bible and all brought about negative consequences.
Genesis 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 9:21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent. 9:22 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 9:23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness. 9:24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
Genesis 19:31 And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth: 19:32 Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 19:33 And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 19:34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yester night with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. 19:35 And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. 19:36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father.
By these definitions of what drunkenness is and the examples of what can happen to those who come under it’s effects, we can understand why God has such dire warnings against allowing ourselves to indulge to the point of losing one’s good judgment and control over one’s mind.
When we lose our ability to think clearly we put ourselves in danger of giving into sin because our minds are no longer functioning in Godly judgment and self-control.
God has given us a body and a mind to be used in service to Him and to conduct ourselves in a manner that is holy, righteous and stable. When we become intoxicated we give up sound control of our minds and the baser elements of our human nature take over.
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
When we become intoxicated, either physically or spiritually, we open the door for Satan to take over and we lose our ability to govern ourselves as we would otherwise do if we were sober.
No wonder God includes drunkenness a work of the flesh or a work of darkness for when we become drunk we are no longer walking in the light. Not only do we succumb to the baser elements of human nature, but we also are likely to lose our ability to ward off diabolical forces and their influence. Intoxication weakens our will to resist temptation and our ability to resist sin. Those that refuse to repent of physical or spiritual drunkenness will not be in the Kingdom of God for they have not learned self-control and will not be able to teach self-control to others.
Jesus warned the disciples to avoid drunkenness for He says that “that day” would come upon them by surprise, if our minds are off in la-la land, for like an animal caught in a trap. Suddenly we will find themselves in a situation where there is no escape and no more time left. (Luke 21:35)
That day could be the beginning of the day of the Lord [tribulation] as the context is about end time events and the need to stay awake and watch as the end draws near. But in other places “that day” could also mean to be a day of trouble in our own lives brought upon us because we were not heeding God’s warnings and not walking in God’s laws and we become entrapped suddenly by consequences that come as a result of drunkenness and not paying attention.
Luke 21:35 For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.
And no matter if it is the day that Christ returns or if “that day” is the day of our own death, God wants us to be sure that we are ready whenever that day should come so that we are found in righteousness, holiness; not living in debauchery and drunkenness.
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
Luke 12:36 And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
12:37 Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.
12:38 And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.
12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
12:40 Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.
Being responsible is also being able to know our limits and to keep our drinking of alcohol way within the bounds of soberness. Some who cannot handle any amount without feeling intoxicated should abstain just as we would abstain foods we know that we are allergic to. And those who are recovering alcoholics who know that that they cannot handle even the slightest without being tempted to become intoxicated should abstain also.
As Christians who want to edify and build up the body and as their friends and family members should honor the fact some people have a weakness and we should do all in our power to help them avoid the temptation that alcohol has for them. We don’t really need alcoholic beverages in every circumstance so it is wise to not have it available or to drink ourselves if we know that others might be tempted by what we are doing.
1 Corinthians 8:9 But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.
Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
What Did Jesus Drink? Wine or Grape Juice?
Some of the main stream churches teach that the wine mentioned in the New Testament was in reality pressed out grape juice and had no alcohol content in it. Some teach that what is referred to as wine in the Bible is actually grape juice that is unfermented. Or they teach that wine used in the Old Testament was alcoholic but that the wine used in the New Testament kind was not.
Did Jesus drink fermented wine or was it just some squeezed juice from grapes? Is it true that followers of Christ should completely abstain from alcoholic beverages? Does the Bible forbid Christians from drinking wine and alcohol at all? And what about Jesus’ last Passover with His disciples? Did they just drink unfermented grape juice?
We know that the wine mentioned in the Old Testament was fermented for Noah and Lot would not have became intoxicated; if wine meant grape juice; the record of the events that happened clearly show that they became drunk. (Genesis 9:21, 19:32-35).
The Hebrew Word for Wine is yayin (Strong’s# 3196) banqueting, wine, winebibber. From an unused root meaning to effervesce; wine (as fermented); by implication, intoxication — banqueting, wine, wine(-bibber). (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)
In the Old Testament the usage of wine plainly show that it is an intoxicating beverage.
