The Holy Injil in Modern English

7. What About Alcohol?

What About Alcohol? Is That Forbidden?

If alcohol is inherently sinful, then we all have a problem. It's a well-known medical fact that microorganisms in the human digestive system turn some of our food into alcohol—the equivalent of two glasses of wine a day. So we all have some alcohol in our blood all the time. In response to that, someone might claim that the body's internal functions are irrelevant, and that only our purposeful actions matter. There's some truth to that, but when it comes to alcohol, the Holy Scriptures are somewhere in the middle.

On the positive side, Isa himself miraculously turned water into wine at a wedding celebration (John 2:1-11). He would never have done so if alcohol were a sinful substance never to be consumed. Alcohol acts as a preservative, so wine is to fruit juice as yoghurt or cheese is to milk.

However, as with food, moderation is essential. The Holy Scriptures are clearly opposed to both drunkenness and gluttony. What's more, it may be that the unique physical nature of some people predisposes them to intoxication, just like some people are predisposed to gaining excess weight. Each of those two groups should be careful. We cannot live without food, but we can live without drinking alcohol. Others refrain from alcohol as an example of self-control. But whether we drink moderately or abstain entirely, we should not be proud. Personal desires are secondary. Primary should be our desire to glorify Allah and demonstrate his love for others. As Paul said:

So then, when you eat, drink, or whatever you do, do it all to glorify Allah. Don't carelessly offend Jews, non-Jews, or Allah's followers. I myself try to be acceptable to everyone in every way. I don't seek what benefits me but what benefits many others, that they might be saved. Imitate me, just as I imitate al-Masih. (1 Corinthians 10:31–11:1)

We might note two additional admonitions given by Paul:

Do not get drunk with wine, for that leads to recklessness. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, sharing psalms, hymns, and holy songs with one another, singing praises in your hearts to the Lord, and giving thanks always to Allah our heavenly Father in the name of our Lord Isa al-Masih. (Ephesians 5:18-20)

… to Timothy, my genuine child in the faith. … Stop drinking just water, but use a little wine for your digestion and your frequent illnesses. (1 Timothy 1:2; 5:23, NET)

Finally, we should note the words of Isa:

… the mouth speaks about whatever fills the heart. A good person brings out good from the good stored within, and an evil person brings out evil from the evil stored within. Listen to me, on the Day of Judgment people will give an account for every useless thing they have said. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:34-37)

So we see that what comes out of our mouths is of far greater importance than what goes in.

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