Smoking

 

 

The Word of God doesn’t say explicitly that smoking is sin, but it does give directions and principles that can be used as a guide, which lead us to the conclusion that smoking is sin.

Let us examine smoking. Is it necessary? Is it a healthy habit? No, it is neither necessary nor healthy for our body. Paul says: “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful” (1 Corinthians 6:12 – NKJV), and smoking is among the things which are not helpful. But not only it is among the things which are unhelpful, but it is also among the things which are harmful to the human body, for smoking harms smokers (for it causes bad breath, brown stained fingers and nails, it ages the skin prematurely; and causes cancer and emphysema, of which many people die every year). Now, since smoking harms the body, this means that if a believer smokes cigarettes he will destroy or damage the temple of God (because our body is the temple of God) and Paul says that “if anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple” (1 Corinthians 3:17 – NIV). Besides this, smoking harms also other humans if you smoke near others, for it is common knowledge that second-hand smoke harms non-smokers lungs too and cause breathing problems for children. That’s why in this country a few years ago the Government issued a law which forbids smoking in public places (such as offices, restaurants, bars, schools, hospitals). Last but not least, smoking leads smokers to waste much money, and this is not right in the sight of God, for every Christian should spend his money wisely, thus on useful things and not on vain things as smokers do. God warns all those who waste their money saying: “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?” (Isaiah 55:2 – NKJV). That’s why all those who turn to the Lord must quit smoking.

Several years ago the pastor of a Baptist Church during an interview (which was reported by a newspaper) said that according to him smoking a cigarette after a cup of coffee was not a sin. It is most likely that his opinion on smoking was influenced by that of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the well known Baptist preacher who lived in the nineteenth century, who stated (in the autumn of 1874): ‘If anybody can show me in the Bible the command, 'Thou shalt not smoke,' I am ready to keep it; but I haven't found it yet. I find ten commandments, and it's as much as I can do to keep them; and I've no desire to make them into eleven or twelve. ….. I wish to say that I'm not ashamed of anything whatever that I do, and I don't feel that smoking makes me ashamed, and therefore I mean to smoke to the glory of God.’

Unfortunately Charles Spurgeon was deceived by the seeming harmlessness of this sin, that’s why he said those words. We thoroughly disagree with what he said about smoking (unfortunately many Evangelical pastors agree with what he said). Smoking is sin, it is a worldly lust from which a believer must abstain in order to possess his own body in sanctification and honor. Let me make some remarks about the following words of Spurgeon ‘If anybody can show me in the Bible the command, 'Thou shalt not smoke,' I am ready to keep it; but I haven't found it yet,’ for I consider them very pernicious and deceitful. The fact that smoking is not prohibited by an express divine command, does not mean that we are allowed to smoke cigarettes or cigars; just as the fact that gambling is not expressly prohibited by a divine command does not mean that we are allowed to bet on horses or the results of the soccer championship; or just as the fact that the Bible does not expressly forbids us to go to discotheque to dance does not mean that we are allowed to go to this amusement place. For the Bible does not contain the list of all the worldly lusts from which we must abstain. However, the Bible – as I said before - does give directions and principles which help us to understand what God does not want us to do. You may ask me then, ‘How can you affirm that a certain habit or behaviour, which is not expressly prohibited by the Bible, is a worldly lust or a fleshly lust and thus is wrong?’ Well, by observing and examining the effects which that behaviour or habit has on people. Now, ‘Are the effects of smoking, gambling and dancing, good effects?’ No, they aren’t, rather they are very harmful (for smoking damages the body of smokers and leads them to waste money; gambling creates a lust for riches and encourages covetousness; and dancing promotes lust and sensuality). A tree is known by its fruit, isn’t it? So we judge a person by his fruits, and not by his leaves, don’t we? Likewise, we judge a certain habit or behaviour, which is not mentioned in the Bible, by the effects it has on people. Thus, if a certain habit or behaviour damages somehow our body or leads us to waste our time and money or tends to make us become violent or sensual or spiritually idle or unfruitful, etc. we regard it as a bad habit or wicked behaviour.

Now, as for smoking, some say: ‘Smoking soothes my nerves’. That is untrue, because smoking cannot soothe the nerves of anyone; it is God who soothes a man’s nerves and this is what He does without the help of cigarettes or cigars. If smoking soothes nerves, then we should say that sedatives calm down those who don’t have peace and that sleeping draughts make people sleep; while it is better to say that these medicines befuddle those who use them and intoxicate them. We believe that just as believers don’t need to take sedatives and sleeping draughts because they have the Lord who gives them peace in the day of trouble and sleep when they need to sleep, so a believer does not need any cigarette ‘to relax’. The soothing effect of smoking is a device of the devil through which he gets people to believe that smoking is helpful and keeps people in this form of slavery.

In the book of Isaiah are written the following words that are fit for any believer who still smokes because he thinks that smoking is not a sin: “He feeds on ashes; a deceived heart has turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?’ (Isaiah 44:20 – NKJV).

Let it be known to all those who are still smoking that they must quit smoking immediately. You will say then: ‘How can we quit smoking?’ First of all, you must understand that you can do it in Christ Jesus, for it is written: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13 – NKJV); secondly, I tell you to pray God in the name of Jesus Christ, so that He may set you free from this vice and He will certainly set you free once for all. Strife against sin, do not caress it.

 

 

 

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