1 Samuel 1:14; 1 Samuel 25:37; Genesis 9:21,24; Genesis 19:32,33,34,35 , Isaiah 5:11,22; Proverbs 21:17; Proverbs 23:30, 31 ; 1Samuel 1:15; Micah 2:11; Isaiah 24:9; Isaiah 28:7 (twice in verse); Isaiah 56:12; forbidden to Nazirites Numbers 6:3 (twice in verse) , Numbers 6:4; Numbers 6:20, compare Amos 2:12; to Rechabites Jeremiah 35:2,5f.; to mother of Samson Judges 13:4,7,14; to priests entering sanctuary Leviticus 10:9 , Ezekiel 44:21; unfitting for kings -Proverbs 31:4.
Genesis 9:21 He drank of the wine, [yayin] and was drunken;
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
The Greek word used in this verse and the other places where “wine is used in the New Testament is oinos (Strong’s #3631 and simply means wine. From how it is used in this verse it clearly indicates that wine or oinos is a beverage that can cause drunkenness.
Scripture clearly shows a consistent reference, from Genesis to Revelation that wine is an alcoholic beverage able to make a person drunk with over indulgence.
So from this information we can know that Jesus and the disciples drank wine that had alcohol content, and if that is true, than it is not a sin to drink wine or other fermented beverage.
Water Turned into Wine at a Wedding
The first recorded public miracle that Jesus performed was to turn water into wine (John 2), at a wedding feast in Cana. (not water into grape juice).
Historically the Jewish custom required that they served and drank REAL wine at such a joyous celebrations as wedding banquets. What Jesus miraculously produced HAD to contain fermentation for it to receive the rave reviews it got from the governor of the feast, the bridegroom.
Real Wine For Passover Services
During the last Passover that Jesus kept with His disciples, he took a cup of wine and gave it to his disciples to drink. Passover occurs in the spring of the year, If it had been just juice, whether from grapes or other fruit, there was no way of preserving it from the previous fall harvest in the first century, therefore Jesus and the apostles HAD to ingest something that was fermented.
So again we see that when the Bible refers to wine, the New Testament consistently refers to as an alcoholic beverage. If nothing but grape juice was used in the early church, then it makes no sense whatsoever that the 120 disciples on Pentecost are accused of drunkenness by the people who witnessed what was happening o that day. (Acts 2:1-4, 7)
Those who espouse the teaching that NO alcohol of any kind should be used by a Christian usually use Bible verses that show negative references to wine. One such verse that they often quote that speaks of alcohol’s ill effects is found in Proverbs 20.
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
The Amplified version makes it plainer, that it is those who err or abuse wine are not wise. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a riotous brawler; and whoever errs [is drunken] or reels because of it is not wise.”
As we saw earlier the Bible does not condone drinking to the point of drunkenness. We are to use wisdom when consuming wine or strong drink. It is not the wine that is a work of the flesh but it is the abuse of what God intended it for that makes it sin. And that can be said for many other legitimate activities, just like eating food, God given sexual appetites, sleeping, working, etc. Any thing that is used to extreme or outside of the purpose for what god created these activates for is wrong.
Another passage of scripture is in Proverbs 23 that many see as negative but here again this is referring to the abuse of wine and is warning the readers what overindulgence or addiction (to look upon or lust after wine does to one’s life, the consequences are compared to being bitten by a snake, something that is poisonous and sometimes causes death.
Proverbs 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 23:30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 23:31 Look [lust] not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 23:32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.
Any alcoholic beverage that is consumed to the point of intoxication is condemned. But that does not mean that it is wrong to drink it in moderation so long as it is not over-indulged in and at the appropriate times such as a celebration or Feast. We are never to drink alcohol when we come before God in worship or administering in the things of god. (Leviticus 9)
The Bible contains many positive examples and commands about alcoholic beverages. Some of these are below, which helps balance the scriptures that are speak of the consequences of abusing wine.
Wine as made by our Creator for man’s rejoicing!
Psalm 104:14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;104:15 And [God gives] wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.
Alcohol can help those in pain or help those who are near death to forget their troubles for a while.
Proverbs 31:66 Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. 31:67 Let him drink, and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.
The High Priest of God Melchizedek (who later became Jesus) brought wine to a victorious Abraham.
Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
Isaiah 55:1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
In the Millennium, God’s people will be called to a fabulous feast by God for those who love Him.
