Know Your Bible

VOL. 12                                                                                                                          November 10, 2013                                                                                                                            NO. 37



Is there anything wrong with smoking? While most would agree that is it a bad thing, can we really say it is a sin? It is not uncommon to see women, as well as men, smoking. In fact, there are a number of men and women who claim to be Christians who smoke. In the last few years, the American people have developed a greater health consciousness. Consequently, many have quit smoking. Restrictions have been established for smoking in public. Our real concern in this article is to see that smoking is a sin.

It is Harmful to the Body

1. Smoking harms the body. Quotes could be compounded that establish that smoking harms the body. However, just a few will suffice here. The British Royal College Of Physicians stated, "cigarette smoking is now as important a cause of death as the great past epidemics of typhoid, cholera and tuber-culosis." The Harvard Medical School Health Letter (Vol. III, No. 6, April 1978) speaking of lung cancer said, "The good news is that we know the cause of at least 80% of the cases of this leading cancer killer — cigarettes." The American Lung Association said, "Cigarette smoking is a major cause of emphysema, chronic bronchitis, lung cancer, heart disease... Just one cigarette speeds up your heart beat, increases your blood pressure, upsets the flow of blood and air in your lungs, causes a drop in the skin temperature of your fingers and toes.

2. It is a sin to deliberately harm the body. Smoking is wrong for the same reason "doing" drugs is wrong — it damages the body. While in a context of speaking of the sin of fornication, Paul addressed the problem of the abuse of the body and whether it is our body to do with what we want anyway. "What? know ye know 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? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body and your spirit, which are God's" (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

It is Addictive and Enslaves The User

1. Smoking is addictive. The smokers themselves supply the evidence of this point. When a smoker says, "I've tried, but I can't quit." he is admitting that he is addicted. Sometimes one does not realize how addicted he is until he quits. When one can't go thirty minutes without a cigarette, he no doubt is hooked on smoking.

2. Addiction is a sin. Smoking is not wrong because it is habit. There are many habits that we have developed that are not sin. Even bad habits are not necessarily sin. Smoking is wrong because it is addicting. Paul wrote, "All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any." (1 Cor. 6:12). Weymouth's translation says, " nothing will I become enslaved."

Addiction violates the principle of temperance (selfcontrol). It is a command of God to develop temperance and continue to grow in it (2 Pet. 1: 5-l0). When a man (or woman) can't sever himself from his cigarette, he does not have the self-control God requires.

It Affects Other People

Smoking not only affects the one who is smoking, but it is also irritating and harmful to those who are around. Reports now suggest that the smoke coming off the burning end of the cigarette is just as harmful (if not more so) than the smoke inhaled by the smoker.

The family of the person who smokes has to constantly breathe his smoke. Little children raised in this cloud of smoke have to inhale poisoned air. There are others affected as well. The smell of cigarette smoke gets into the clothes, hair, car and house of those with whom we come in contact.

I can testify of the aggravation caused by those who smoke. A few years ago I was having some voice problems. So, I thought it would be helpful to attend a seminar on voice care at one of the universities in Louisville. During a break, I stepped out into a small foyer (that was filled with the smoke from one smoker sitting in the corner) to call my wife. I was only in the foyer for two minutes or less. However, before I could get out the smoke had caused me to lose my voice. It was ironic that that was the very thing I was trying to learn how to prevent.

Jesus taught us to care more for others than that. He said, "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets." (Matt. 7-12). Paul said, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others." (Phil. 2: 4). If you don't care about your own body, please take others into consideration.

You Can Quit

We have established that smoking is a sin. Since that is true, then we conclude that quitting is not impossible. You can do it. You must first admit that it is wrong. Then, you must determine to quit.

---Donnie Rader

From Searching The Scriptures Vol. 31, No. 1, January 1991

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14 years old - “I’ve just become a Christian, I don’t know enough and I’m still too young to be involved in the work of the church.”

16 years old - “l’ve just got my driver’s license. I have to work to take care of my driving expenses. And of course this is the time in my life when I am very busy with friends, and you wouldn’t believe all the school activities I have!  I’ll get involved a little later.”

18 years old - “I just graduated from high school! Now I need a little time for myself before I enter the “real world.”  I’ll have more time for the work of the church later.”

20 years old - “I never knew college took so much time! When I get out and on my own I’ll have time for church work then.”

22 years old - “Boy, did you have any idea how hard it was to get started in the work place? It takes all my energy to get my career on line. And on top of that I just got married... I have to spend time to mold my new family life, too. In a couple of years I’ll be ready to really dig into the work of the church.”

24 years old - “Children! I never believed my parents when they told me how much time and money it took to raise them. I sure don’t have time for the work of the church now ... but when my kids get older I’ll be able to do my share of the work then.”

36 years old - “It seems the older the kids get the more they are involved in! Home from work, then to the school functions, then sports ... I’ll be glad when the kids get older so I can really be involved in the work of the church.”

46 years old - “I’ve never had so much fun! Grandchildren! I should have had them first (Ha!). I can’t deprive them ... when they get older I’ll be able to really be involved in the church.”

56 years old - “I’m on my last push at work now. I’ve got to really bear down for a few years now so I can be ready for retirement. And of course we have our place at the lake we’re fixing up. In a few years I’ll be able to quit the ‘rat race’ and really get involved in the church.”

66 years old - “Retirement at last! I’ve worked hard so many years and now I can enjoy the fruit of my efforts. It’s time now for the young ones here at church to carry on and let us ‘veterans’ rest a little.”

Instead of such a person as described above, isn’t it great to see people who can use their abilities in God’s service NOW?  Which are YOU?

---Jack Williams

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