Drunkenness is a horrible affliction plaguing humanity the world over. Many doubt whether it is a sin. Some misuse the Word of God to justify this deadly sin. Let us examine the Word of God on this subject and see why we should avoid alcohol.
- Alcoholism is the handy work of the devil. (Rom 13:12-13) “…the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armour of light; let us live honourably as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy”.
- Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; do not destroy it. (Cor 3:16-17) “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person. For God’s temple is holy and you are that temple”.
Angel Gabriel, who came with the message of God, told Zechariah “For he (St. John the Baptist) will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink: even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Lk.1:15). Jews were allowed to drink wine, and yet John was prohibited from drinking wine or strong drinks by Almighty God-because John was filled with the Holy Spirit. Those who are filled with Holy Spirit or wish to be filled with the Holy Spirit should never consume alcohol or intoxicating drinks.
- If Jesus dwells in your heart, alcohol cannot touch you. If Jesus is present in you, you will experience fullness of love, happiness, comfort and high spirit. You will not feel the need to go after any other intoxication or comfort. (1 Jn 3:9) “Those who have been born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides in them; they cannot sin, because they have been born of God”. Those who do not have Jesus in them will yearn for the comfort of alcohol and other worldly comforts. They will never come out of these worldly pleasures without experiencing the intoxication of Jesus. “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit”. ( Eph 5:18)
- Those who indulge in even moderate drinking cannot maintain purity in life. God demanded that Samson should never drink alcohol so as to maintain purity of life. “Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink or to eat anything unclean” (Judges 13:4). It shows wine is also considered as an unclean thing. Aaron was asked not to drink wine or other strong drinks so as to remain saintly. “Drink no wine or strong drinks, neither you nor your sons, when you enter the tent of meeting so that you may not die” (Lev 10:9). For those who drink, spiritual death is certain and those who are spiritually dead are not saints – they are mere dead bodies.
- Those who drink wine or any strong drink will never be able to guide others and their judgments will be wrong and will get wrong visions. “the priest and prophet reel with strong drink, they are confused with wine, they stagger with strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in giving judgment. All tables are covered with filthy vomit; no place is clean.” (Is 28:7,8).(Is 22:13-14) “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die, says the Lord God of hosts”.
- The families, parishes and religious communities which serve alcohol on their dining table will perish beyond recognition and be split. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one (1 Corinthians 5:11). When that time comes I shall search Jerusalem by lamplight and punish the men stagnating over the remains of their wine, who say in their hearts, ‘Yahweh can do nothing, either good or bad.’ Their wealth shall be plundered and the houses laid waste. Though they build houses they shall not inhabit them” (Zeph 1:12-13). In European countries, big cathedrals have been turned into liquor parlours and dance bars-because they have turned their own bodies (which were created as God’s temples), into liquor bars. They have turned their homes also into liquor stores. Then why should churches or cathedrals be preserved as a house of God? “Therefore, God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves” (Rom 1:24)
- To drunkards, and those who justify drunkenness, eternal misery is the reward. (Is 5:11) “Ah, you who rise early in the morning in pursuit of strong drink, who linger in the evening to be inflamed by wine”, are destined to be ruined. For those who justify drunkenness, God says, “Woe to those who call what is bad, good, and what is good, bad, who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” (Is. 5:20)
- Drunkards shall never inherit God’s kingdom. (Gal 5:19-21) “Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the things like that. I am warning you, as I warned you before, these who do such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God”. (1Cor 6:10-11) “…thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers – none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. And this is what some of you used to be”.
- Drunkards can never claim God’s pleasure. “For this reason, the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God: it does not submit to God’s law-it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God (Rom.8:7-8), and “Because the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes , the pride in riches, comes not from the father , but from the world”( 1 John 2:16)
- You can be drunk; but not from wine or any strong drink. Is 29:9, “Be drunk, but not from wine; stagger, but not from strong drink!” But the Word of God says be drunk with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18, “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit…” After the Pentecostal experience Peter and other disciples were filled with Holy Spirit and staggering. People thought they are drunk with wine. Then Peter said, “Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.” Those who experience the pleasure of the Presence of the Holy Spirit will never go for any other pleasures.
So, what shall we do? (Rom.12:1) “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”. This is what we can do:
- Repent for your thoughts that drunkenness is not a sin.
- Repent for the occasions you indulged in group drinking, to show off that you are someone. It is not in joining the majority, but rather, in standing against the worldly instincts of the majority that you can prove your character.
- Pray fervently for drunkards, those who manufacture alcohol, and for the families who are involved in the marketing of alcoholic beverages, so that these families may not end up in total disaster and stop this evil.
- Pray for those who are addicted to drinks; especially for those chosen ones of God who are set apart for Jesus.
- Pray for mercy for those who try to justify drinking by misinterpreting the word of God.
- Pray for the infilling of the intoxicating presence of the Holy Spirit in humanity throughout the universe.
Written by Fr. Joseph Edattu V.C.