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Christians and Wine

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Christians and Wine

A glass of fine wine ..a blessing from God..or a curse from the devil?

(Ken Symington is president of Christian Restoration in Ireland)


Christians are often divided over the issue of alcohol

Total abstinence has been linked to Godliness, and those Christians who feel at liberty in Christ to enjoy wine are often made to feel 'ungodly'.

But what does God's word say about wine?

'Go eat your bread with enjoyment, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do' Ecl. 9 7

‘..your kisses are like the best wine that goes down smoothly, gliding over lips and teeth' Song of S. 7 9

‘Thou doest cause the grass to grow for the cattle....and wine to gladden the heart of man..' Psalm 104 14

Most of Jesus' parables were about vineyards. He used wine and wineskins, and vines, and winepresses to illustrate spiritual points. 

His first miracle was turning water into wine. Gallons and gallons of the best wine for a party. 

John the Baptist did not drink wine (Luke 1:15 & 7:33) but Jesus did drink wine, and was even accused of being a drunkard. (Luke 7:34)  

Paul advised Timothy to take a little wine for his stomach.(1 Tim. 5:23.)

Jesus gave wine the highest honour of representing His precious blood during the last supper, and asks His followers to use wine in remembrance of His death until He comes. (Luke 22: 18-20)

In Deuteronomy 14 God tells the Israelites to bring their tithes in to the place of His choosing once a year to rejoice before Him. In His clear instructions He gives them the freedom of choice to spend the money on whatever they want in the way of food and drink. Not only is wine given Yahweh's clearance, but so is 'strong drink'!

“Go to the place which the Lord your God chooses, and spend the money for whatever you desire. Oxen or sheep or wine or strong drink, whatever your appetite craves, and you shall eat there before the Lord your God and rejoice.”

Note that is was alright to drink or not to drink wine or strong drink. It was the individual's choice made before God.

Tony Campolo humorously suggests that we should get T-shirts made declaring 'My God is a party Deity'

(At this point every religious spirit within us will be rapidly rising to the surface!)

Jesus likened the Kingdom of God to a wedding feast or celebration or a wedding party, and He was likening it to a Jewish wedding!. Our solemn piety might leave us feeling a little bit out of place at such a celebration before the Lord.

Wisdom is said to have mixed her wine in furnishing her table (Prov. 9:2). Wine might be drunk with milk (Song 5:1). Melchizedek brought wine and bread to Abraham when Abraham returned from battle (Gen. 14:18). Wine was offered by the old man of Gibeah to the traveling Levite (Judg. 19:19). Jesse sent David with bread, a skin of wine, and a young goat as a present when Saul was fighting the Philistines (1 Sam. 16:20). Abigail brought David two skins of wine (1 Sam. 25:18). Strongholds were supplied with "wine" in case of siege (2 Chron. 11:11)

The tribes of Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali brought wine to David (1 Chr.12-40) when David was made king. Ziba brought David wine as he fled from Abasalom (2 Sam. 16:1–2). Job’s children were drinking wine at their brother’s house when disaster struck (Job 1:13, 18). Wine was on the list of supplies that the Persians furnished the captive Jewish people when they returned to Jerusalem (Ezra 6:9; 7:22). "And whatever they need . . . wheat, salt, wine, and oil according to the request of the priests who are in Jerusalem . . ." (6:9).

Wine was also used as medicine. It was said to revive the faint (2 Sam. 16:2) and was suitable as a sedative for people in distress (Prov. 31:6). Mixed with a drug, it was used to ease suffering (Matt. 27:34; Mark 15:23). The Samaritan poured oil and wine on the wounds of the injured traveler (Luke 10:34).

So quite clearly, unmistakably, scripturally, wine is a good gift from God.  

And if the devil can't counterfeit God's gift, he will encourage its abuse and so bring discredit upon it.

This applies to spiritual gifts as much as to wine.

Paul warns us of deceitful spirits who will.. ‘forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for then it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer, 1 Tim. 4 1-5

However like all of God's blessings, such as wine, and sexuality, we can, through the lusts of the flesh, and the prompting of our adversary, so easily allow the blessing to become a curse.

And so God's word is firm on such abuses.

‘And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery' Eph. 5 18

‘..not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard or robber.' 1 Cor. 5 11

We can eat too much, or debase our God given sexuality and the Bible has many examples and warnings against such behaviour. Never do we contemplate forbidding Godly eating, or Godly lovemaking. Rather we preach wisely against gluttony and we preach forcefully against the wrongful use of our sexuality.

The same principle must be applied to wine. Exactly as God applies it. 

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