Recreational Drug Use Is Sinful

by Bryan Matthew Dockens

Recreational drug use is sinful because it violates the law. Under the current legal code in the United States, the recreational use of narcotics is strictly forbidden. The word of God requires obedience to the law: "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).

Recreational drug use is sinful because it violates self-control. Through the apostle Paul, the Lord commands that we "Walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:16), the fruit of which includes "self-control" (Galatians 5:22-23). Under the influence of drugs, though, self-control is diminished, if not altogether forsaken. One of the mildest drugs available is alcohol, but even its consumption results in the user being unaware of his actions and losing his inhibitions (Proverbs 23:29-35).

Recreational drug use is sinful because it is addictive. All narcotics are addictive, and addiction competes with one's service to God. The apostle Peter wrote, "By whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage" (II Peter 2:19). And Paul asked rhetorically, "Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?" (Romans 6:16). We ought to enslave ourselves to God (Romans 6:17, 22), with the understanding that our loyalty must never be divided (Matthew 6:24).

Recreational drug use is sinful because it is harmful to the body. The deleterious effects of narcotics on human health are well documented. Such self-inflicted physical abuse is contrary to God's will insomuch as the apostle Paul wrote, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service" (Romans 12:1). The Lord does not accept blemished sacrifices (Malachi 1:14); He demands the best we have to offer. Therefore, deliberate damage to the body is unacceptable. "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's" (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

Recreational drug use is sinful because God prohibits it. Drug use is explicitly forbidden in scripture as behavior that will keep one out of heaven. "Sorcery" is identified as a "work of the flesh" that will prevent entrance into God's kingdom (Galatians 5:19-21), and "sorcerers" are among those destined for hell (Revelation 21:8). The word translated "sorcery" is the Greek word "pharmakeia", from which is derived the word "pharmacy", and"sorcerers" is translated from "pharmakeus" which means "pharmacists" or "druggists". Drugs were used in the deceptive efforts of ancient sorcery, thus the connection. Legitimate pharmacology is not at issue here inasmuch as God allows for the limited use of otherwise restricted substances for strictly medicinal purposes (I Timothy 5:23). Ordinarily, though, drugs should be off limits.