Very often, I see the same old christian arguments that refer to things as if they are sins, simply because they are things christians haven chosen to classify as sins.
When I was growing up, the most common christian “sins” were things like smoking, drinking, dancing, going to movies, rock and roll music, gambling (actually playing cards themselves), women wearing pants (those who did so at “church” were on the fast track to hell), and even boys and girls swimming together was considered morally questionable in some circles.
Not going to “church” on SUNdays is often called a sin as well. And, that’s wholly ludicrous.
The basis of all these “sins” was exactly what Messiah Yahoshua railed against the Pharisees about, because, you see, while none of those things listed above are defined as “sin” in the scriptures, christians determined that they could lead to sin, or even, that doing those things are part of that which it deemed sinful, so, by their own set of rules, those things themselves got classified as sins.
The Pharisees devised their own set of rules as a way for the Jews not to break the law of Moses. Those rules were supposedly crafted to help make sure the law was obeyed, but the Pharisees started preaching their own rules as the actual law (“teaching as doctrines the traditions of men”). And, that’s precisely the basis of the christian “sins.”
It’s always humorous when christians are informed that their “prince of preachers,” Charles Spurgeon, was an avid cigar smoker. They usually resort to some “it was a different era when he lived” argument, or they say that, even the best among us have flaws.
Or, the hilariously hypocritical rule about going to the theater (only the unsaved would ever be caught there!), which got changed with the advent of the VCR. You see, how absurd was it to preach that going to movies was a sin, when everyone in the “church” was renting those same movies to watch at home?
And, probably the most common christian “sin” of all—drinking alcohol—is defined NOWHERE in scripture as a sin. In fact, to state that drinking alcohol is a sin, one must necessarily accuse Messiah Yahoshua of sinning, for He openly stated that He drank alcohol (Matthew 11:19, Luke 7:34).
The goofy notion that “wine” in the scriptures was just non-fermented grape juice defies all historic and scriptural contexts, but, such contextual perversions are not at all unusual within the teachings of christianity (like lifting certain scriptural passages out of their contexts to falsely suggest that the New Testament believers assembled together each week on SUNday).
No, during both the Old and the New Testaments, the only time non-fermented grape juice was available was at harvest time, as all grape juice either had to be drunk immediately, or it was turned into either vinegar or wine, as fermentation was the natural course that ALL grape juice took. If it was fermented in a sealed container, it became wine; if it was fermented unsealed, it became vinegar. There was no other option available at that point in history.
You can do the same thing at home right now. Take some grape juice, and leave it sitting out in the open for several days, and see what happens to it. There was no man-made refrigeration available when scripture was written.
The era of Prohibition in the U.S., which was spearheaded by fundamentalist christians, linked the notion of drinking with drunkenness, and drunkenness is a sin. By making the pharisaical rule that drinking itself was a sin, because drunkenness is a sin, something Messiah openly stated He did became a christian “sin.” Abstinence became the rule, and scriptural moderation was abolished altogether.
Even today, when I try to explain these things to some christians, they will often be aghast at the very thought that Messiah drank anything that contained alcohol. They don’t understand that fermented wine is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Fermented wine was used in the temple, along with water—both being symbols of the Holy Spirit.
And, as Paul taught, the more wine one drinks, the more it takes control of one’s faculties, just as the more one yields himself to the Holy Spirit, the more governance of one’s flesh is given over to the Spirit. That’s why Paul warned against drinking to the point of drunkenness (“wherein is excess”), for the actual sin of drunkenness is not the drinking itself, but the loss of self-control.
Moreover, at the physical temple in Jerusalem, the priests were prohibited from drinking alcohol during their temple service week, and for a period of 24 hours prior to that temple service. Now, if drinking alcohol itself were a sin, don’t you think that the priests would have been prohibited from drinking it altogether?
We have to make sure that anything we classify as a sin is actually called a sin in scripture. And, where sins of the flesh are concerned, none of them have anything to do with salvation, for salvation is not of the flesh, but of the spirit. Once a believer has been made righteous by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the Father desires His children (those with His Spirit) to sacrifice the flesh and its sins.
Those who do so will receive reward in eternity for it, and those who don’t will not receive reward, but they still have eternal life, because they have been made righteous—they are children of Yah.
Just as it is on earth, some children will be obedient, and some will be disobedient. But, neither obedience nor disobedience of the flesh determines whether one is a child, for such a person has been made righteous by the Holy Spirit, and righteousness is not obtained by works of the flesh, but by belief.
For more information: Did Christ Drink Alcohol?