Friday, July 23, 2010

Pot versus Alcohol

It occurred to me that I should have elaborated more on the distinctions between alcohol and marijuana in yesterday’s blog post titled “Escaping Reality.” Another notable difference between alcohol and pot is that it is possible for the vast majority of people to drink in moderation. That is not the case with marijuana where a person may become functionally impaired from just one lungful of pot smoke.

It is possible to have one or two drinks without any degradation of performance as recognized by legal limits for blood alcohol content when driving. Certainly, alcohol is abused all the time and it can be every much an escape from reality as pot. People with a propensity for alcoholism shouldn’t even allow themselves one drink because this can tempt them to drink enough where they become impaired.

Many Christians are convicted that they should not drink any alcohol. I agree that should certainly be the case for alcoholics and when Christians are with an alcoholic. Romans 14:21 says, “It is good neither to eat meat nor drink wine nor do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is made weak” (NKJ). That is why it is correct for churches not to advocate alcohol drinking in their social gatherings; we might have an alcoholic brother or sister in our midst and not be aware of it.

However, outside of church, I think that a drink or two socially can serve to break down barriers between people to advance the cause of Christ. The risk Christians have in abstinence is that this can be perceived as being a demonstration of “holier than thou” which does not help build relationships with others. Christian Legalism harms the Body of Christ because it leads people to think salvation requires one to earn favor with God. That is not the gospel of Christ; our good works do not save us, see Ephesians 2:8-9. And as Paul said…
“For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22)

Jesus certainly did not condemn drinking in moderation. Indeed He facilitated its use in social gatherings by turning the water into wine at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-10). And He chose wine to represent His blood as one of the two key elements of the Lord’s Supper. The key here is moderation; Christians have freedom to use alcohol but when use becomes abuse, it is a sin. In contrast, no where in the Bible is the use of mind altering drugs advocated; indeed intoxication is condemned as sin.

It bears repeating that using anything to escape the reality of this mortal world is dangerous. And this danger increases as we get closer to the return of Jesus because the day will come when it will be too late to get on-board with God (see Proverbs 29:1). It is much better to look forward to the ultimate escape from this world… the Rapture will be a glorious beginning to our eternity with the Lord!

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