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LIFE > Life in the World > Drinkers of Wine > Abuse of Wine > Warnings Concerning Eternity


The Old Testament speaks of one who hears the curse against him and then blesses himself saying: “‘I shall have peace, even though I walk in the imagination of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober” (Deut. 29:19). In the context God made a “covenant” and an “oath” with His people, actually a renewal of the Sinai covenant. It involved blessings and curses (28:1-68). It was designed to cause the people to remain faithful to God.

Verse 19 speaks of one who is unfaithful but expects to be accepted. When he hears the curses against himself, he blesses himself. He is deceived and foolish; he is walking in the imagination of his heart. He is thinking: “The drunkard could be included with the sober” (29:19), thinking that he can escape judgment by identifying himself with the righteous. But this cannot be. There is a distinction between “the drunkard” and “the sober.” One is acceptable, the other is not.

The drunkard cannot hide with the sober and think he will not be detected on the Day of Judgment. This is God’s evaluation of the silly thinking and vain words of the unrighteous. The passage teaches that ultimately a separation will be made between the drunkard and the sober. It should be noted that there are other possible Hebrew translations and that this is a difficult statement to translate and interpret (see: Footnote in NGSB).

Isaiah speaks of God’s calling for “weeping and for mourning, for baldness and for girding with sackcloth” (22:15); in other words, there was to be remorse and repentance. But instead there was “joy and gladness”; the people were “eating meat and drinking wine (yayin)” and saying: “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (v. 13). The passion was for temporal pleasures, with no concern for spiritual and eternal matters. Then the “Lord God of hosts” spoke: “Surely for this iniquity there will be no atonement for you, even to your death” (v. 14). The intransigence of such an individual reveals a hardness of heart for which there is no hope. When the call to repentance is unheeded, then the Lord refuses to extend forgiveness. Ignoring the Lord culminates in the first and second death.

Emphatically, the new Testament states that drunkards “will not inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:10). The “kingdom of God” is the abode of the believer in eternity; it is the realm of the saved. The one who is a life-long drunkard, with no repentance and faith, will not be among the redeemed. A continuing lifestyle of drunkenness reveals the absence of grace. Drunkenness is a work of the flesh and “those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19, 21).

The abuse of God’s blessings
does not destroy their use.
Wine is the gift of God.
Charles Bridges

Wine was given by God,
not that we might be drunken,
but that we might be sober.
It is the best medicine when it has the moderation to direct it.
Wine was given to restore the body’s weakness,
not to overturn the soul’s strength.
John Chrysostom

Wine is a mocker,
intoxicating drink arouses brawling,
and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
Prov. 20:1

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