What did Jesus Himself say about “addiction” and “alcoholism”?

Anyone who thinks drinking alcohol to excess and becoming intoxicated is NOT a sin is unbiblical and thinking more like Satan and this world’s system than like Christ. “But we have the mind of Christ” says I Corinthians 2:16 and that is referring to born-again believers!

The Bible knows nothing of the concept of “addiction” and “alcoholism” as a “disease.” For example, in I Corinthians 15:34, it says: “Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.” Other places of the Bible mention “drunkenness” as a sin, too, like Proverbs 23:29-35, Galatians 5:21, Ephesians 5:18, I Peter 4:3, and many other places.

In fact, the Bible knows nothing about “addiction” or “alcoholism” because they are not biblical concepts. These words are new to our English vocabulary dating back to the 1930′s. The concepts are new inventions just like cell phones and IPODs and the like!

So what are we to do when we struggle with an addiction? To what book do we turn? “Not to the Bible,” many people say, “because the Bible doesn’t say anything about alcoholism or addiction! It is a book that doesn’t speak to that issue!” But, oh, how wrong those people are! And how they are held captive to the world’s thinking rather than experiencing the freedom of Christ for this sin problem that Jesus died to erase! Freedom awaits but not to those who insist that this problem is a disease for which man is NOT responsible!

The reason the Bible doesn’t speak to “alcoholism” or “addiction” is primarily because those concepts are man-made, new ideas that contradict the Word of God. Colossians 2:8 warns believers: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.” Are you being held captive by the empty deceit and human traditions of the spirits (demons) of this world by NOT turning to the Bible for real answers?

Christ has the answers. In fact, He Himself only spoke of “addiction” and “alcoholism” as a SIN issue not a disease. He knew no other way to address the issue because He only spoke truthfully and not in lies. For example, in Matthew 11:19, Jesus said: “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.” In other words, they were calling Jesus, The Son of Man, a SINNER not an alcoholics anonymous alcoholic with some sort of man-made disease! They were calling Him a drunk who was in sin! Yet we know that their accusations were untrue!

Matt. 24:49, Luke 7:34, and Luke 21:34 are other times when Jesus Himself mentioned the problem of drunkenness and drunkards – all indicating this is a SIN issue, not a disease!

Oh, and it’s not a SIN-DISEASE as some are trying to popularize. The two ideas are incompatible since sin is within and a disease comes from without in terms of who is to blame. No one is to blame for their disease – it’s not their fault! But everyone is to blame for their sinful choices – it is their fault! Sin and disease have differing points of origin whereby “disease” excuses mankind from responsibility and accountability to God while “sin” places the blame squarely on the shoulders of mankind who is accountable to God.

The good news is that Jesus came to die for SINNERS who confess their sin and forsake it (Proverbs 28:13) asking for His forgiveness since their sin has offended a Holy God! That is real hope.

So let me encourage you to be like Jesus. What would Jesus do? used to be a very popular phrase but in this case, we can change it to: “What did Jesus say?” Clearly, Jesus said it was a sin issue so you should, too.

-Mark (thankful to know the truth straight from the most compassionate Person who ever lived, Jesus Christ)

All verses taken from the  The Holy Bible : English Standard Version., (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001).

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