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Let’s start by stating very factually and biblically: drinking alcohol is not condemned or identified as a sin in the Bible. I have no condemnation for anyone who chooses to exercise their liberties in Christ by enjoying a glass of wine or a beer now and then. No, my purpose is to urge you to see just how unwise drinking alcohol can be.

Is drinking alcohol a sin? The answer is an unequivocal “no.”

Shift gears a little and consider a different, more refined question. Let’s ask this instead, “is drinking alcohol wise”? While there may be heated debates on the answer, I suggest that although it may not be a direct sin, it is very unwise to drink alcohol, especially for those who are leading God’s Church.

By the way, many things in life are not sins but are very unwise to do. It isn’t very smart to play basketball on the highway. It’s foolish to rub poison ivy all over your body. It’s unwise to run with scissors in your hands. You make these decisions in wisdom all the time. We call this ‘exercising our liberties in Christ.’

Proverbs 31:4 (NKJV) “It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink;”

If you were able to interview Noah, he would agree that even one drink of alcohol can lead to disaster. It wrecked his family. It was unwise for him to start drinking alcohol. You’ll recall after exiting the ark with his family; the Bible says Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard. So far, so good. Farming is a noble profession, and Noah was wise in beginning this new career or hobby. The next thing we read is that Noah began to drink, again not a sin, but a very unwise decision because the next thing we read about Noah is that he became drunk in his drinking. In his drunkenness, he failed miserably as a man of God, husband, and father. Yes “that Noah” sinned greatly because of alcohol. Noah, the man who found grace in a graceless world. Noah, the man who lived obediently against all the odds. Noah, the man who raised his family righteously. Noah, walked with God. Noah, that man that was blameless, upright, and a preacher of righteousness. Noah sinned greatly because of alcohol. It can happen to anyone who chooses to take the first drink. Why should you avoid drinking altogether? Because alcohol can wreck your life and the lives of those who love you. 

Genesis 9:20–21 (NKJV) “And Noah began to be a farmer, and he planted a vineyard. Then he drank of the wine and was drunk, and became uncovered in his tent.”

There is a vital pathway of sin here related to alcohol that is essential to see. The sin of drunkenness can only happen one way, after the first drink. It can’t happen any other way. Drunkenness must be preceded by the first drink, always and every time. If you don’t want to participate in the sin of drunkenness, a wise decision is to not drink at all. You don’t have to plant a vineyard to get drunk. You don’t have to be a farmer to get drunk. But you do have to take the first drink.

Because of my testimony of alcohol and drunkenness before I was born again, many say “well Ed that’s your problem. I don’t have the same problems. I can handle my alcohol.” Ok, that may be true on many levels. However which one of your kids or friends or co-workers can’t handle their alcohol? Your influence on their lives matters!  Pastor Chuck Smith taught us that ‘using our liberties in such a way that brings you under bondage is foolishness.” I agree!

I will beg you not to drink at all from this day until I meet Jesus face to face. Do not take the first drink. Do not flaunt your liberties. I know it’s not a sin. I am not rewriting the Bible. I’m warning you that it’s not wise. It’s often not a good testimony. It’s often not a good witness. It’s not even necessary for life. Drinking alcohol leads to so much difficulty and pain. Did you know that in 2018 alone, 36,835 people lost their lives to drunk drivers? According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, from 2006 to 2015, alcohol-related emergency room visits increased by 50%. It’s undisputed that alcohol destroys lives.

Noah’s failure reveals a stern warning to all of us. There is always an “and” after drunkenness. They always go together. Then he drank the wine and was drunk and became uncovered in his tent. It doesn’t end with drunkenness.  Noah’s drunkenness led to a weird nakedness and perversity in his tent.

The first mention of wine in the Bible directly connects with sin and weird sinful behavior. This is no coincidence. Drunkenness always has an “and.” Sometimes it ends with a close call. Sometimes it ends with a vehicle crash. Sometimes it ends with losing your family. Sometimes it ends with jail. Sometimes it ends with losing your ministry. Sometimes it ends in shame and disaster.

