The other day, I wrote on my Facebook wall that it is funny how someone who just drank coffee for breakfast is telling another fellow who just drank alcohol that drinking alcohol is a sin. First of all, it was a calculated post; to initiate a conversation that would lead to this essay and expose the insincerity of a some believers.
For the records, I didn’t say that drinking coffee is a sin or worse sin than alcohol nor did I imply that drinking alcohol is a sin. For the records, I don’t take alcohol for anything simply because I don’t like them or enjoy them. But regardless of what I think about alcohol, it is bad to make a doctrine out of my personal preferences.
Coffee contains addictive substances like caffeine which is harmful to the body when taken in excess but you don’t see anyone telling people who take coffee that it is a sin. Coke is worse than beer, it contains a very high volume of sugar and various Christians who judge others for taking alcohol can’t eat without drinking coke. That is hypocrisy.
The truth is that what applies to the drinking of alcohol applies to the drinking of coke, coffee and other addictive substances. There isn’t any single portion of the Bible or teachings of Jesus that forbids one from drinking alcohol. Jesus drank alcohol all his life, he also performed the miracle of turning water into wine. Some people in the days of Jesus even accused Jesus of getting drunk.
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” – Matthew 11:19
Jesus, the Apostles and the early Church did not in any way teach that alcohol is a sin. And just because we teach that alcohol is not a sin does not mean we are encouraging people to take alcohol. Coke and other soda drinks are equally very harmful to the body but merely taking them is not a sin. The most important thing is to understand your body, understand what your body needs and take them in moderation.
Some believers don’t take alcohol or even drink coffee but they are gluttons! They eat a lot and do so greedily. God wants us to take care of our bodies and he would rather have us avoid things that would harm us and others around us. The Bible has several verses that speak ill of alcohol and I’ll highlight a few.
In Leviticus 10:9, the Levites who served as Priests of God were instructed not to take alcohol. In Numbers 6:3, the Nazarites were instructed not to take alcohol. Proverbs 20:1 called wine a mocker and Isiah wrote
“Woe to those who rise early in the morning, that they may run after strong drink, who tarry late into the evening as wine inflames them!” – Isaiah 5:11
We can see from the places I mentioned that certain people were forbidden from taking alcohol because of their office and how addictive substances can cause them to make a mess of that office. Other verses didn’t necessarily speak against alcohol but its addiction. It is like certain verses speaking against men who go after women, yet the Bible didn’t instruct that men should have nothing to do with women.
There are also portions of the Bible that encouraged or rather portray alcohol in a positive light. Psalm 104:14-15 called wine God’s gift to gladden the heart of men, Isaiah 55:1 beckoned on God’s people to come and buy wine. Ecclesiastes 9:7 asked God’s people to drink wine with a merry heart and even went as far as saying that God approved it. Amos 9:14 called wine God’s blessings.
You need to know that the wine the Bible talked about is wine! Not Guava juice or orange juice. You also need to know that the wine Jesus brought forth through water and the ones he drank is not Hollandia Yoghurt or Limca but pure wine that can get one drunk.
In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul instructed Timothy not to drink only water but to also take alcohol because of his stomach illness. Alcohol has several health benefits when taken in extreme moderation just like every other edible substance.
Alcohol is God’s gift to man just as every other thing the Lord has made and given to man for food. The same way one would become a glutton because of nutritious food is how one can become a drunkard because of alcohol. So, it is laughable when a believer with coke or a cup of coffee in one hand judges another believer who has a cup of beer in one hand. It’s hypocrisy.
Having said all of this, it is expedient to point out that we must not let anything become master of our body, we must not let any food or drink become our Lord. This is what addiction is. Why so many believers are loud against alcohol is because of its addictiveness and effects but truth is, Coke is also very addictive and its effect is extremely dangerous. Some doctors believe that Coke is more dangerous than beer. Paul tells us in 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.”
Whether it is alcohol, coffee or bean balls, if it is not helpful, you may want to strike it off. But if you must take them, it should be in moderation and you shouldn’t allow them to dominate you. We miss the whole point when we begin to point at alcohol and insinuate things like “that’s a bottle of sin!”. Alcohol is a gift from God and like everything we do in life, we must take it in moderation if we have a weakness of not being able to control ourselves, we should avoid anything that will put us in harm’s way.
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31