Question:

Hello Jeff,

I had an awesome meeting with a guy who's a little older than I am. He came to services on Sunday, and I talked briefly with him. He said that the class and sermon really spoke to him. We meet tonight for dinner, and he revealed that he just quit his side business: dealing drugs. He talked about the quandary he's facing now: What his next step should be. I think he manages a legal smoke or head shop. He could stay in the industry legally and open a cannabis shop, since marijuana is legal here now. He wants to help people in the future, and he feels like his past several years would be wasted if he just gives up everything he has built up. His rationale is that people will spend the money anyway, so he may as well divert it from the system and use it for good rather than letting the profit go to some of the horrible people in town. I think he feels like cannabis is a gray area, unlike the substances he was selling illegally.

Do you have any articles, thoughts, or Scriptures that pertain to this? He's feeling very unsure of what direction he should take. He did admit that money has been his idol, so that may be factoring into his hesitance to let everything go. I shared some Scriptures and thoughts with him, but there were some big things unanswered. He is so hungry for the truth, and I'm looking forward to studying with him more. It's so exciting to see someone breaking free of his old life and looking for God.


Answer:

The reason drugs are morally wrong has little to do with whether the government accepts drug use or not. It is true that if the government declares a drug to be illegal, then it is just another reason for not using or selling it. "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves" (Romans 13:1-2). However, for Christians the primary reason to avoid drugs is because they mess with the person's mind. "Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:6-9). It is hard enough to battle Satan and sin without give Satan an edge by being stoned.

More specifically, there is a Greek word, pharmakeia, from which we get the English word "pharmacy." The word is translated as sorcerers and sorceries in the Bible because mind altering drugs were often used in the practice of sorcery during ancient times. This is not to say that medicinal use of drugs don't have its place (I Timothy 5:23), but this is not the same as recreational use.

So let's look at his arguments:

  • People are going to buy it anyway. That is true. People are going to sin regardless of what I, you, or anyone else does. But do we stand against sin, ignore it, or encourage it? Even if you don't directly use drugs, the selling of it is showing approval of its use. "Who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them" (Romans 1:31).
  • He can do good with the money. Good never truly comes from sin. "And why not say, "Let us do evil that good may come"? -- as we are slanderously reported and as some affirm that we say. Their condemnation is just" (Romans 3:8). If something is wrong, it remains wrong regardless what apparent "good" is claimed to result.
  • His past would be wasted if he doesn't stay involved. The past is left behind when a person becomes a Christian. You can't drag your worldly sins with you and simultaneously claim you have left the world. "Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles -- when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries" (I Peter 4:1-3).
  • He likes the money he makes. The love of money will pull many people into hell. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness" (I Timothy 6:10-11). He must decide which he loves more: money or God. "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth" (Matthew 6:24).

It is wonderful that he wants to change his life, but the change has to be complete. The old man of sin has to be killed off and buried. "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. For he who has died has been freed from sin. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God" (Romans 6:4-13).