I went to school at UW - Madison back in the 70's. In those days, and even today, Madison had, and STILL has, quite a reputation as a party school. Yet, I never got drunk. Why not? It was clearly "the thing to do." There was beer and booze everywhere. Why didn't I ever take that final step and get drunk like many of my friends did? The reason is . . . my family. I felt like I would be disappointing my parents. Does that make sense? And I never even knew about this verse from Proverbs at the time, but it is SO true.
"6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." - Proverbs 22:6
I was raised in a family where my mother and my father did not drink. It was simply not done. I don't remember my grandparents drinking either. Although I do remember seeing a bottle of whiskey high on a bathroom shelf at the farm. The bottle was really old, almost empty and, I believe, never used - except for medicinal purposes. Seriously. That's why it was there.
When my wife and I got married, two worlds collided. My wife's family drank - not too excess by any means, but more along the lines of an after-dinner drink . . . you know, to be sociable. My side of the family didn't drink at all. It was a really weird wedding reception.
Have you ever been to a drinking party? Or gotten drunk at a wedding? Or maybe you've had a few too many beers at a sporting event. Why? Why do people drink so much that they get drunk and lose control of who they are? If you go to Google Images and enter the word "drunk" (as I just did, searching for a picture for this blog) you will find all sorts of images, many of them sincerely disgusting. Why do people do this?
Here is a blog I found that lists the Top Ten reasons why people start to drink. Read this.
The number one reason listed in that blog is "For the Effect." Basically, people drink because of the way it makes them feel. Drinking loosens our inhibitions. It makes us think we are more fun at parties and other social situations. It makes us someone other than who we are when we're sober. And apparently, that's what we're looking for. Most people also believe they can handle themselves when they drink. Most of them are wrong.
I have a friend where I work. He's retired now. His daughter was killed by a drunk driver. You can read about her here. The guy behind the wheel is still on the roads somewhere in Wisconsin. My friends daughter is dead an buried. How would you like to be THAT guy one day when he stands in front of Jesus to explain how he killed someone while he was drunk? Yeah . . . that's not going to be good.
I'd like you to read a verse that hopefully will cause you to think. It's a rather scary verse, especially if you like to get drunk.
"9 Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God." - 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (ESV)
Do you understand what that says? Let's take all the other examples of sin-filled people out of the sentence and concentrate just on the drunkard . . .
"Do not be deceived: the drunkard will NOT inherit the kingdom of God." Umm. Yeah, that's not good. A person who gets drunk and continues to do so, without regret, is NOT allowed into heaven? That's what God says.
So does that mean that if someone has gotten drunk at some point in their lives, they are going to hell? Not necessarily. For an answer to that question look to the thief who was hanging on a cross next to Jesus.
39 One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, “Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” 43 And He said to him, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” - Luke 23:39-43 (NASB)
The second thief confessed his own sin, he acknowledged Jesus was who he said he was - "remember me when You come in Your kingdom." And then Jesus forgave him. While Jesus was dying on the cross, He took the time to forgive someone's sins.
If the drunkard, or any of us other sinners, repents of his sin and asks forgiveness, earnestly, it will be given. But woe to the one who gets drunk, or sins, and then dies without being repentant, without seeking forgiveness. Even though they might profess a belief in God, that person, from what I read in 1 Corinthians, is NOT going to make it into heaven. Sorry.
You see, Jesus also said, "15 If you love Me, you will keep My commandments." (John 14:15) and He also told us to "go, and sin no more." (John 8:11)
Go back and read that verse from 1 Corinthians. Do you find yourself listed in its contents? I know I see myself in there a few times. So what must we do to be saved?
- We must believe that Jesus is who He says He is - the Son of the Living God.
- We must confess our sins.
- We must have a repentant heart. We must truly be sorry for what we have done.
- We must ask God to forgive us.
- We must "go and sin no more."
"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror." - James 2:19 (NLT)
We must do more than believe. We must make Jesus Lord of our lives. He must become our Master. We must become His slaves. When James wrote his letter to us he introduced himself this way . . .
"James, a bond-servant (slave) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ."
My friends, we too must become slaves of Christ. Whatever He says, whatever He commands of us, so must we do. We need to become 100% His. The old, sinful self . . . the drunkard, the thief, the adulterer, whatever . . . we must die and be re-born. We MUST be born again!
Jesus answered him, “3 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” - John 3:3 (ESV)
James Caldemeyer is a professional bass fisherman. He drank a lot back in the day – often, too much. He thought he could make it home one night after having a few too many drinks so he hopped in his car and took off. He never made it. Neither did the person he killed.
I Am Second - James Caldemeyer