Isaiah 25:6 And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
Solomon uses wine as an allegory for wisdom.
Proverbs 9:4 Whoso is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him,
9:5 Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled. 9:6 Forsake the foolish, and live; and go in the way of understanding.
The apostle Paul told Timothy to stop drinking just water and begin to partake of some wine ‘for you stomach’s sake’ and for the sake of his illnesses. Paul was concerned for him and advised him that taking a little wine would be like medicine for his stomach problem.
1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.
Wine represents Christ’s shed blood and the entering into a covenant relationship with our Espoused Husband.
Matthew 26:27 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;
26:28 For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
26:29 But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.
We see from all these Scriptures, that wine is a very good thing and is a gift given to men to use in rejoicing and is a symbol of good things and of abundance.
Those who desire to promote total abstinence mistakenly misinterpret the meaning of wine, in some cases calling it grape juice, or they attribute the negative verses about drinking of wine in excess to mean that all drinking is sin. But the Bible depicts wine as a good thing; it is the misuse of wine that results in drunkenness and that is what the Bible calls a work of the flesh.
The Bible, is consistent in its references to wine as fermented and having an alcohol content. Like so many other things in life, the issue of alcohol is not one of total prohibition to keep from sinning but it is an issue of moderation. God calls us to be good stewards of all the blessings He provides and that includes, our appetites, and the use of our bodies.
The use of wine can be considered a test of character or as a tool in training God’ people to grow in wisdom and balance. If we are good stewards of our bodies and our minds we will never use food and drink or drugs to excess for in so doing we harm the temple of God, which is our bodies.
1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
Paul promoted a balance approach to all things in life. He said “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” (Philippians 4:5)
The Bible clearly allows Christians to partake of alcohol in a responsible way. Jesus saw nothing wrong with drinking a small amount of wine now and then. If He saw nothing wrong with it being taken moderately, then we should see nothing wrong with doing so as well, as long as we set proper examples of never letting it control us.
Mind Altering Drugs – A Source of Intoxication and Drunkenness
So if wine is considered a good thing if taken in moderation, what about mind-altering drugs used for social purposes, or to escape reality, or just to make one feel good by the the effects it has on the mind?
What about marijuana, cocaine, narcotics, LSD, hallucinogens, stimulants, sedatives, hypnotics, psychedelics, and heroin? Is using such drugs considered a sin? What does the Word of God teach us about such things? None of these substances are listed in the Bible yet they all come under the category of what is considered drugs or “intoxicants”.
The specific Greek word for drugs is “Pharmakia” the same word we get “pharmacy” from. In Galatians 5:20 “sorcery/witchcraft,” which we studied some time back is also from this Greek word and it means the general illicit use of drugs (same application as today) and the use of drugs to cast spells, etc.
The word pharmakeia (Strong’s #5331) the use of medicine, drugs or spells (Strong’s Concordance)
(from pharmakeuō, “administer drugs”) – properly, drug-related sorcery, like the practice of magical-arts, etc. (A. T. Robertson). (HELPS Word-studies)
(Please note, this section of my article is about illicit mind altering drugs and not meant to make any kind of judgment about medicine that is used to enhance or treat one’s health.)
Again, “intoxication” is defined as: “to affect temporarily with diminished control over the physical and mental powers, by means of alcoholic liquor, a drug, or other substance…” (Random House College Dictionary). Note that, if mental or physical powers are diminished, whether by alcohol or a drug, that is considered intoxication.
The drugs listed above are a partial list of mind altering intoxicants for that is what they do; they alter the user’s state of mind so as to cause intoxication. The effects of these drugs produce an artificial “high,” a sense of “euphoria,” a false sense of well-being, or similar change in brain function.
The Bible clearly rebukes intoxication.
The work of the flesh- “drunkenness” includes anything thing that produces intoxication or “highs and God clearly says to:
- CAST off the works of darkness
- Walk properly, not in drunkenness
- Make no provision to fulfill the lusts of the flesh
Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
And that is exactly what drunkenness or intoxication is, it is a LUST that fulfills a carnal desire of the flesh and that is why it is called a “work of the flesh”.
