Sound Doctrine - Titus 2:1

Thank You For Not Smoking

Bryan Matthew Dockens

The following sets forth legitimate, scriptural reasons why a Christian should not smoke.

Smoking is addictive. The addictive nature of nicotine, a key ingredient in tobacco, has been well documented. If this were not so, no market would exist for products designed to wean smokers from their habits.

Addictions of all kinds are sinful in that they violate the principle of self-control. Self-control is taught to prospective converts (Acts 24:25), and enjoined upon Christians (Galatians 5:22-23). Those who lack this quality are described as blind and forgetful of their salvation (2 Peter 1:5-11). Addicts, including smokers, fit into this category, for they allow themselves to be controlled by a substance beyond themselves.

The apostle Peter informs us, "by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage" (2 Peter 2:19), an apt description of the tobacco habit if ever there was one. Paul asked, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16). Elsewhere, he boldly asserted, "but I will not be brought under the power of any" (1 Corinthians 6:12). Every disciple should have the same resolve.

Smoking is physically harmful. The Surgeon General of the United States, as well as most health experts, attributes these dangers to smoking: emphysema, cancers of the lungs, oral cavity, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, and bladder, heart disease, and birth defects.

While explaining the love a husband must have toward his wife - the woman with whom he has become "one flesh" (Genesis 2:24), and the love Christ has toward the church - "His body" (Colossians 1:18, 24), Paul commented that "no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it" (Ephesians 4:29). In demonstrating utter disregard for their own health, Christians who smoke indicate no basis for understanding marital love or the relationship of Christ to the church.

It is written, "Now the body is... for the Lord" (1 Corinthians 6:13). Filling another's body with poison is usually understood to be evil, but doing so to one's own body is defended on the basis of personal freedom. What those making such a claim fail to realize, however, is that the bodies they occupy are not their own, but God's. "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit in you, which you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). By abusing the body, a Christian disables it for service toward God.

Smoking is wasteful. The price on many brands of cigarettes is $5.19 per pack. The Christian who smokes a pack each day spends $1,894.35 per year on the habit, not including taxes. After taxes, that amounts to over two thousand dollars not contributed to the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 8:12; 9:7), not used to supply the needs of the poor (Ephesians 4:28; Luke 3:11; 1 John 3:17), not invested in a child's future (2 Corinthians 12:14), not even spent on one's own basic needs (1 Timothy 6:8). That's two thousand dollars every year to temporarily satisfy an unnecessary and deadly craving.

Pardon Must Be Accepted

Author Unknown

During the presidency of Andrew Jackson, George Wilson robbed a federal payroll from a train and in the process killed a guard. The court convicted him and sentenced him to hang. Because of public sentiment against capital punishment, however, a movement began to secure a presidential pardon for Wilson, and eventually Jackson intervened with a pardon. Amazingly, Wilson refused it.

Since this had never happened before, the Supreme Court was asked to rule on whether someone could indeed refuse a presidential pardon. Chief Justice John Marshall handed down the court's decision: "A pardon is a parchment whose only value must be determined by the receiver of the pardon. It has no value apart from that which the receiver gives to it. George Wilson has refused to accept the pardon. We cannot conceive why he would do so, but he has. Therefore, George Wilson must die". "Pardon", declared the Supreme Court, "must not only be granted, it must be accepted". George Wilson, as punishment for his crime, was hanged.

Likewise, God, through His mercy, has provided every human being pardon from their sins. However, that pardon must be accepted in the way God has ordained. Those who do not accept the pardon will perish. "And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Revelation 22:17).

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