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What Does the Bible Say About..Addiction and Moderation?

Please lend way to helping me find scriptures that counsel on chemical addictions (vices) such as nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. These substances are derived from the plant life that GOD in Genesis allows us to consume in moderation. Do these substances know moderation? It seems that with all the bodily harm and death these substances cause are they the master of us? Are they healthy to consume in moderation?

Christians who use these addictions in moderation; what happens when they die? Do they get away with it?


I have written about scriptures related to overcoming addiction at What Does the Bible Say About..Addiction.

You point out that these substances are created by God. That is true. They also were created for a reason, and have valuable uses. The problems come when we abuse them, rather than use them as they were intended. For instance, opiates have value to ease pain from injury, but when we drive while using them (or other depressants such as alcohol) our reactions are slowed and we are more likely to cause an accident instead.

Do these substances master us? The answer is yes, and no. They are things. They may master us, but only if we allow it. "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" (Romans 6:16) We decide whether they master us or not. "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Can these substances be used in moderation? Possibly, if it is possible. Some substances are so highly addictive that "moderation" is virtually none at all. Others, such as caffeine, are so mildly addictive to many that frequent use is not damaging. On the other hand, until one gets addicted it is usually impossible to determine what is an acceptable level of "moderation." With many you don't know what is moderate until you have passed it.

Finally, you ask whether Christians who die while using these substances in moderation "get away with it." It is not a matter of getting away with anything, or it is a matter of getting away with everything. I mean, we are sinners. Any sin results in death. "Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." (James 1:15) Therefore, we all deserve punishment. If we are Christians we are forgiven. It's not a question of "getting away" with any one thing, but having the fine paid for everything. "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." (1 John 1:7) If, on the other hand, we continue to walk in sin then that blood no longer cleans us from sin. If we choose not to obey God, we choose not to live with God.