“I think I’ll relax and study my bible over a glass of wine”. Uh oh! I’m quite certain that statement made many of my fellow Christians cringe. I’m sure it may push limits of some people’s personal theology…many of my fellow Christians will quickly tell you that you shouldn’t defile the temple of God (and we shouldn’t).
Many of my fellow Christians will piously tell you, “Ohhh no! I don’t drink alcohol”, while at the same time many of the same people consume huge amounts of sugar, fat, sodium, artificial ingredients, smoke, over-the-counter and prescription drugs etc., etc., etc., that they know are harmful to their bodies, or temples of God (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Many Christians who’ve been diagnosed medical conditions knowingly eat foods and drink beverages that even though they aren’t wine, are harmful to their bodies and adversely affect their health…but, they would never be CAUGHT drinking a glass of wine.
Yes, the bible says that we are NOT to “get drunk with wine”…
Ephesians 5:18 (ESV)
18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,
…getting drunk is a sin and a work of the flesh…
Galatians 5:20-21 (ESV)
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
HOWEVER, there is a huge difference in DRINKING a glass of wine and getting DRUNK with wine.
1 Timothy 5:23 admonishes us that there are health benefits to consuming a LITTLE wine in moderation.
1 Timothy 5:23 English Standard Version (ESV)
23 (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.)
Drinking wine is not a sin, but drinking too much is…
Drinking cola isn’t a sin, but if it’s detrimental to your health, drinking too much is…
Eating candy isn’t a sin, but if it’s detrimental to your health, eating too much is…
Eating is not a sin, but eating too much is…
Philippians 3:19 English Standard Version (ESV)
Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things.
Being at a gathering where there’s wine is not a sin. There was wine at the wedding Jesus attended in Cana recorded in John Chapter 2. It was real wine…not unfermented wine as some try to claim to justify their over zealousness. Wine was a staple in the bible. Jesus was observed consuming wine because they accused Him of being a ‘winebibber’, drunkard and a glutton. (However He did not get drunk)
Matthew 11:19 (ESV)
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.”
Wine was consumed during the Passover Feast…the fact is that when the wine ran out during the wedding, Jesus ‘bought’ the drinks. Jesus didn’t say, they have wine at that wedding party, so I won’t attend, but that’s exactly what many Christians today would say.
Again, I’m not advocating getting drunk. Getting drunk IS a sin. But I am saying that wine, just like many other food and drinks is okay in moderation, and many Christians who ‘trip’ over drinking a glass of wine consume non-alcoholic foods and beverages into their bodies that are harmful or in quantities that are SINFUL.
Remember what the Apostle Paul said…
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.
1 Corinthians 10:23
“All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.
I must be responsible and tell you that if you have a drinking problem, that it’s BEST THAT YOU CONSUME NO WINE, just as if you have an allergy to peanuts it’s best you CONSUME NO PEANUTS. Also, if your drinking wine makes someone in the faith weaker, it’s best that you don’t drink it in their presence. Read Romans 14:13-23 as Paul explains how we must consider those who are weaker in the faith in things that are permissible for us.
The most important thing for us to remember as Christians is MODERATION – ALL THINGS IN MODERATION.
Think about this, God made all of us. We are all His creation. He gave us all strengths, abilities, talents, gifts and virtues to advance His kingdom and to sustain our lives…
2 Peter 1:3 (NKJV)
3 as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
However, if we are born with innate strengths, we are also born with innate weaknesses, inabilities, and vices. No matter how hard we try, there are some things we just can’t do, or naturally can’t help without the help of God or one another.
I think God does this to create interdependence and balance among those created in His image.
Some people are physically stronger than others.
Some people are ‘smarter’ than others in certain areas, but everyone is ‘smart’ in something. For example, some people are great at math, but horrible and writing, and vice versa. (My wife was a math teacher, I used to tease her by saying, ‘get a respectable job’ because math is my weakness, while she’s not fond of writing, and concedes that it’s her weakness.)
Some people are not mechanically inclined and need help screwing in a light bulb, but may be a genius at technology.
Some people are unfortunately born disabled.
Some people naturally have a bad temper that was even evident when they were infants or toddlers. They didn’t ask for it…it’s a weakness.
Some people naturally have trouble managing money and resources, while others are excellent at it.
Some people are born naturally predisposed to get high blood pressure or even born with chronic ailments.
Some people naturally have trouble focusing, which limits their ability to learn.
Some people have an insatiable sexual appetite…like Solomon the son of David and wisest man to ever live (1 Kings 11:1).
Now, I know this is going to mess up some peoples’ theology, but I believe that some people did not ask to be or choose to be attracted to people of his or her own sex. Just because I don’t have that particular weakness, it’s wrong for me to declare, that someone else chose it. It’s a weakness they are ‘born with’; that is no different than a heterosexual person who’s unquenchable sexual desire leads them to be promiscuous…we are all born with weaknesses and lusts that we didn’t ask for (Psalm 51:5).
Some people are naturally flirtatious. Even when they are married the find that they continue to love attention that could lead to emotional and physical intimacy. It doesn’t automatically go away if they get married. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to be married. It doesn’t mean they don’t love their spouse. It just means that they have to depend on God with the help of His Holy Spirit to fight those weaknesses. As much as God can deliver us from our weaknesses, and lusts, He would much rather we deny our flesh out of love for Him and resist our weaknesses…
Matthew 16:24 (NKJV)
24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.
Some weaknesses may never go away, you have to overcome them just like Paul…
2 Corinthians 12:8-10 (NKJV)
8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. ”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
So, here’s the good news. God does not hold us hostage to the weaknesses that He gave us, He just expects us to be responsible with them, which in turn is designed to enhance our relationships with Him.
