Does the Bible condemn smoking?

Deliverance From Tobacco

In his search for happiness, man has taken many byways that have left him disappointed. Among these have been wealth, social activities, and the rise of tobacco and alcohol. All this has left man with an emptiness within. In John 4:1-30, Jesus refers to this emptiness in His encounter with the woman of Samaria who was drawing water from a well. He offered her living water that would satisfy the thirst of her soul. The well water satisfied her physical thirst, but Jesus satisfied her Inner thirst.

Perhaps not many people today would admit that they have a need or an inner- thirst in their- lives. Even though physical actions and desires often suppress this need, it is still there. For this reason God sent Jesus to deliver man from the temptations and sins of this world (or flesh). He holds out hope to the captives of sin that there is freedom and renewal for- Hearts and minds.

Why People Use Tobacco

Why do people use tobacco today? Does it give lasting satisfaction? Perhaps friends whom one admires have this habit, so smoking looks desirable. Sometimes people feel the need to do certain things they otherwise wouldn’t, just to be accepted. Is there an Underlying feeling of insecurity that demands fulfillment? It would be good if everyone would seriously analyze these questions. Insecurities often cause it Person to fill his time with activities that take the mind off the more important things of life. Sometimes habits are developed that give one the outward appearance of being in control. Nervous people often seem to need something in their hands to calm themselves. They become dependent on cigarettes, but find no lasting calmness.

Many young people are influenced to try cigarettes. Their friends may offer them a smoke. Advertisements show healthy, young adults using tobacco, giving the impression that this is the thing to do. Some may imitate parents who smoke. They feel that they can control their desire to smoke and are sure that they can quit at any time. Too late, they realize they cannot quit bolt are addicted to tobacco.

Is Tobacco Sinful?

Is the use of tobacco wrong? Does the Bible say it is sin? These are frequently asked questions that deserve an answer. No, the Bible does not specifically mention the use of tobacco. But it does give directions and principles that can be used as a guide.

The Bible clearly teaches that our bodies arc not our own, that they are intended to be temples for God and for Ills Holy Spirit. 1 Corinthians 3:16,17 shows that it is sinful to harm or defile our bodies: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, allot that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” The use of tobacco has been clearly shown to weaken and even destroy the body that was meant to bring honor and service to God. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6: 19).

God pleads with men to abstain from those fleshly appetites that dull their spiritual senses. “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). Both the distractions from real values and the carnal pleasure sought in the use of tobacco identify it as an agent that “wars against the soul.” The use of tobacco is an effort to satisfy the fleshly nature. The Bible says, “‘They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit” (Romans 8:5).

God wants His servants to live pure lives, separated from the unbelieving society which surrounds them. Accepting Christ and His way, bearing His cross, will cause a person to live differently from those who are not Christians. The apostle Paul wrote, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Galatians 6:14). Can it be said that the use of tobacco is a clean, pure, harmless habit that is inoffensive to others? Does it belong to a person who has been separated from the world by the cross of Christ? We must conclude that its use identifies one with those many others on the broad road who seek their own pleasure rather than the will of God.

Misuse of Resources

The need to spend money for tobacco often deprives children and other adults of the needful things of life – food and clothing and even homes. This selfish use of money is causing much suffering and discomfort in the world today. Billions of dollars are spent annually purchasing tobacco for selfish pleasure. The Lord says, “Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness” (Isaiah 55:2).

God Can Deliver

God love you and wants you to come to him just as you are. He is well able to deliver you. Even Though tobacco is strongly addictive, and you may have a craving for it, God will gladly bring His almighty power to bear upon your problem. “Who is a God like unto thee that Pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:18,19).

If you are using tobacco there may he many questions that come to your mind You may ask, “What will my friends think if I stop smoking? What will they think if I can’t stop? I’ve tried before and failed. The desire for a cigarette is so strong. Smoking one gives me some relief until I need the next one. Who will help? Does God understand how I feel?”

God sees your heart. He not only sees your habits and problems, but he sees how Satan has trapped you. Your own pride may have brought you into these problems through your desire to find acceptance from your friends. Jesus died on the cross to bring deliverance from the hard master of sin. Those who recognize then need for deliverance and crucify self will find help. Romans 6:5,6 instructs us: “For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not Serve sin.”

God created us in His image and expects us to glorify Him with our lives. The Scriptures say in I Corinthians6:20 “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Those things that do not glorify God are the very things that leave an especially empty feeling afterward. People are tempted to do them again and again, trying to find pleasure. But, alas! It does not last. God’s compassion and mercy reach out to those caught in this circle of vice to lift them into the newness of life in Christ. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

GOSPEL TRACT AND BIBLE SOCIETY/ Church of Christ, Mennonite

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