Showing items filed under “February 2019”
in CCQs

Alcohol and the Christian

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Do you drink alcoholic beverages? Why or why not? Just curious as to another believer's perspective!

Undoubtedly, Christians of all stripes deal with questions relating to alcohol. Some churches deal more strictly with alcohol than others, everything from "Use it as you please," to "You are going to hell for the sin of drunkenness for drinking at all." Both extremes seem to have warrant, but neither perspective gets it right.

The Bible addresses wine and drinking alcohol in both testaments. With an examination of the teaching of Scripture, one thing is certain: alcohol is a blessing that can become a curse.

Scripture speaks of alcohol, specifically wine, as a blessing from God and a symbol of abundance to make "man's heart glad" (Ps 104:15; Ecc 10:19; Is 55:11; Zech 10:7). More precisely, wine is to remind God's people of God's provision in their lives (1 Cor 11:17-32), and of their eternal destination with him forever (Is 25:6-8; Amos 9:13; Rev. 19:6-10). Clearly, wine symbolizes the blessing of God.

However, the Bible also speaks to the misuse of alcohol or wine (Is 5:11, 28:1-7; Titus 2:3). Ephesians 5:18 says, "do not get drunk with wine...but be filled with the Spirit" (ESV). This single verse strikes a balance between the extremes and provides us with guidance on how we approach alcohol. Paul summarizes the biblical warnings stating that believers should not be drunk or filled with wine (or anything that may alter your judgment) to the point of drunkenness because it is "debauchery," or more fundamentally, a waste of life. He offers the godly alternative, be filled with the Spirit so you may glorify God in all you do and build up the church (Eph 5:18-21). Essentially, do not waste God's blessings, but glorify God and build his church.

One other thing worth noting, Christians have the responsibility to abide by the law of the land (Rom 13). Thus, no underage drinking is ever acceptable in Florida (i.e., where we live), culinary school and communion being the only exceptions.

With Scripture’s wisdom we can ask two questions: is it a sin to consume alcohol? No. Is it a sin to drink alcohol at the expense of your Christian witness and responsibility, being filled with the Spirit? Yes.

So, how should a Christian think about alcohol?

Taking all of the above into consideration here are two different perspectives on alcohol from our staff.

Perspective #1  -  Growing up I saw the destruction alcohol can cause in relationships and one’s life. Once I became a believer, I read Scripture’s warning against drunkenness and the inability to distinguish the holy from the common that followed men in scripture who chose not to heed its warnings. In light of this, for a really long time, I decided not to drink.

It wasn’t until the Lord brought believers into my life who didn’t use alcohol in a toxic way that I began to see how when used responsibly it can be a part of a moment of celebration and joy. So yes, I will occasionally drink with limits on how much I have. I believe that we should never allow ourselves to be so consumed with alcohol that it leads to drunkenness. Also, as a Christ follower, I shouldn’t allow alcohol to control my words or my actions because these are used in submission to Christ.

Perspective #2  -  My relationship with alcohol is a complicated one. I believe Scripture teaches that alcohol is a sign of God’s blessing and even a gift when used in moderation and in accordance with the laws of the land. Even still, I’ve chosen not to drink. At first, this was born out of the way that I saw substances negatively affect my friends. But as I’ve grown older, and reflected on what the Bible teaches my reasons for why I abstain have changed, even though my position hasn’t.

My decision not to drink is rooted in two things: Scripture’s serious warning against drunkenness, and my own admitted weakness when it comes to moderation. I know myself well enough to be aware that I’m not particularly good at moderating, and I recognize that alcohol used to excess draws harsh warnings from scripture. With those things in mind, I’ve chosen not to open the door to the possibility of drunkenness in my life. Even with my own position, I recognize that this is not a matter of, “sin or not” but rather a matter of Christian wisdom. For me drinking would be unwise, and yet I abstain personally while recognizing that this standard may not apply to the brother and sister who is able to enjoy this gift within the Bible’s parameters.


As we consider these testimonies, we can note the biblical nature of both positions. The first in good conscience drinks in moderation with an eye toward pleasing the Lord. The other abstains because of their understanding of their personality. Both seek to live in submission to the Lord and be filled with the Spirit.

