Why did God allow people to drink alcohol in the ancient days?

Although God clearly showed that He didn’t approve the use of alcohol, He often “winked” in ancient times at the “ignorance” of His children regarding this issue. The “times of ignorance God overlooked” (Acts 17:30a).

The dangers of having alcoholic drinks were clearly pointed out in the Old Testament and people were advised not to partake of it (Prov. 20:1; 23:29–33). And a curse was announced upon those who lured others to overindulgence in drink (Hab. 2:15)

Ultimately, the time comes when, God “commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30 b). Then those who insist in their way in spite of His advice, no longer have a “excuse for their sin” (John 15:22). Before that time “they had not had sin” and God did not hold them wholly responsible, even though their actions were less than the ideal.

God’s patience was given to all who “know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) because they did it without knowledge of the truth. This is similar to what Paul did before his conversion. For he persecuted the church “ignorantly in unbelief.” Therefore, the people who commit these sins can receive forgiveness (1 Tim. 1:13).

In a similar manner in the early days, God permitted the Israelites to have slaves, but protected the slaves against all injustice (Ex. 21:16, 20). Even in the apostolic church slavery was not immediately eradicated, but masters were taught to be merciful with their slaves (Eph. 6:9; Col. 4:1).

Unfortunately, people often use alcohol to feel braver, stronger, wiser, and more articulate. But as they drink more, objective tests show that they become slower, less efficient, less focused, and less intelligible in thought and speech. People think alcoholic drinks are harmless but their addictive properties make them victims (Isa. 28:7; Eph. 5:18).

Under inspiration, Paul sets the ideal by stating, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor. 10:31). And he warns that God will destroy those who defile their bodies (1 Cor. 3:16, 17) with Alcoholic drinks. And he added that drunkards shall not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6:9, 10).

Today, Jesus wants to give all people abundant life. He said, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10). And physical life is regarded abundant only when the body is taken good care of and is in perfect health.

Is drinking alcohol a sin?

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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