A Glass of Wine
Where to draw the line on Drinking as a Christian
I want you to be aware that for the moment I am called not to drink any wine or strong drink; I say this so that you know that I have not written for personal gain.
To Drink or not to Drink as a Christian. Notice I didn’t say to get drunk or not to get drunk, and that is because the Bible is extremely clear about drunkenness. Drunkenness is a sin; period. However, the subject of having an appropriate portion of wine, according to what is sensible and allowed by the Holy Spirit, is not so clear to some people. Drinking as a Christian is a sensitive subject for many of God's people; as it should be, because the Bible does warn against the dangers of being led astray by alcohol or strong drink.
Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise- Proverbs 20:1ESV
However, even though this is a touchy subject for Christians, we as followers of Christ, should be more concerned about valuing God’s word over our strong opinions. And we should be open to God to showing us things that we might not understand.
When we explore gray or confusing areas in Scripture, we need to RESIST the temptation of valuing our own opinions higher than valuing the word of God.
With that said let’s explore what the Bible says about alcohol.
Are we as Christian Allowed to Drink a “glass of wine”?
Yes. God has given the Christian freedom to have an appropriate amount of wine, as long as it does not affect our sobriety. Let’s take a look at the following scriptures:
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin-Romans 14:22
No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments-1Timothy5:23ESV
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him! A glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’ Yet wisdom is justified by her deeds-Matthew 11:18-19 ESV
“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything-1 Corinthians 6:12 ESV
Can the wine that the Bible speaks about be unfermented grape juice?
There is a lot of information out there that claims that the wine that the Bible speaks about was unfermented grape juice. While this might be true in some parts of the Bible where the Greek or Hebrew rendering of wine, is translated into new wine, we certainly know that there is no way a person could get drunk of off grape juice. And so, this theory fails when we look at the many people who got drunk in Biblical times. We know that from the time of Noah wine had the ability to affect judgment and make someone drunk since Noah himself was guilty of this. aWe also know that Aaron’s sons got drunk, and finally, the Bible warns people back then, and today, not to get drunk with wine.
Why has God given us the freedom to enjoy what could potentially be a dangerous thing?
Ecclesiastes 9:7 says,
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do.
The psalmist writes in Psalm 104:14-15,
“You cause grass to grow for the livestock and plants for people to use. You allow them to produce food from the earth— wine to make them glad, olive oil to soothe their skin, and bread to give them strength.” Psalms 104:14-15 NLT
And finally in the parable of Jotam's it is written of wine:
““Then they said to the grapevine, ‘You be our king!’ But the grapevine also refused, saying, ‘Should I quit producing the wine that cheers both God and people, just to wave back and forth over the trees?’” Judges 9:12-13 NLT
The Bible tells us that wine was given to man as a blessing. But just as we can pervert other blessings in our life, we can pervert the blessing of drinking wine.
I was taught my whole life that drinking wine was a sin. So imagine my surprise when I decided to investigate the matter for myself. After I had come to the conclusion that I was taught wrong, I realized how important it was to let go of my opinion and not try to box God into my own religious ideologies. I learned to call right what God called right, and wrong what God called wrong in accordance with Scripture. As for the gray areas in the Bible, I also learned that I was not to judge my other brothers and sisters for the freedom that they had been given, and I felt I called to not partake in.
Finally, as I explored this topic I was amazed by God’s willingness to set us free to enjoy the things he put in this world, as long as we are doing so within the boundaries that he has set for us. I also learned that freedom demands Great responsibility. God has declared that freedom is good, but we have to be careful not to use our God-given freedom to hurt ourselves and others.
Exceptions to this Freedom
Are there any exceptions to this freedom?
The Exceptions to this Freedom Are:
Pastors during Service Times
People who have been called to abstain from drinking – Example John the Baptist.
If you feel condemned to Drink
No drinking in front of weak believers
Freedom Requires Great Responsibility
If you are a Christian you have been given the freedom to enjoy wine as long as you don’t cross the lines that God has given you. God establishes boundaries for our freedom so that we can stay free.
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
You say, “I am allowed to do anything”[a]—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.-1 Corinthians 10:23
Jesus set us free, and he wants us to stay free from bondage. We are to rule over our desires, not let our desires rule us. We are also responsible for to our weaker brothers and sisters. The Bible says about this:
We who are strong ought to bear with the shortcomings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
Romans 14:1 Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on his opinions.
Galatians 6:2 Carry one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the Law of Christ. Philippians 2:4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Just as the weaker brother is admonished to love God over his opinion, the stronger brother is asked to love God and others over his freedom.
Romans 14 says,
20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. 23 But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.
Let us be CAREFUL not to give the Enemy an opportunity to stubble a weak brother or sister in this area. Don’t drink wine if you know that your brother in Christ feels condemned or tempted to drink wine. Consider asking God about abstaining from your freedom if one of your brothers or sisters had a previous alcohol problem. Also consider asking God about abstaining from your liberty if you are you are around young believers who can be led astray by your freedom. Finally, consider asking God about abstaining from your freedom if you are going to be around unbelievers who can mistake your behavior for drunk behavior.
Suggestion for Those with Past Addictions
If you are a person who has struggled with addictions, I pray that you seek God fervently with a sincere heart about this subject. If the Holy Spirit has convicted you to abstain from alcohol because your past obey the Lord, for he knows you better than you know yourself. Also consider staying away from situations that could lead you into temptation, if you were told not to drink.
Going to Far
Where to Draw the Line on Drinking
You know you have abused your freedom, if you become drunk or if you have stumbled another brother or sister in Christ. Draw the line where God tells you to draw the line.
Christians and Bars
As Christians, we are advised in God’s word to stay away from fools and Bad Company. We are also encouraged not to reason with a person who is drunk. Moreover, we learn from scripture that reasoning with a drunk person is not wise, so personally, I don’t think it is a good idea to preach the gospel to a person whose judgment has been affected by alcohol. This is a gray area in which you need to personally seek the Lord on. There are a couple of verses that I think suggest that it is not wise to go to bars. Check them out below:
Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.”-1 Corinthians 15:33
Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm-Proverbs 13:20
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away-Psalm 1:1-4
I do not sit with men of falsehood, nor do I consort with hypocrites. I hate the assembly of evildoers, and I will not sit with the wicked-Psalm 26:4-5
For wisdom on how to deal with a drunk person, read Abagail’s account on 1Samuel 25. Also Read the book of Proverbs, it will also help you gain wisdom in this area.