Another point to consider, alcohol is not like most addictive things; it is much more potent. For instance, biting your fingernails will not lead to death in most situations, but the misuse and abuse of alcohol can and has led to the destruction of many lives. This begs the question, should you partake in drinking alcohol? Or, is it wise, or unwise?

So, as with all blessings from God, alcohol can be misused and abused to the point of destruction. Alcohol is a blessing, a gift from God, that when misused can become sinful and even a curse.

In summary, to quote Joe Thorn, “One can drink to the glory of God, while another can abstain for the glory of God.”

Resources to consult:

in CCQs

Assurance of Salvation

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I have often thought myself a believer, however, I have recently heard there are many things I should be feeling in my heart that I don’t. Since I’m not sure, if I’ve ever felt this heart change, am I truly saved?

When I was in elementary school, the Left Behind books hit the evangelical world like a hurricane. Growing up going to a private Christian school, I was always surrounded by people reading the New York Times bestsellers. Those books along with more kid-friendly, “Junior Novelizations,” described people who were roughly my age living through the rapture and the tribulation. What most haunted me about those books was the fact that many of the characters thought they were Christians only to find out when Jesus came back that they actually weren’t. So began my great childhood phobia of finding out that I wasn’t really a Christian because I was left behind.

I really empathize with this question, because it’s so similar to the one I asked myself every time my teachers showed the Kirk Cameron movie adaptations in my elementary school class:

How do I know that I’m really saved?

Right up front, I want to affirm the goodness of this question. The very fact that someone is troubled about their salvation is a sure sign that they take these issues seriously. I am far more concerned for the person who never grapples with this issue rather than the one who occasionally struggles to feel confident in their security. So, the question still remains, how do we know that we’re saved, where do we turn for confidence?

Don Whitney is right to say, “we must begin by looking for assurance in the right places.” As far as the right places go, examining our hearts isn’t necessarily bad. Especially since the role of the Spirit is to convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8-10). When we wonder about our salvation, it’s worth it to ask, “Do I feel convicted about my sin?” That’s not to say that you will always feel this way, or that it may not take time to feel conviction over particular sins. However, we are all growing into the image of Christ, and that takes time, but no conviction at all should give us pause.

On the more positive side, Paul describes for us the fruits of the Spirit, which should accompany our salvation (Galatians 5:22). We should look for these in our life as a sign that the Spirit of Christ is at work sanctifying us. Of course, real fruit does not grow overnight, nor does the fruit of the spirit. So, it’s important to recognize that we may not notice the change that God is working in us if we measure in weeks. Instead, we should seek to discern how God has matured us in these areas over the course of our salvation.

Anyone who’s spent more than five minutes alone with their thoughts knows that feelings are fickle. Scripture teaches that our hearts are deceitful above all things because of the stain of sin. And as we go through different circumstances, how we feel can shift radically from one moment to the next (Jeremiah 17:9). So, if we rely too strongly on how we feel inside, our confidence will be perpetually in flux. In fact, John seems to indicate that we can have confidence in our salvation in spite of our feelings even when our hearts condemn us (1 John 3:20). With that being said, I think we should start somewhere else.

A better place to start is to look outside of ourselves because that’s where redemption originates in the first place. Salvation does not come because we have first loved God, but because God first loved us. Because of that, we look to God’s character rather than our own(1 John 4:10). Doing this we find that, “He who calls you is faithful” and that He has sworn to keep us, “blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).

In Paul’s letter to the Philippians he assures them of something similar, “he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Sam Storms is right to summarize, “God will do whatever it takes to uphold the Philippian's faith in Jesus and you in your faith in Jesus.”

So while reflecting on our sense of conviction, and the fruits of the Spirit are all helpful grounds for assurance, it should never rest solely on those things. If we look for our assurance in our own hearts, and how we feel at any given moment, we will be tossed back and forth.

Look instead to Christ and his character, find the anchor for your soul, and the foundation upon which to build your confidence.

Some further resources to consult:

Sam Storms: Kept for Jesus

Donald Whitney: How Can I Be Sure I’m A Christian



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