Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Proverbs 20:1 commentary

1 ¶ Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

There is a principal in the Bible, not a command, but a principle of which Christians should be aware.

Leviticus 10:9 Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations...

The Hebrew priests were not to enter into the presence of God having consumed wine or strong drink. If you are a quibbler who would say, “aha! It doesn’t say beer”, then I am sure you aren’t going to pay any attention to this anyway. Anyway, back to the principle. The Hebrew priests were not to enter into God’s presence having consumed alcoholic beverages.

Now, in the doctrines of grace in the New Testament, for the Christian, the only warnings about alcohol are such, don’t drink wine if it’s going to cause your brother or sister in Christ to stumble (Romans 14:21), don’t be drunk with wine but be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), a bishop (pastor) should not drink wine (1 Timothy 3:2,3; Titus 1:7), deacons and the older women in the church should be moderate drinkers only (1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 2:3), and drunkenness is strictly forbidden to the Christian (Romans 13:13; Galatians 5;21).

Back to the principle to which I was referring. The Hebrew priest was not to enter into the presence of God having consumed wine or strong drink. The Christian is always in the presence of God because he has God’s Spirit, Christ’s Spirit, dwelling in him.

1Corinthians 6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 10 ¶ And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Understand that there were over 50 types of wine in First Century Rome, many of them nothing more than grape juice. I did a study of wine and alcohol for my World History class. There was also medicated wine so using the example of Jesus turning water into wine (Pliny the Naturalist said that good wine was lacking in any potency to drunken) or Paul telling Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach’s sake can easily be countered by those facts. I’m just asking the Christian to pause for a moment. There are many warnings about alcohol from the Old Testament for the Hebrews and I imagine, seeing that so many domestic and social problems have alcohol at the root of them or in some way associated with them they would apply to any time. See Deuteronomy 29:6; Proverbs 31:4,6; Isaiah 5:11, 22; 28:7, 56:12 and others you can find in a concordance referencing wine and strong drink.

When you ask yourself, can I do something, as a Christian you should ask, how does it glorify God, and how does it help my marriage, job, family, or service for Christ. If your only concern is how does it make me happy and can I get away with it then you have a Self worshipping problem. If you spend any amount of time trying to justify a habit like drinking alcohol then you also should question your inner motives.

I personally don’t think there is any justification for a Christian to consume alcoholic beverages. I’m not interested in imposing that on others but I also don’t want to have alcohol imposed on me. If I go to your house and you are drinking it does offend me, if you claim to be a Christian, but I will say nothing. But, do not bring alcohol to my house. Alcoholic beverages are not called spirits for nothing. When you drink alcohol you have another spirit controlling you and it isn’t the Spirit of Christ. Alcohol is a spiritual WD-40. Its only good for loosening things; tongues, clothing, and anger in particular. Before I was saved, and try as I might, I don’t remember anyone talking about Christ over a beer that didn’t seem like a stone, cold fool and hypocrite to my unsaved mind.

Wine mocks and strong drink releases wrath and, Christian, if you think it’s no big deal let’s sit back and take an account of your personal life. I know a few Christian men and women who when they think back on their youth are terribly ashamed and embarrassed by some things they did or allowed to happen while they were drinking alcohol. Beware of the Christian who thinks, I am different. It could never happen to me. I’m too self disciplined. Okay, we’re back on the subject of the scorner and fool again.

The beer or wine or mixed drink in your hand is not going to help you grow in Christ. Ask yourself, how is this glorifying God. How is this making me a better Christian? Don’t think it’s neutral like whether or not you should have pie or ice cream or both for dessert. They don’t alter your mood, dim your sense of responsibility, impair your reflexes, and you can’t get arrested for driving under the influence of apple pie. I’m just asking you to think clearly on this, Christian. You don’t answer to me. Tell Christ why you are justified in drinking alcohol. Give Him your reasons. Be convinced yourself, but beware of what you try to justify in your life for we Christians will all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ one day to give an account of the things done in the body (2 Corinthians 5:10).

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