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The Sin of Recreational Marijuana Use

The Sin of Recreational Marijuana Use

At the time of this writing (September 2016), Proposition 205 is yet to be voted on in our state of Arizona. Proposition 205 would legalize recreational marijuana use if approved by the voters in November. The purpose of this document is to show the sinfulness of recreational marijuana use according to the Scriptures. Regardless of whether or not the proposition is passed, God's Word has authority over any man-made legislation. For example, while abortion is currently legal in the United States, a Christian worldview recognizes abortion as sin before God. God's prohibitions and commands in the Scriptures are given for the thriving of mankind. To disobey God's Word is to place oneself in a position to suffer the consequences of sin. For that reason, and others, we pray that Proposition 205 is defeated.

In the paragraphs below we will seek to show which Scriptures can be brought to bear on this subject. We will also address the objection to calling marijuana usage a sin because it's natural.

Which Scriptures Can Be Cited to Argue the Sinfulness of Recreational Marijuana Use?

Similar to nuclear weapons and the current practice of abortion, the Scriptures do not specifically speak to the issue of marijuana use. With that being said, we can know God's will in these areas as we draw conclusions from rightly interpreted passages which address a number of related issues. For example, the Bible prohibits getting drunk with wine (Eph 5:18). I know of no honest person who would make the argument that they can get drunk with beer because this passage doesn't specifically mention beer. Drunkenness is the issue here, not the means of drunkenness. The Bible also doesn't mention cocaine and LSD, but again I am not aware of Christians who are arguing for the recreational use of cocaine or LSD because they are not specifically prohibited in the Scriptures.

Ephesians 5:18 states, "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit," In this passage the Holy Spirit provides us with the opposite righteous response to drunkenness and debauchery - being filled with the Spirit. If you compare this passage to 1 Peter 5:8 "Be sober-minded; be watchful" it is clear that the Holy Spirit is prizing a mind that is able to think clearly and be led by the the Holy Spirit. Drunkenness and being "high" keep us from functioning with a clear mind so that we might please the Lord with our moment-by-moment decision-making. While people may claim that marijuana might produce in them a sharpness of mind that allows them to be more creative, the reality still exists that the mind is altered. Normal cognitive abilities are no longer what guides the decision-making process. Furthermore, according to an article called, "Medical Marijuana and the Mind" by Harvard Medical School, "More is known about the psychiatric risks than the benefits." This report cites addiction, anxiety, mood disorders, and psychosis as some of the negative consequences of marijuana usage. More important than a medical report or political argument, the Scriptures again can be cited to reveal God's prohibition against the altering of the mind (1 Cor 5:11, 6:10; Prov 23:20-21, 23:29-35; Is 5:11, 28:7; Hos 4:11; Matt 24:48-49).

How Can Recreational Marijuana Usage Be Sinful When it's Natural?

Those who claim that because a plant or herb is natural, the consumption of it is therefore not sinful are not biblically consistent. Grapes produce wine. Wine is not to be used for intoxication (Eph 5:18). To say that intoxication is permissible because grapes are natural is contrary to God's revealed will. Similarly, when one uses marijuana and becomes intoxicated, the fact that it's natural doesn't negate the prohibition of Scripture. Adam and Eve were permitted to eat. Genesis 1:29 states, "And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food." Adam and Eve weren't given plants to smoke. Grapes are meant for eating (or for drinking in the case of wine), but to drink them in order to become intoxicated is sin. So, we can conclude that whether somebody eats or smokes a natural substance, becoming intoxicated means that the act of consumption is indeed sin.

It has been my experience that Christians with an accurate understanding of God's Word, specifically pertaining to the Christian life, are not the ones who are arguing for the recreational usage of marijuana. For the first time in their lives Christians have the capacity to honor the Lord in all things. The Holy Spirit has regenerated our once dead hearts so that we may live unto Christ. Our time, money, skills, work-ethic, minds, and diet all aim to please Him. Just how we do this isn't mysterious. He's given us His Word. He's given us commands and prohibitions. He's done so because He is a good God who desires what is best for His children. God has made us to be new creations (2 Cor 5:17). For the first time in our lives we have the mind of Christ and we can think clearly being led by the Holy Spirit. We have this new ability to please God with our minds. Why would we ever want to belittle and dismiss this gift from God by purposefully losing control of our mental capacity?

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