"Sound Doctrine" - (Titus 2:1)

Recreational Drug Use Is Sinful

Bryan Matthew Dockens

Recreational drug use is sinful because it violates the law. Under the current legal code in the United States, the recreational use of narcotics is strictly forbidden. The word of God requires obedience to the law: "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves" (Romans 13:1-2).

Recreational drug use is sinful because it violates self-control. Through the apostle Paul, the Lord commands that we "Walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16), the fruit of which includes "self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Under the influence of drugs, though, self-control is diminished, if not altogether forsaken. One of the mildest drugs available is alcohol, but even its consumption results in the user being unaware of his actions and losing his inhibitions (Proverbs 23:29-35).

Recreational drug use is sinful because it is addictive. All narcotics are addictive, and addiction competes with one's service to God. The apostle Peter wrote, "By whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage" (2 Peter 2:19). And Paul asked rhetorically, "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). We ought to enslave ourselves to God (Romans 6:17, 22), with the understanding that our loyalty must never be divided (Matthew 6:24).

Recreational drug use is sinful because it is harmful to the body. The deleterious effects of narcotics on human health are well documented. Such self-inflicted physical abuse is contrary to God's will insomuch as the apostle Paul wrote, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). The Lord does not accept blemished sacrifices (Malachi 1:14); He demands the best we have to offer. Therefore, deliberate damage to the body is unacceptable. "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom 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).

Recreational drug use is sinful because God prohibits it. Drug use is explicitly forbidden in scripture as behavior that will keep one out of heaven. "Sorcery" is identified as a "work of the flesh" that will prevent entrance into God's kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21), and "sorcerers" are among those destined for hell (Revelation 21:8). The word translated "sorcery" is the Greek word "pharmakeia", from which is derived the word "pharmacy", and "sorcerers" is translated from "pharmakeus" which means "pharmacists" or "druggists". Drugs were used in the deceptive efforts of ancient sorcery, thus the connection. Legitimate pharmacology is not at issue here inasmuch as God allows for the limited use of otherwise restricted substances for strictly medicinal purposes (1 Timothy 5:23). Ordinarily, though, drugs should be off limits.

Helping The New Christian

Terry Bennett

Sam and Joe both have approximately the same talents, skills, and abilities. They start a new job together at the same company doing the same things but working for different managers.

Sam's boss shows him to his office, points to a large pile of manuals on his desk, and says, "Read these. You can figure things out. If you have any questions, call me". Then he walks away, leaving Sam alone to fend for himself.

Joe's boss brings him into the office and introduces him to his new coworkers. He ensures that Joe learns a little about each coworker and vice-versa because he understands that they can help one another succeed. He shows Joe a large pile of manuals and says, "Here are some very important things that you need to know to do your job. I have set up a schedule giving you a recommended sequence of study. Before each section, I have asked one of your coworkers to briefly tell you about what you are about to study. Then, after you have finished reading that section, your coworker will discuss with you what you have learned and answer any questions you might have. They will also point you to coworkers who do a particular task well so you have an example you can see. We are all here to help you do your best. We know that by working closely together and helping one another, we can achieve our common goal".

Who do you think is more likely to be successful - Sam or Joe? Which one is more likely to stay with his job? Can you see a bit of a parallel here with the way that new Christians are sometimes treated? "Read your Bible. It is only about a thousand or so pages long. You can figure it out. If you have any questions, call me." While we may not use these exact words, the effect on a new Christian can be the same if we fail to embrace him. He has just become a new creature in Christ. His past life of sin has been done away (Galatians 6:1-6). He has committed himself to follow God in all things. But can you see the new Christian asking himself, "What does this mean? What should I do in this situation? How do I apply this to my life?" Or perhaps even, "I keep slipping back into some of my old sinful ways. I feel so weak. How can I overcome this?" The new Christian needs the help of those who are more mature in the faith. He should be almost overwhelmed with our assistance rather than left to struggle on his own. He needs our love, our time, our advice, our companionship, our example, our encouragement, our teaching, our prayers. And he needs this throughout each and every week not just on Sundays and Wednesdays. This is not just the duty of the preacher or the elders. Each of us has a responsibility. Can you see the need? Let's work to fill it.

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