Is Smoking and Drinking a Sin?

Smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol are controversial topics among Christians. While some believe these practices are inherently sinful, others think they can be done in moderation. This article will examine what the Bible says about smoking and drinking and provide guidance for Evangelical and Charismatic Christians.

Introduction

Smoking and drinking alcohol are very common practices in modern society. However, many Christians view these behaviors as morally questionable. Some even go so far as to call smoking and drinking sins. But what does the Bible actually say on these matters?

As Christians, we know that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). We are called to glorify God with our bodies. So we should consider carefully what we put into them. We also know that drunkenness is strongly warned against in Scripture (Ephesians 5:18). But what about more moderate smoking and drinking?

This article will dive into biblical principles related to smoking and drinking. It will examine Scriptural evidence on whether these practices should be considered sinful. The goal is to provide wisdom and guidance for Evangelical and Charismatic Christians about making God-honoring decisions regarding smoking and drinking.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Bible does not explicitly prohibit smoking or drinking alcohol.
  • Scripture warns against addiction and drunkenness. Moderation is key.
  • Christians should avoid causing others to stumble with their freedoms.
  • Smoking damages the body, which is designed to glorify God.
  • The Holy Spirit can guide Christians in making wise choices about smoking and drinking.
Is Smoking and Drinking a Sin?

The Bible Does Not Forbid Smoking or Drinking

It’s important to first understand that the Bible does not specifically prohibit smoking or consuming alcoholic beverages. There are no verses that directly declare these practices as sinful. However, Scripture does provide principles to guide our thinking about smoking and drinking.

In the Old Testament, wine is seen as a blessing from God (Psalm 104:14-15). Yet drunkenness is presented as foolish and leads to poverty and woe (Proverbs 23:29-35). In the New Testament, Jesus’ first miracle was turning water to wine at a wedding feast (John 2:1-11). He shared Passover wine with his disciples and called it his blood. Paul even instructed Timothy to drink some wine for his stomach’s sake (1 Timothy 5:23).

So in biblical times, alcohol was considered a normal part of life. The use of alcohol only became sinful when consumed in excess. There are no biblical passages related to recreational tobacco use because the modern practice of smoking did not exist then. But the same principle could apply – smoking in moderation may not be sin, but addiction is warned against.

The Bible Warns Against Addiction and Drunkenness

While the Bible allows for moderate drinking, it strongly warns against drunkenness and addiction. Those who habitually drink to excess are committing sin and opening themselves to many dangers:

Proverbs 20:1 – Wine is a mocker, strong drink is a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.

Ephesians 5:18 – And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 6:12 – All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be dominated by anything.

Titus 2:3 – Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good.

The same principle applies to smoking. An addiction to nicotine where smokers feel enslaved to tobacco would go against these biblical warnings. Smoking in moderation may not be sinful, but smoking compulsively is unwise and unhealthy.

As Christians, our bodies belong to God, not to addictive substances (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). But with self-control and the Spirit’s help, smoking or drinking in moderation can potentially be done in a way that glorifies God.

Do Not Cause Others to Stumble

The Bible reminds Christians that their freedom in Christ should not cause others to stumble:

1 Corinthians 8:9 – But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

Romans 14:21 – It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

So even if an individual believes moderate smoking or drinking is not wrong for them, they should be sensitive to others it may impact. Young people are impressionable, and Christians are called to be role models. If smoking or drinking could cause someone else to sin or go against their convictions, it may be best to abstain in that case.

This principle of not causing others to stumble applies anytime our freedoms in Christ could lead new believers or weaker brothers into sin or confusion. Our witness for the gospel matters more than insisting on our personal rights.

Smoking Can Damage Our Bodies

The Bible teaches that our physical bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). As God’s temple, we are called to care for our health and glorify Him with our bodies.

Smoking cigarettes is indisputably harmful to the body. The chemicals inhaled damage the lungs, throat, mouth, blood vessels and heart. As stewards of the bodies God gave us, Christians should at minimum consider these health risks before choosing to smoke.

Alcohol can also become unhealthy when consumed without self-control or wisdom. Drinking too frequently, in excess, or while operating vehicles or machinery is physically and spiritually dangerous. As with smoking, moderation and discretion are key principles from Scripture when partaking in alcohol.

Rely on the Spirit’s Guidance

Questions about smoking and drinking ultimately come down to Christian freedom and believers’ individual walks with God. The Bible does not provide universal rules on whether moderate forms of these practices are permissible.

For Charismatic Christians who believe in the ongoing gifts and work of the Holy Spirit, guidance can be sought through prayer, discernment and Spirit-led convictions. The Spirit may impress different standards upon different hearts.

While one Christian may feel total abstinence is right for them, another may not feel convicted that moderate social drinking is wrong. There is freedom in the Spirit to follow personal conscience as long as it aligns with biblical values of sobriety, health and avoiding addiction or offense.

Conclusion

In summary, the Bible does not expressly forbid smoking or drinking alcohol. Drunkenness and addiction are clearly sinful according to Scripture. But in moderation, some Christians believe use of alcohol and tobacco may not be inherently wrong.

Key principles for Evangelical and Charismatic believers to consider are:

  • Care for your body as God’s temple
  • Exercise self-control to avoid addiction
  • Abstain if it could cause others to stumble in their faith
  • Rely on discernment from the Holy Spirit

Wise and moderate use of Christian freedom, along with sensitivity to others, is the biblical model for approaching choices about smoking and drinking. Our lives are best lived not by universal rules but by ongoing obedience to the Spirit of God.

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