Is Drinking Alcohol a Sin?

Desiring God | 7/17/2019 | John Piper
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Here we are at episode 200 in the Ask Pastor John podcast series — what grace, what kindness from the Lord, to have shown such favor on this little podcast! And episode 200 is appropriately epic. It’s a question we get all the time, weekly, from listeners who send us emails. And here it is: Pastor John, is drinking alcohol a sin?

Let me start by putting my biases on the table — my background, my biases, because everybody is influenced by their family and experiences they have had. I am a default teetotaler. And what that means is if I have my choice, I don’t drink alcohol, but I might, to be a good guest.

Words - Experience - Freedom - Christ - Germany

In other words, that is my little experience of freedom in Christ. In Germany, I am not going to make a pain of myself. If they put something on the table, I am going to do my best to manage it — to honor them — as a guest. I want to let love be the guide, and love inclines me away from alcohol in our day. But here is the nuanced answer and a little bit of why I have chosen this path for myself and why I don’t make it a requirement for everybody.

The first answer that I would give to the question “Is it a sin to drink alcohol?” is the same answer I give to the question “Is it a sin to drink water?” And the answer is: it could be. Drinking water when you should be giving a glass to someone else in need — that is sin. Drinking water when you should be paying more reverence to the preaching of God’s word — that is a sin. Drinking water when someone just warned you it is contaminated; it might kill...
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