People who want to get high come to a place where they are constantly seeking to be in that kind of euphoria, to feel really good and to escape the reality of this world. They are in affect going after idols, thinking that their idols will give them what they want, idols that do not require anything from them in terms of obeying, sacrificing, patient endurance, or working hard to develop godly character traits. And we all know that these kinds of drugs damage the mind and the body and the use of them is a slow suicide, not to mention what it can do to others.
When one is constantly going after drugs and is constantly intoxicated, it devastates their lives, and it devastates the lives of their family members who have to suffer because of this person’s selfishness. And because the drug addict no longer has control of his mind and actions, there is real possibility for abuse of others, violence, murders, accidents that cause injury and death to innocent motorists, etc.
Galatians 5:19-21 and 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 warns that those who are guilty of intoxication as well as all the other works of darkness and do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
When Paul told the Corinthians to discipline the man sinning with his father’s wife, he went on to list different kinds of wickedness that should be dealt with in the same way as the sin this man was committing; requiring that we should deliver those that are involved with such things over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh so that the spirit may be saved in the resurrection. We are not to fellowship with physically or spiritually intoxicated folks just as we are not to fellowship with adulterers who say that they are members of the Ekklesia.
I posted the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 5 as this is so applicable to the modern day church as well.
Just as there are many problems with drugs and alcohol in our modern day society, so we hear reports that it is a widespread problem in the Ekklesia; and we need to know the seriousness of what God thinks of those who walk in this kind of darkness, along with the other sins that are mentioned. All the sins listed in the following passage are serious sins, but some may come to believe that drunkenness may seem harmless and not as bad as other sins or they may say: if one indulges once in a while “what harm can it do?” But God condemns drunkenness just as much as He does fornication, adultery, homosexuality, thievery, etc.
1 Corinthians 5:1 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.
5:2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.
5:3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
5:4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
5:6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
5:8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
5:9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
5:10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.
5:12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within?
5:13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
As members of God’s Ekklesia, we too are commanded to not keep company with any member who gives himself over to drunkenness and refuses to repent. He should be disciplined so he realizes the seriousness of what he is doing and hopefully he will turn to God for help to overcome.
2 Corinthians 2:7 So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
Hence, whether caused by alcohol or by other drugs or spiritual issues like pride, power etc, intoxication violates God’s Word and is the breaking of His direct command that we abstain from becoming intoxicated.
With alcohol it is a matter of moderation as we have seen, but with drugs there can be no moderate use for there is nothing beneficial in taking in any of these substances, even in the tiniest amounts, except for the relief of terrible pain as in serious injury.
Here are direct commands from God’s Word. As we see, God is not silent when it comes to this subject and neither should we be.
Matthew 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 24:46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 24:47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
24:48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 24:49 And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Luke 12:45 But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
Being sober is the opposite of being drunk and is associated with being alert, self controlled and watchful.
God tells us through Peter that we are to stay alert and He also warns us that being sober and vigilant to protect ourselves from the wiles of the devil.
1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 5:9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Be sober and on guard for the devil, to resist him, and not be devoured by him. Realizing how dangerous and cunning Satan is, we should keep our minds sharp and clear so we can recognize his deceit and resist his temptations.
One of the main reasons why God condemns intoxication is that, as His children we face many serious temptations. In order to distinguish right from wrong and then exercise self-control (spiritual fruit of temperance, our minds must think clearly and we must not destroy what God calls His temple, our physical bodies. We must be clear headed and alert – both physically and spiritually – to discern between right and wrong.
We are also to bring our bodies into subjection to our minds, exercising temperance (self-control) like athletes in training, so our bodies will be properly guided by our minds.
1 Corinthians 9:25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 9:26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
God gives us a sound mind if we are walking according to all His ways; and if we cloud our minds we forfeit having a sound godly mind.
2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart [mind] with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
Sometimes struggling against sin is difficult and exhausting, even with the clearest of faculties. That is one reason why God forbids intoxication.
There are other ways to do damage to our character, but drug abuse is certainly one of them. Intoxicating drugs and attitudes [pride etc] weaken the mind’s ability to think clearly, to be able to discern between right from wrong, and to exercise self-control. With God’s help, with Christ living in us and by the power of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word tells us that there is no temptation that is too difficult for us.