I anticipate the many arguments arising from an article like this. “I’ve never been drunk in my life.” “I only have a glass of wine with dinner.” “You’re exaggerating Ed because of your past.” “Don’t project those things on me.” There are many more but they miss the mark. I don’t want to argue with you. I want to warn you!

I’m just asking you to reconsider your view on this liberty of drinking alcohol. It’s not wise. It can lead to drunkenness. It’s wrecked many lives. Ask anyone who has been delivered from alcohol abuse, and they will tell you they are grateful! They are thankful for a pastor to look them in the eye and say he doesn’t drink because of his love for them.

Alcohol is so often a place people run to in times of difficulty and tragedy. It’s a very socially acceptable coping mechanism, especially when you’re down and discouraged. But alcohol will work against you when you’re down and discouraged because, technically, alcohol is a depressant. So if you turn to it to wind down or in a depressing, difficult situation, it will only ruin things. It will make things worse and eliminate many of your inhibitions. It will wear down your ability to think. It will make things foggy and hard to understand. Even our secular society warns against drinking and driving, drinking and operating heavy machinery, drinking and watching your kids! There are just things you should avoid for your good and the good of society.

I’m writing to you today asking you to live your life with a sense of holiness and reverence for God. I am not judging you for using your liberties in areas where there is no sin. I am warning you against the dangers of such decisions related to alcohol.

Drinking. Drunkenness. And.

Drunkenness always comes with an “and.” Drunkenness can never happen without the first drink.

Don’t compromise. Don’t allow the enemy to take advantage of you. Look what happened with Noah. Righteous Noah entered into horrific sin because of alcohol.

Recieve this note and pray over it as coming from a man who regrets taking the first drink. I wish I had never done that. Ever.

Proverbs 20:1 (NKJV) “Wine is a mocker, Strong drink is a brawler, And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.”

Proverbs 21:17 (NKJV) “He who loves pleasure will be a poor man; He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.”

Proverbs 22:20–21 (NKJV) “Have I not written to you excellent things Of counsels and knowledge, That I may make you know the certainty of the words of truth, That you may answer words of truth To those who send to you?”

Isaiah 5:11 (NKJV) “Woe to those who rise early in the morning, That they may follow intoxicating drink; Who continue until night, till wine inflames them!”

Isaiah 5:22 (NKJV) “Woe to men mighty at drinking wine, Woe to men valiant for mixing intoxicating drink,”

Habakkuk 2:15 (NKJV) “Woe to him who gives drink to his neighbor, Pressing him to your bottle, Even to make him drunk, That you may look on his nakedness!”

Luke 21:34 (NKJV) “But take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you unexpectedly.”

John 8:36 (NKJV) “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Romans 13:13–14 (NKJV) “Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

1 Corinthians 5:11 (NKJV) “But now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother, who is sexually immoral, or covetous, or an idolater, or a reviler, or a drunkard, or an extortioner—not even to eat with such a person.”

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV) “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 (NKJV) “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Galatians 5:18–21 (NKJV) “But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, 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.”

1 Timothy 3:8–9 (NKJV) “Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money, holding the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.”

Titus 2:11–14 (NKJV) “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”


  • Dianne says:

    Thank you, Pastor Ed.

  • Susan says:

    Thank you for writing this! While I have grace about alcohol I have noticed an alarming trend within the church. So many people who identify as Christian now flaunt their drinking on social media as to show their “freedom”. Even my childhood church’s missionary family posts their visits to wine bars on their Instagram. I know that would hurt and offend the elderly church members who continue to faithfully support them if they saw those photos.

    Drinking alcohol isn’t a sin but it often can be a snare. And not drinking is a way to visibly set ourselves apart from the world. My college son doesn’t drink and that has surprisingly opened doors for him to share his faith.

    We must consider the consequences of our liberties if we truly are seeking to glorify God in all we do.

  • Bill Jamison says:

    Ed, you are spot on with your message. As one who by the grace of God is here today inspite of my alcohol abuse, I know every word you shared is true and full of compassion. I pray this blog will touch the hearts of many to renew a right relationship with Jesus.

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