Whether it be physical, mental or even spiritual God has made provision for our weaknesses through faith and relationship in Him and through His Holy Spirit…
Romans 8:26 (NKJV)
26 Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession [a]for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
When we deny the works of the flesh, which the enemy uses to exploit our weaknesses, we grow stronger and closer to God.
Galatians 5:16-21 (NKJV)
16 I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
God is able snatch us out of the consequences of our bad decisions and weakness, for example someone who is very poor with managing money can be blessed with success beyond their ability or education…even if He connects them with the right people. Or, God is able to pair a person who is ‘sexually weak’ with a spouse strong enough to patiently see them through their weakness with which they sincerely struggle…sometimes for a lifetime. How are you the designated strong person in your various relationships?
But check this out, God is also able to deliver us from the temptation…
2 Peter 2:9 (NKJV)
9 then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment,
But, He would prefer that we resist the enemy and willingly put forth every effort to ‘set aside’ those weaknesses of both FLESH AND SPIRIT that can come between us and Him if we allow them.
2 Corinthians 7:1(NKJV)
7 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
Hebrews 12:1 (NKJV)
12 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
He wants us to do this out of the same love for Him, as we want those we love to choose NOT to do things to hurt us. Not only because of the consequences of losing possibly relationship with us, but out of genuine love, concern and the desire not to hurt us.
God has equipped us to resist the enemy with a promise…
James 4:7 (NKJV)
7 Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
And, given us the tools and resources of prayer and His Holy Spirit to help us, even when we don’t know what to say (Romans 8:26).
God doesn’t hold us hostage to our weakness. He doesn’t condemn us for our weaknesses. He gives us power over them.
8 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who[a] do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be [b]carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the [c]carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. 10 And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
So be responsible with your weaknesses and lusts. Being born with them is not an excuse or necessarily a curse…
So many times we, in the Body of Christ, are very quick to blame God’s wrath and judgement on those who don’t believe and are practicing the works of the flesh. And, God has promised that those who practice the works of the flesh and continue in sin will be ‘dealt with’….
Galatians 5:19-21 (NKJV)
19Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Romans 6:23 (NKJV)
23 For the wages of sin is death, but the [a]gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
However, when you carefully read the word of God, especially in the Old Testament, you will find that God’s judgment on His people was NEVER because of the sin of unbelievers, pagans or heathens…it was ALWAYS because of either THEIR OWN SIN, COMPROMISE, HYPOCRISY and ASSIMILATION or because of the SIN OF THE LEADER (KING).
First of all, remember that every thing that is written in the Old Testament, especially the catastrophic, sometimes unbelievable and admittedly difficult to understand acts of judgment, such as commanding everything alive to be killed, the ground opening up and swallowing entire families, a man being stoned for picking up sticks on the day of rest, and His people being exiled were written for our example…
1 Corinthians 10:11 (NKJV)
11 Now [a]all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our [b]admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.
They were extreme examples to let us know God’s heart. It let us know how much some behavior pissed Him off.
That being said, now read carefully through Judges, 1st & 2nd Kings, 1st & 2nd Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi making a point to notice how God reacts to the behavior of His people.
Yes, God pronounced judgement on pagans, as when He told Israel to destroy Ai in Joshua Chapter 8.
But, notice that Israel suffered drought, famine and exile not because of heathens, but because of their own spiritual adultery. That’s why He made the promise to His people in 2 Chronicles Chapter 7 as a reminder of this…
2 Chronicles 7:13-14 (NKJV)
13 When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among MY PEOPLE, 14 if MY PEOPLE who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Israel and Judah were exiled into Babylon because of their own sin.
The entire nation suffered because of the sins of unrighteous leaders who did not seek Godly counsel nor listen to God. These were Kings who put their trust in the military rather than God…
Psalm 33:16 (NLT)
16 The best-equipped army cannot save a king, nor is great strength enough to save a warrior.
The entire nation of Israel was punished because of leaders who were arrogant, ungodly, unrepentant, and vengeful. They used religion for their own agenda, such as King Jeraboam (Read 1 Kings Chapter 12). Yes, they were ordained by God. Some of them were great builders and had many successful projects, but their arrogance established the culture in the nation and set up His people to sin.
King Herod was very fond of John the Baptist. He loved listening to him and even protected him. He was a great builder and politician, but he was an enemy of Christ.
Mark 6:20 (NKJV)
20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and he protected him. And when he heard him, he [a]did many things, and heard him gladly.
We all know that in 70 A.D. Jerusalem was destroyed. Yeshua even lamented about how He longed to protect HIS own people, but they wouldn’t have His protection…
Matthew 23:37-38 (NKJV)
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate;
So, here is my warning to those inAmerica or any other nation who calls themselves disciples of Christ. I know many Americans fear socialism, illegal immigration, radical muslim influence and the loss of the nation but remember this…
Even though God set the example of allowing violent judgement upon heathens in the Old Testament…
ISRAEL LOST THEIR NATION, WAS EXILED AND THEIR TEMPLE DESTROYED NOT BECAUSE OF SINNERS BUT BECAUSE OF THEIR OWN SIN, COMPROMISE, HYPOCRISY andASSIMILATION or because of the SIN OF THE LEADER (KING).
Please don’t take my word for it. Take your time (because it’s not a one day read or study), pray for wisdom, read and study it for yourself.
Also remember that every prophet called in the Old Testament that had harsh warnings from God had their messages rejected by the people of God.
If my blog blesses you, I gladly accept donations of $2 or less. 1 Corinthians 9:14 (CJB) 14 In the same way, the Lord directed that those who proclaim the Good News should get their living from the Good News.