1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:
If We are Companions of Foolish Men, We Will Suffer Harm
And when we stop doing these things, chances are that others will persecute and say all manner of evil against us to try to ensnare us to return to doing these things with them again. The best way is to resist the pressures and temptations is to avoid them and not keep company with evil doers.
1 Peter 4:4 Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: 4:5 Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 4:7 But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
Drug use tempts those who are involved in it to participate in other evils as well. Those that use drugs tend run with other drug users. They begin using drugs usually because of the influence of others and their peer pressure. They attend parties where drugs are abused and where all inhibition is thrown out the window and where all kinds of sin takes place. They break the laws of the land by going to drug pushers to obtain their illegal drugs.
So they become companions of other druggies and make friends with those who enjoy illegal and illicit activities and who rebel against parents and authority. To repent and stop partaking of dangerous intoxicants we must give up those that would tempt us to keep abusing drugs with them. The Bible has lots of good advice about not hanging out with those that would entice us and tempt us.
1 Corinthians 15:33 Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners [behavior].
The Bible warns us to avoid temptations and evil influences. We should not participate either to please ourselves or other people, in activities that tempt us to sin or that endanger our walk with God.
We should pray for God to deliver us from evil and temptation. How can we sincerely pray this and then knowingly do things that tempt or encourage us to do evil, or if we neglect to avoid those that we know will lead us into temptation?
Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
We should cut off our hand or eye or anything that tempts us to sin, meaning that we are to do whatever we can to get the things out of our lives which tempt us to do evil. While the cutting off of a hand or eye is not literal, this verse is teaching us that entering eternal life and avoiding the prospect of forfeiting our calling is so important that we should do whatever it takes to avoid even temptation to do evil. This may mean we have to cut off harmful relationships that tempt us, the people who are our friends and family members that we love dearly.
Matthew 18:8 Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.
Instead of walking into spiritually dangerous situations, we should scrupulously avoid them.
Proverbs 22:3 A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself: but the simple pass on, and are punished
Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.
Qualifications for Leaders in the Ekklesia
In the book of Titus, Paul explains the qualifications for those who are called to be elders and ministers. He includes being sober in his advise to both men and women and to every age group. The book of Titus is a good study in regard to what God expects of all His people but especially to the leaders in the church, for they are the ones that the rest look to as examples.
Titus 2:2 That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.
Titus 2:4 That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,
Titus 2:6 Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
Titus 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
1 Peter 5:1 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
Drug Abuse Is a Lack Self-Control
Galatians 5:23 Meekness, temperance [self-control]: against such there is no law.
The person who abuses drugs loses all restraint and personal will power, not just when one is “high” or intoxicated, but also between highs. When one begins to use intoxicating drugs the effects becomes progressively addictive with continued use.
The Bible forbids participating, for the sake of personal pleasure, in practices that hinder our moral judgment or weaken our self-control.
Being sober is the opposite of being drunk [intoxicated] and is associated with being alert and watchful.
1 Thessalonians 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
5:7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.
5:8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
People involved in drug abuse lose interest in spiritual things because they feel guilty and because they are more interested in getting high. Neglect of Bible study, prayer, worship, etc.
Drug abuse is a failure to avoid temptation.
Jesus is the Answer
Unfortunately, for far too many people, drug abuse is totally ruining their lives. People need to realize that Jesus, not drugs, is the answer to all their needs.
God provides the means to handle any temptation or problem in life. You do not need to escape reality by means of drugs.
1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.
Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Jesus is able to provide all things that pertain to life and godliness.
2 Peter 1:3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
A life of drugs and/or alcoholism is a life of, hopelessness, guilt, sorrow, despair and mental illness; and eventual death physically, and if not at some point repented of, eternal death. Jesus is the only true answer. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life……” (John 14:6)
God’s way is a way of life, hope, salvation, forgiveness, and eternal life. And if we are struggling we must cry to Him; and if we are sincerely repentant, He will answer and give us strength to go on even if we are struggling with addictions of any kind.
Psalm 138:3 In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.
And we can always ask God for His help and to have wisdom to resist and overcome our addictions.
If any of us have used drugs or even are addicted to either drugs or alcohol, we can be forgiven and ask for the strength to change our ways and overcome the stranglehold of intoxicants, but we must exercise faith that He is able to help us.
