Galatians 5:19-21, ESV
Take another look at that list. It is clearly describing conduct that is abhorrent to the Lord. How abhorrent? Sufficient to qualify for the Holy Spirit-inspired judgment that “those who do such things [drunkenness is on the list!] will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Will one drink make you a drunk? Most likely not, according to the blood-alcohol charts I’ve seen. But, depending on your gender and weight, will it put you 1/4, 1/3, or even 1/2 the way to drunkenness? Yes! It is beyond me, even mystifying to me, why a Christian who wants to please God would engage in conduct that leads him or her along the road to the divine judgment stated in our verses above.
How about two “social” drinks? Well, now we are flirting with serious danger. For a fairly small woman, the alcohol in just two drinks, taken over a short period of time, can make her legally drunk. For a typical-size man, it might be 3 or 4 drinks.
Why would a Christian flirt with drunkenness? Especially in light of the Bible’s judgment of drunkards as “not inherit[ing] the kingdom of God”!
Again we are told that certain “wrongdoers” (including “drunkards”) will not inherit the kingdom of God. And here the apostle Paul makes it even clearer, when he says, “That is what some of you were. But…” And he goes on to say that now that they have come to Christ for salvation that conduct is over, it is in the past (“…some of you were”). Now as saved followers of Jesus Christ, they have been “washed … sanctified … justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”
Look at some of the conduct condemned in the apostle’s list: sexual immorality, adultery, homosexual practice, thievery … and drunkenness. As a former and regular drinker of alcohol until my mid 20s, I know all the excuses, the main one being typically something like this: “I don’t get drunk; I just have a few cold ones,” as if using hip phrases excuses conduct that leads too many Christians right up to or over the threshold of being a drunk.
Sad to say, social drinking — which I am pointing out is anywhere from partial to almost full drunkenness — has become an epidemic among American Christians. I won’t belabor this point. If you’ve read this far, it’s probably because the Lord is speaking to your heart. Let’s just look at one final, biblical exhortation from the apostle Peter.
I admit it. I once was a boozer. An addicted alcoholic, or what some call a "sot" or "souse"? No. A wino or “wine-bibber”? No, but mostly because I preferred beer and occasional “hard” liquor. In my late teens and early adult years, before coming to the Lord for salvation, I did “what pagans choose to do.” Specifically, I was on occasion fully drunk and often partially or nearly drunk (for a man my size, 2 or 3 drinks; for a smaller woman, that’s 1 or 2 drinks). When I got saved, I realized that Jesus came to earth and died for us to “save his people
To my Christian brothers and sisters who participate in “social drinking,” I appeal to you to seek the high road … to say to yourself, “that’s enough! I’m done doing things that the unsaved routinely do” … to determine to abandon any conduct (here, drunkenness) that, as our Scriptures above declare, could cause you to forfeit your entrance into the kingdom of God.
I have written more extensively elsewhere on some additional biblical reasons for choosing the high road of abstinence from alcohol. I invite you to investigate this topic more deeply at my two sermons:
Thank you for taking the time to read my appeal with an open heart. I really do appreciate that. Personally I have found nothing but blessing in choosing the teetotaler route and putting alcohol out of my life these past 45 years. I am confident that you will find that choice to be a blessing for you too.
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©2016, 2018, James H. Feeney.
Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.