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A Clear Call To Abstinence

Standing Firm In Christ



1 Peter 4:1-4 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

"The Bible tells us not to get drunk, but never says we cannot drink in moderation."

This is an argument that is used often among professing Christians who want to

a ) justify their own fleshly desire to consume alcohol
b ) justify a family member or friend who consumes alcohol
c ) avoid offending people they don't even know who drink alcohol

In light of the Apostle Peter's words written above, the three main reasons that people argue for "moderation" are totally bogus.

As we examine the verses above, we can come to no other conclusion than that "Christians are to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverage."

1 Peter 4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

In verse 1, we are simply told that because Christ suffered for us in the flesh, we should also suffer in the flesh. This is not speaking of persecutions from outside sources. It is speaking of the Christian giving up fleshly lusts. The next verse affirms that is what the Apostle was trying to convey to the reader.

1 Peter 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

We are not to seek to fulfill our own desires, but like Christ, we should have the attitude, "Not my will, but Thine."

John the Baptist preached the same message when he said, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

We are to yield our bodies and our will to His will for us instead of seeking our own.

1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

In verse 3, the Apostle Peter makes it clear that the the consumption of alcoholic beverage was not a Christian practice. It was named among the Gentiles. Peter said that in his past, (that is, before he was converted) he, and others participated in getting drunk, had pleasure in sinful immorality, drank at social gatherings, fought, and yes, even was guilty of idolatry.

The word translated "lasciviousness" is defined as unbridled lust. If some of those Jews of whom Peter was speaking desired something that was sinful, they did not hold back. They went for it. We are not told exactly what those "unbridled lusts were, only that they had such rebellious spirits that they gave in to those lusts.

"Excess of wine" refers to drinking alcohol in great quantities. In other words, prior to their conversion some were drunkards. They walked in excess of wine... it was like a lifestyle for them.

"Revellings" refers to riot. Some of these people loved to fight, possibly because of their drunken spells

Proverbs 23:34-35 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. 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.

And yet, even though drunken stupors caused them to riot, they continued to walk in revellings... until their conversion.
"Banquetings" refers to social drinking; i.e., having a glass of wine or a bottle of beer with some friends. Some of these men chose social drinking as a way of life.

Proverbs 23:20 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh:
The wise king Solomon warned his son not to be among winebibbers. And for good reason, "Evil communication corrupt good manners." So many today see no prOBlem with having a Bud with a friend. Yet, in reality, they are sending a message to their friend that it is OK to drink alcohol when the Bible clearly tells the Christian to abstain.

Albert Barnes says of the phrase "excess of wine":
The word here used (oinophlugia) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It properly means overflowing of wine, (oinos, wine, and phluo, to overflow;) then wine-drinking; drunkenness. That this was a common vice need not be proved. Multitudes of those who became Christians had been drunkards, for intemperance abounded in all the heathen world. It should not be inferred here from the English translation, ^excess of wine,' that wine is improper only when used to excess, or that the moderate use of wine is proper. Whatever may be true on that point, nothing can be determined in regard to it from the use of this word. The apostle had his eye on one thing-on such a use of wine as led to intoxication; such as they had indulged in before their conversion. About the impropriety of that, there could be no doubt. Whether any use of wine, by Christians or other persons, was lawful, was another question. It should be added, moreover, that the phrase ^excess of wine' does not precisely convey the meaning of the origi­nal. The word excess would naturally imply something more than was needful; or something beyond the proper limit or measure; but no such idea is in the original word.

ROBinson's Lexicon of the New Testament defines the phrase "excess of wine" as:
wine-drinking, drunkenness, vinolency.

Again, we look to Albert Barnes' commentary for his comments on the word "banquetings.":

The word here used (potos) occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It means properly drinking; an act of drinking; then a drinking bout; drinking together. The thing forbidden by it is an assembling together for the purpose of drinking. There is nothing in this word refer­ring to eating, or to banqueting, as the term is now commonly employed. The idea in the passage is, that it is improper for Christians to meet together for the pur­pose of drinking-as wine, toasts, &c. The prohibition would apply to all those assemblages where this is understood to be the main OBject. It would forbid, there­fore, an attendance on all those celebrations in which drinking toasts is understood to be an essential part of the festivities, and all those where hilarity and joy fullness are sought to be produced by the intoxicating bowl. Such are not proper places for Christians.

1 Peter 4:3 clearly speaks for itself. By the very definition of the word "banquetings", it is impossible for Christians to justify the use of alcoholic beverages, a practice which the Word of God associates with those who know not Christ.

But after coming to faith in Christ, there ought to be a noticeable change. We are in the world, but not of the world. We are now to Walk in the Spirit; let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, etc.. And those Peter was addressing in the first few verses of his first epistle, chapter four clearly show that "those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh and the affections thereof." Peter included himself when he declared "For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles,"... but that was in the past.
In conclusion, we see that the man who does not know God seeks to satisfy his own sinful appetites. But the Christian who has the mind of Christ seeks to walk contrary to the lusts of the flesh. The Christian does not live to gratify fleshly desires, but to accomplish the will of his Father in heaven.

Since the Apostle Peter reveals in verse 3 that we just examined that alcoholic beverages are condemned, no one can deny that this is one of the lusts of the flesh referred to here. Therefore when Peter earlier stated in 1 Peter 2:11, "abstain from fleshy lusts, which war against the soul," alcoholic beverages was one of the things that Peter told his readers to abstain from.


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