Jesus said, not what goes into the mouth defiles a man. Are addictive substances OK?

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Jesus said, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man” (Matthew 15:11).

The subject in Matthew 15:1-20 is on eating without first washing the hands (verse 2). The focus is not on eating, but on washing. The scribes taught that eating any food without a special ceremonial washing defiled the eater. Jesus said the ceremonial washings were meaningless as far as cleansing the heart from evil. In verse 19, Jesus listed certain evils–murders, adulteries, thefts, etc. Then He concluded, “These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man” (Verse 20).

The Bible is very clear that believers should not use any harmful substances in their bodies “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:16, 17). And they are commanded to not allow their bodies to be “mastered” by any addictive substance (1 Corinthians 6:12; 2 Peter 2:19). The truth is no one can wholeheartedly serve two masters (Matthew 6:24; Luke 16:13).

The Bible also clearly warns us from using alcoholic drinks in all its forms: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise” (Proverbs 20:1); “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder” (Proverbs 23:31, 32); “Neither fornicators … nor drunkards … shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10); “For if they drink, they may forget the law” (Proverbs 31:5 NLT); “Who has anguish? Who has sorrow? Who is always fighting?  Who is always complaining?  Who has unnecessary bruises?  Who has bloodshot eyes?  It is the one who spends long hours in taverns, trying out new drinks” (Proverbs 23:29-30); “in the end it bites like a poisonous snake; it stings like a viper” (Proverbs 23:32).

The apostles exhorted the believers to remain sober-minded and alert (1 Corinthians 15:34;1 Thessalonians 5:4-8;2 Timothy 4:5;1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:8). In summary, the Bible teaches us that “denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world” (Titus 2:12).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team


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