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"What shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?" (Romans 6:1-2 NIV)
Almost every nation on earth appears to be in danger of being overrun by the corruption and violence that are part of the drug lifestyle and the accompanying drug trade. All we need to do is read the news stories just in our part of Florida and we learn the sad stories. Listen to mothers and fathers grieving over a child who just died from an overdose. Spend some time with children in a dysfunctional family torn apart because of an alcoholic parent.
Those who traffic in illegal narcotics may not personally be abusers of these drugs. However - by trafficking in these dangerous substances, they are contributing to the downfall of an entire generation of our young people. Those who abuse drugs get their start many times on the streets and schoolyards at very early ages.
Many otherwise successful and visible professional people in all occupations spend large sums of money with the people who deliver them the brief pleasure they are seeking in a world full of pain and sorrow. A young boy on the streets does it the first time just because he is dared to and wants to be accepted by the group or the boy he perceives to be stronger. Later many of these boys learn how to make a few easy bucks selling dope to addicts. Either they become bigger fish in the system or they fall out of society with many problems in their families caused by their involvement with drugs or drug dealing.
Many adults and teens abuse alcohol and tear their lives apart and their loved ones. Untold millions of children, parents and spouses suffer abuse at the hands of drunkards. They usually do not start out drinking to become an alcoholic. In fact, most people begin taking the first drinks by saying to themselves that they have self-control and can stop whenever they want to. The sad fact is that most people do not have such control over the seductive power of alcohol.
In 1 Corinthians 6:20, the apostle Paul explains that we must honor God with our bodies by resisting the temptations of the flesh. Some justify drug abuse on the basis that "it makes me feel better." We may experience a temporary high, but it is nothing compared to the eternal high of life in Paradise and the joys of serving Christ in this life.
1 Peter 1:18-19. Here the apostle Peter reminds Christians to remember the price of our freedom from the slavery to sin.
The Bible is given to man for guiding us from darkness into light. This includes much teaching on human behavior. 1 John 3:4 teaches that sin occurs whenever we go against God's law. When we willfully behave as if we have no concern for God's law, then we are in danger of falling away from God's grace that saves.
Dishonoring God by using illegal drugs and abusing alcohol or other drugs sold legally is a sin because it dishonors our bodies. The only remedy is to stop it with the promise to God not to do it again.
Romans 6:3 Any Christian, with the possible exception of a newly-born disciple, has no excuse for abusing alcohol, steroids, nicotine, caffeine, aspirin, other over the counter pain remedies, amphetamines, tranquilizers, marijuana, LSD, cocaine, heroin, morphine, opium and the dangerous so-called "club drugs," like ecstasy. All these are dangerous to the mind and body as well as dangerous to the person's productivity and well-being.
Romans 6:4 When we first obey the Gospel, we must realize that we go through a moral transformation that includes giving up old bad habits. Our transformation into new creatures is symbolic of what Christ went through in His death, burial and resurrection. When we come up from the waters of baptism, we must realize that we have responsibility to live a completely different life - free of dependence upon drugs.
Romans 6:5-7 We should also realize that we are free from the slavery to sin. People become drug addicts and alcoholics by listening to our enemy the Devil. Satan wants us to believe that we can use a small amount of drugs without becoming enslaved to it. That is the big lie! The way to freedom from sin is through genuine repentance.
Romans 6:8-11 Christians must always keep a realistic outlook about the dangers of sin. We must continually remind ourselves that we are dead to sin. Moreover, we must think about our new life with new hopes and possibilities of freedom to do good rather than evil.
Colossians 3:1-4, 10 When we live each day with positive thoughts about good things we can accomplish for Christ, we are able to live the new life and put to death the old life of sin. This is a time of year when many people get invited to parties where the alcohol flows freely and drugs are also available. Please say, "No, thank you," and if you are truly thirsty, ask for some water.
Dear friends and neighbors, there are drug addicts who will tell us that they would never have started down that road if they had realized the terrible consequences. Many alcoholics will say that they would never have taken that first drink if they had known how it would wreck their lives.
The Good News is that God can put broken lives back together. Yes, even lives scarred with the shame and disgrace that goes along with the sin of drug and alcohol abuse. Why not accept the saving grace of Christ today by Believeing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God; Repent of your sins; be Baptized for the forgiveness of sins; and Live the new life in Christ. You will live a more productive life here while awaiting the final reward of eternal life in Heaven.
Come to Jesus today, He will save you - even though your sins are too many to count!
You are invited to all services of the Church of Christ at the corner of 3rd and E Streets. Write me with any questions or comments. David Binkley, Sr., PO Box 186 Cedar Key, FL 32625. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit our web site at www.cng cedarkeychurchofchrist.com.