James 1:6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waverer is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
And the church in Corinth contained those who had previously been drunkards but who then had repented, had been washed, cleansed, and justified from their sins by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.
Jesus is the author of eternal salvation, able to save to the uttermost those who turn to Him in obedience. When we feel hopeless and think that we cannot overcome additions, Jesus tells us to come to Him and He will intercede to the Father on our behalf and provide a way of escape. (1st Corinthins 10:13)
Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Matthew 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Ephesians 3:16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 3:17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,3:18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 3:19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Those who are struggling with substance addiction can be free from the chains and guilt over drug abuse. We must trust Jesus and let Him change our lives for He can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ask or think, and He will do according to the power of His Holy Spirit that is working in us, if we have been baptized and received the Holy Spirit after the laying on of hands and have made the commitment to go and sin no more.
We are to Glorify God in our Body as Well as in Our Spirit
The Bible teaches us that God’s people should glorify Him in everything we do and that includes the proper care for our bodies and to use them to serve God. It is sin to yield as instruments of wickedness.
When we knowingly destroy our bodies we are harming ourselves and the gift that God has given to us to serve and obey Him. It is a type of self murder when we do things that harm the body which God says is His temple. If we belong to Christ than we are not our own and we have no right to deliberately do harm to God’s dwelling place.
He has called us to live our lives in learning, growing, developing character, to internalize His divine nature to become made in His image. If we desecrate His Plan and Purpose for us by destroying the privilege and opportunities He holds out to us it is as if we stomp all over His gift to us. It is a sin to simply seek selfish pleasures regardless of what it does to our bodies. That is why smoking cigarettes is so wrong. Even though the Bible does not say anywhere “thou shalt not smoke cigarettes, the nicotine that is in them is a dangerous destructive drug and the principle glorifying our bodies and not destroying them pertains to smoking as well.
As stewards of the bodies and the life that God has given to us we are to take care of our bodies and health as reasonably as we can and avoid those things that we know are harmful, not only our own bodies but also our children’s bodies as well.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
1 Corinthians 3:6 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.
God expects us to master our appetites, our urges and our desire for drugs and harmful things, just as we are to master envy, anger, jealousy, etc.
Genesis 4:7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. [Sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.]
If we become ill and we pray for God to heal us; Is it logical for us to expect Him to heal our bodies if we are selfishly practicing things that we know will harm our health? Why would God desire to heal someone who is deliberating abusing his body with harmful substances or being slothful in caring for it properly.
James 5:14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
Our bodies and lives belong to God and are entrusted to us to use to accomplish His will and purpose with those gifts. This is part of our responsibility as a steward of what He has provided for to us to use in this transient life.
Luke 16:10 He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.16:11 If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? 16:12 And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?
In our temporary and transient lives, God expects us to learn to be responsible and to care for the precious things that He has entrusted to us for a purpose. We must use that property [our bodies] for the purpose of the owner, not desecrate it for our own selfish pleasure and enjoyment. Some day we will give account to the owner for how we used His property.
Luke 12:42 And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?
Matthew 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
How we to be using our bodies and our lives? We are to give them in sacrifice to God’s service and in doing His will and not live like the unconverted that do not know God.
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
When we conform ourselves to the ways of the world and take drugs, we participate in activities that are known to do harm and God calls it SIN. Intoxication HARMS the body and destroys lives.
The world ignorantly turns a blind eye to these facts and the statistics and abuses them anyway. But as Christians we need to set the proper example of being shining lights to the world of ones who refuse to walk in drunkenness and who live soberly, are alert and use our bodies for righteousness and holiness and to do the whole will of God!
In regard to “drunkenness [intoxication],” a work of the flesh, we are to cast it off, lay it aside and stay in the race into the Kingdom of God.
Hebrews 12:1 …. let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Today the Ekklesia is so full of the drunkenness of wine that many onlookers have called the Feast of Tabernacles “The Feast of Booze” for many years now. Yet there is an even greater sin in today’s Ekklesia; We are intoxicated with pride in our own ways. It is for this reason that the corporate organizations are being rejected by Jesus Christ to be cast into the fire of great tribulation so that by afflicting the flesh the spirit can be saved.
Today we are the church of Laodicea which means: The people have been judged and condemned to correction.
James Malm and Constance Belanger
Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2016, which I then completed for posting.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.