hello ralph. i stummbled across your site and i must say i find it very informative, and encouraging. some of the stories are really touching. and most of the question and answers i have read seem to make since. however, i read the question "i'm a christian who gets drunk, does drugs, and wants to die." the very first thing you say on your reply is "The very first thing you need to face is that you are not a Christian." i find it odd that you would say that, when the bible tells us not to judge anyone. who's to say he's not a christian but God himself?
secondly, i'm a person in my twenty's who along with 80 million americans use drugs and alcohol. i also consider myself christian. to tell someone to find God and just quit the habbits is a little easier said than done. possible yes. easy no. and, it's especially hard for people like me who live in a small suburb town, when it's all around you. everyone you know and associate with smokes pot or drinks.
i don't want to drink. i don't want to get high, but sometimes life gets hard. sometimes i don't want to live. the lord speaks against drunkeness. he says people who are drunkards will not get to the gates of heaven. that scares me, and to be quite honest, it makes me want to drink more. i feel not good enough for God, and i know i'm not. my only hope is that he hears my prayers and one day helps me out of all of this.
My response is in Green:
Sin is a choice, if you choose to sin, then you can't claim to be a Christian. Is that too tough, maybe, but I didn't say it, God's word says it. Let me show you:
(1 John 5:3-5 NIV)  This is love for God: to obey his commands. And his commands are not burdensome,  for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.
(1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NIV)  Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders  nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
(Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV)  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.
Now let me address the question of judging. There are two passages in God's word that I want to show you. Many people use the first one and then claim we are not to judge at all, but they miss the point. Here is the first one:
(Matthew 7:1-2 NIV)  "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."
The problem is that people need to understand what Jesus is saying and they also need to read the next couple of verses also. Let me quote those next few verses here:
(Matthew 7:1-5 NIV)  "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother´s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother´s eye."
Jesus is talking about judging hypocritically. We are not to judge like that or we will be judged by that same measure, however, we will all be judge by God's word so if we use that measure we are doing it correctly. Now let me show you the second passage which goes along with this:
(1 Corinthians 5:12-13 NIV)  What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."
Paul uses a rhetorical question to make a statement. It is not up to us to judge the world, but we are to judge those who claim to be Christians and we are to judge them by God's standard. How can you expel the wicked man, if you are afraid to call what he does wicked? I purposely did not quote the couple of verses just before this to make my point, but now let me add them so you can see exactly what this passage is speaking about:
(1 Corinthians 5:9-11 NIV)  I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people- not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.  But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.
Paul says we are to not even eat with a person who claims to be a brother (Christian) who is living the kind of life that God says they are not to live. He makes it clear what kind of life he is speaking of too: sexually immoral, greedy, idolater, slanderer, drunkard, or swindler. This goes back to the passages I quoted above, you can't keep deliberately sinning and be a Christian. So am I wrong to tell someone who claims to be a Christian yet who breaks the law and also breaks God's word, that they are not truly a Christian?
(1 John 2:3-6 NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
Notice it says that we have come to know Him (become a Christian) when we follow His commands. You can say I am wrong all you want, but all I am doing is quoting from God's word. Your problem is not with me, it is with God. Sure peer pressure is tough and it is hard to stop doing things, but it is a choice and either you choose to do right or you choose to do wrong, but wrong is still wrong. Look at this passage:
(Romans 6:16-18 NIV)  Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
You will remain a slave to sin until you decide to give yourself totally to God and be a slave to righteousness. That is why Jesus made this statement:
(Matthew 16:24 NIV) Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
If you want to follow Christ then you have to deny yourself. Peer pressure or not, wrong is wrong and right is right.
(2 Corinthians 6:14-17 NIV)  Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?  What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?  What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."  "Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you."
Separate yourself from the world. You can't have one foot on the solid rock (Jesus Christ) and the other foot in quicksand (the world). If you do, guess which one will pull on you more? Soon you will find yourself totally in the quicksand.
You said that it makes you want to drink more knowing that God condemns drunkenness. That should tell you something right there. It should make you want to totally quit. Maybe you should go back to the foot of the cross and decide if you want to follow Christ or not. You can't be a follower and continue to sin. Again I did not say that, God says that. If that pushes you away from God, then I am sorry, but it is your choice. You can't be a part time Christian. God wants it all or should I say He wants all of you. He will not settle for part, when you feel like it.
I will continue to judge and speak out according to God's word. I will tell you one other thing. I do know what it is like. I spent 14 years in the Military, believe the peer pressure doesn't get much worse than that. I also spent 7 years as a Police Officer. The suicide rate for profession while I was a cop was the highest for Police Officers and we were the second highest profession for alcoholism. You can claim I don't know what I am talking about, but I am here to tell you "been there done that" and I do know what I am talking about. Yes it is hard, but it is also worth it.
The way to obtain freedom is first to choose to follow Christ no matter what. Then put Him first in your life. He must be above what you want, above what your friends think. You must give Him complete control of your life, then and only then can you be free from sin and a slave to righteousness. Again I have been there and I know first hand that this is the only way.
One last passage:
(2 Corinthians 13:5 NIV) Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you-unless, of course, you fail the test?
It is time to examine yourself. If you are in the faith, then start living like it, if you are not in the faith, then it is time to get where you need to be.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)
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