Freedom in Christ // Tattoos, Alcohol, Smoking

     As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.
     One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God.
     Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. I know and am persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.
     Do not, for the sake of food, destroy the work of God. Everything is indeed clean, but it is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble. The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who has no reason to pass judgment on himself for what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
     – Romans 14

     For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion is not from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves! For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
     – Galatians 5:1-15

     Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
     – 1 Peter 2:16

     Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
     – 2 Corinthians 3:17

     Paul is talking about eating food that’s ceremonially clean or unclean, saying that it does not matter either way and our liberty should not be determined by someone else’s conscience (v. 29). The same argument applies to tattoos, alcohol, etc. or anything else that is not inherently sinful.
     “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience. For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.” If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience. But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience? If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.
     – 1 Corinthians 10:25-33

     But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
     – Romans 14:23

     See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ…Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ. Let no one disqualify you, insisting on asceticism and worship of angels, going on in detail about visions, puffed up without reason by his sensuous mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God. If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—“Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.
     – Colossians 2:8, 16-23


     Tattoos
     So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
     – 1 Corinthians 10:31

     But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
     – Romans 14:23

     This law was given to the Israelites, God’s chosen people. This law was fulfilled in Christ (Matthew 5:17), and is played out in the life of the Christian by loving God and loving people (Matthew 22:36-40). Furthermore, if we are to take this verse as a prohibition of tattoos, we must be consistent by prohibiting the trimming of beards (Leviticus 19:27), the eating of shellfish (Leviticus 11:10), or the playing of football (Leviticus 11:8), among other things.
     You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.
     – Leviticus 19:28

     In the context of this passage (1 Corinthians 6:12-20), Paul is instructing the Corinthians to flee sexual immorality. This verse is not speaking of tattoos or outward markings, but of sexual immorality. Furthermore, you can glorify God in your body through tattoos.
     Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
     – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

     Paul says that circumcision and uncircumcision count for nothing (v. 6), thus we can draw out the principle that outward marks (i.e. tattoos) are irrelevant, because only faith working through love counts for anything.
     For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
     – Galatians 5:1-6

     – Joe Thorn, Tattoos: Introduction
     – Joe Thorn, Tattoos and The Bible (1)
     – Joe Thorn, Tattoos and The Bible (2)
     – Joe Thorn, Tattoos: Don’t Get One
     – Joe Thorn, Tattoos: Advice
     – John Piper, Tattoos in Biblical Perspective
     – John Piper, Six Reasons to Skip Tattoos

     Alcohol
     There is a great number of verses that speak negatively against wine/alcohol, all of which condemn drunkenness and lack of sober-mindedness when drinking, but never wine/alcohol in itself.
 
     So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
     – 1 Corinthians 10:31

     But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
     – Romans 14:23
 

     You cause the grass to grow for the livestock and plants for man to cultivate, that he may bring forth food from the earth and wine to gladden the heart of man, oil to make his face shine and bread to strengthen man’s heart.
     – Psalm 104:14-15

     No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.
     – 1 Timothy 5:23

     Go, eat your bread in joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart, for God has already approved what you do. Ecclesiastes 9:7 (see also 2:24, 3:13, 5:18, 8:15)

     Jesus turns water into wine for a wedding.
     – John 2:1-11

     “Scripture has much to say regarding the drinking of alcohol (Leviticus 10:9Numbers 6:3Deuteronomy 29:6Judges 13:4,7,14Proverbs 20:1;31:4Isaiah 5:11,22;24:9;28:7;29:9;56:12). However, Scripture does not necessarily forbid a Christian from drinking beer, wine, or any other drink containing alcohol. In fact, some Scriptures discuss alcohol in positive terms. Ecclesiastes 9:7 instructs, “Drink your wine with a merry heart.” Psalm 104:14-15 states that God gives wine “that makes glad the heart of men.” Amos 9:14 discusses drinking wine from your own vineyard as a sign of God’s blessing. Isaiah 55:1 encourages, “Yes, come buy wine and milk…”
     What God commands Christians regarding alcohol is to avoid drunkenness (Ephesians 5:18). The Bible condemns drunkenness and its effects (Proverbs 23:29-35). Christians are also commanded to not allow their bodies to be “mastered” by anything (1 Corinthians 6:122 Peter 2:19). Drinking alcohol in excess is undeniably addictive. Scripture also forbids a Christian from doing anything that might offend other Christians or encourage them to sin against their conscience (1 Corinthians 8:9-13). In light of these principles, it would be extremely difficult for any Christian to say he is drinking alcohol in excess to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
     Jesus changed water into wine. It even seems that Jesus drank wine on occasion (John 2:1-11Matthew 26:29). In New Testament times, the water was not very clean. Without modern sanitation, the water was often filled with bacteria, viruses, and all kinds of contaminants. The same is true in many third-world countries today. As a result, people often drank wine (or grape juice) because it was far less likely to be contaminated. In 1 Timothy 5:23, Paul was instructing Timothy to stop drinking the water (which was probably causing his stomach problems) and instead drink wine. In that day, wine was fermented (containing alcohol), but not necessarily to the degree it is today. It is incorrect to say that it was grape juice, but it is also incorrect to say that it was the same thing as the wine commonly used today. Again, Scripture does not forbid Christians from drinking beer, wine, or any other drink containing alcohol. Alcohol is not, in and of itself, tainted by sin. It is drunkenness and addiction to alcohol that a Christian must absolutely refrain from (Ephesians 5:181 Corinthians 6:12).
     Alcohol, consumed in small quantities, is neither harmful nor addictive. In fact, some doctors advocate drinking small amounts of red wine for its health benefits, especially for the heart. Consumption of small quantities of alcohol is a matter of Christian freedom. Drunkenness and addiction are sin. However, due to the biblical concerns regarding alcohol and its effects, due to the easy temptation to consume alcohol in excess, and due to the possibility of causing offense and/or stumbling of others, it is often best for a Christian to abstain from drinking alcohol.”

Smoking
     So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

     – 1 Corinthians 10:31

     But whoever has doubts is condemned if he eats, because the eating is not from faith. For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.
     – Romans 14:23