By Ron Halbrook
After getting out of our car at a shopping center recently, we noticed two items on the seat in the car next to ours. One was a beer bottle. The other a baby doll. This sad sight symbolizes the home training many children are getting in our country these days. Such is expected among those who are so craving the pleasures of this life that they have no room in their hearts nor time in their lives to “hunger and thirst after righteousness.” Those who do not expose themselves to God’s Word cannot be expected to live by it.
But it is tragically true that more and more of God’s people are compromising with such sin these days. We have known of Bible class teachers who kept beer in the refrigerator. Not long ago a preacher, whose influence is widely known among churches of Christ, told of a new convert inquiring of him concerning the use of beer. It seems the man had grown up in a home where intoxicants were freely used, so the preacher told him it would be alright for him to continue to have his beer from time to time! It does not take long to see how much teaching is neeaed when brethren are excusing a little gambling, a little mixed-swimming-in-scant-clothing, a little dancing, and a little drinking. As old Brother Tant used to say, “BRETHREN, WE ARE DRIFTING!”
Much can be said about the social, economic, and political effects of intoxicants. The intoxicated man sometimes hurts himself, or imagines great offences to be committed against him by his friends and family, and often makes of himself a laughingstock (Prov. 23:29ff). The man he sees in the mirror is a fool, a fool who has confused and deceived himself by reaching for that which he imagines to be his friend. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Prov. 20:1).
A comedian said there are no “inebriated souls; only the housing is stoned.” To the contrary, the soul itself is charmed, confused, deceived, and damaged by the use of intoxicants (though it is true the outward effects are the most readily, noticeable). And the damage to the soul occurs even when no obvious damage is done to the body! Therein lies the fallacy of compromise with the idea of using just a little intoxicants.
1 Pet. 4:3 warns against (1) “excess of wine,” or debauched drunkenness; (2) “revellings,” or merrymaking with the aid and stimulation of intoxication; (3) “banquetings,” or sipping intoxicants in a way not “excessive” (see Trench’s Synonyms of the New Testament). What of you and your house (Josh. 24:15)?
Truth Magazine XXI: 7, p. 101
February 17, 1977