1 Peter 2:16
As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God KJV.
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God NASB.
[Live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but [live at all times]
as servants of God AMPLIFIED BIBLE.
In Christ Jesus we have liberty and that liberty is not freedom to sin but freedom to serve Galatians 5:13. We cannot violate the Word of God and claim liberty where the Word of God clearly states a truth or principle. We do not have liberty to disobey God or to indulge the lusts of our flesh. Even where there are no direct commands for or against a certain practice we still must use other Biblical principles in developing our convictions about it. A person’s practice of a liberty would also never give the appearance of evil or be inconsistent with the character of God.
Areas of direct command are those areas that the Scriptures clearly speak to or address. Scriptures usually address these topics with numerous verses or principles that are easily understood. They are clear and repeated in Scripture. Areas of liberty are issues that there is no clear command, verse, or principle for or against. They are usually areas of minor importance. They have no bearing on influencing a person’s eternal salvation.
My personal experiences with those who say it is their conviction that they are allowed to drink as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone, is that they rarely ever look at the verses against both drinking and drunkenness (see the list at end of article) in forming their conviction and ONLY quote the ones that appear on the surface to favor their view. They never develop their conviction from the whole counsel of God’s Word but only from their favorite proof texts. They also ignore most of the admonitions of Romans 14 that deals with what to do when we differ on debatable issues. Romans 14 teaches us to learn to distinguish between matters of direct command in Scripture vs. areas of freedom, on debatable issues to develop our own convictions to ourselves before God, and to allow our brother the freedom to determine his own convictions on debatable issues even when they differ from our own. It also teaches that on debatable issues, to let our liberty be limited, when necessary, by love.
I lost a large group of young members and future leaders in our church who believed the alcohol for Christians issue was only about allowable drinking versus drunkenness. Their view was they could drink as long as they didn’t get drunk but it turned into drinking publicly with no regard for any other truth on the subject, no regard for limiting their liberty by love for their brother, and drunkenness. Their flesh capitalized on their yieldedness to open the door for sin and crossing the line into drunkenness. Most went shipwreck and are no longer serving the Lord.
SCRIPTURES THAT CAUTION CLAIMING A LIBERTY
1 Corinthians 6:12 says, “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient (advantageous; profitable): all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
Have you ever honestly asked yourself if alcohol has and is a power over you? Have you ever examined why you feel you have to have it? Is it really profitable (not how bad is it, but what good is it)?
1 Corinthians 8:9 says, “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to them that are weak. 10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ.
Have you ever had any thought of your weaker brother? Would it cause a weaker brother to stumble?
1 Corinthians 10:29-33 says, “Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man’s conscience? 30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks? 31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: 33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” Is it worth imitating and will it bring glory to God?
Is there any thought that it might give offence to someone? Is it self serving or is there consideration to how it may profit others or add to the salvation of the lost?
SOME NEGATIVE DRINKING, DRUNKENNESS, & ALCOHOL VERSES TO CONSIDER
Genesis 9:20 And Noah began to be an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard: 21 And he drank of the wine, and was drunken; and he was uncovered within his tent.
(If you are familiar with one of the principles of Bible interpretation called the law of first mention it might interest you to know that this is the first mention of drinking and drunkenness and it is a negative one).
Leviticus 10:9 Do not drink wine or strong drink, you or your sons, when you go into the Tent of Meeting, lest you die; it shall be a statute forever in all your generations.
Numbers 6:2 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: 3 He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried.
Deuteronomy 29:5 And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot. 6 Ye have not eaten bread, neither have ye drunk wine or strong drink: that ye might know that I am the Lord your God.
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.
(It doesn’t say drinking is a mocker or drunkenness it says wine is a mocker)
Proverbs 23:20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: 21 For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.
Proverbs 23:29 Who hath woe? who hath sorrow? who hath contentions? who hath babbling? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? 30 They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine. 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright (this is fermented wine that we are being told not to look upon). 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder. 33 Thine eyes shall behold strange women, and thine heart shall utter perverse things. 34 Yea, thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea, or as he that lieth upon the top of a mast. 35 They have stricken me, shalt thou say, and I was not sick; they have beaten me, and I felt it not: when shall I awake? I will seek it yet again.
Proverbs 31:4 It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink: 5 Lest they drink, and forget the law, and pervert the judgment of any of the afflicted.
Isaiah 5:22 Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink:
Isaiah 28:7 But they also have erred through wine, and through strong drink are out of the way; the priest and the prophet have erred through strong drink, they are swallowed up of wine, they are out of the way through strong drink; they err in vision, they stumble in judgment. 8 For all tables are full of vomit and filthiness, so that there is no place clean.
Habakkuk 2:15 Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness!
Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Romans 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
Ephesians 5:18 And be not drunken with wine, wherein is riot, but be filled with the Spirit;
1 Thessalonians 5:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober (nepho-abstain from wine; it is the opposite of intoxication and “every form of fuzziness”). 7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8 But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
Have you really developed your convictions on Biblical principles and honestly considered these things?