Question from an anonymous e-mail:
I was just wondering.. what does the Lord think of people who use Marijuana? Does he shun it? What about alcohol?
Thanks for writing me. I hope to help you with your questions.
The Bible does speak about alcohol use. People in the Bible, including Jesus, drank alcoholic beverages. Wine was a very common drink both at celebrations and in everyday life – especially when potable water was unavailable. Jesus turned water into a fine wine at a wedding celebration at the beginning of His ministry and shared wine with His disciples at the Last Supper. So God does not shun people for drinking alcohol. What He prohibits is becoming inebriated. God made us to be reasonable and intelligent beings, but when we are intoxicated, our judgment becomes impaired, our inhibitions to do bad things is lowered, and we are more likely to harm others and ourselves. In the United States, many churches take a strong stand against alcohol because in our culture drinking is practically equated with getting drunk. This is generally reinforced by the apostle Paul’s admonition not to do something that might hinder others from seeking God. In short, consuming alcohol is fine before God as long as one does not become impaired. Under some circumstances, however, it is wise to refrain from drinking altogether if it will help someone else.
Marijuana and other drugs are not explicitly dealt with in the Bible, but it is reasonable to apply the same reasoning process to it. If a substance is going to impair your thinking abilities, then do not do it. There is another aspect of this issue, though. Marijuana and several other drugs are generally illegal to own or use. Christians are expected to follow the laws of the land, and should not participate in illegal activities of any sort, including drug abuse.
However, the overarching principle of salvation has little to do with alcohol and drug use. There are many people who have not consumed either of these substances, but that does not mean that they will go to heaven. There are also people who have abused both, but will be with God forever. This is because we do not earn heaven by our behavior. Heaven is a gift we receive from God when we trust in Jesus Christ. He died on the cross for all our sins, whether they include substance abuse, sexual misconduct, robbery, or any number of other things. When a person admits he has sinned (that is, he has done things that God does not approve of) and asks Jesus to forgive him, the guilt and eternal consequences of our sins are taken away. God then begins to live inside the believer in the form of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit works with our conscious to improve our behavior and overcome our addictions. Our focus turns away from pleasing ourselves all the time and toward pleasing God and loving people. No one will ever be perfect in this life, but Jesus already paid the penalty for the believer’s sins. The believer establishes an ongoing and growing relationship with God through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers.
I am not sure what your particular situation is, but if you would like to know more about becoming a Christian (I am assuming from your note that you are not – please pardon me if I am mistaken) there are probably many local resources for you to look into. If you want to talk with a minister, you could call a local church and make an appointment (I am partial to the Baptist denomination). If you are in high school or college, there are probably some Christian groups on campus in which you could find someone to talk with. Of course, you can ask me more questions, but I feel that personal contact is more effective. Also, remember that people you might talk to are going to be imperfect. Some may try to pressure you or "scare" you into accepting Jesus. If that is the case, see if you can find someone else who will be able to reason with you and love you where you are. I hope that you will know that God loves you very much and wants you to be with Him forever.
Take care, and God bless,
P.S. I do have Bible verses that relate to these things, but I did not want to confuse you with references to it if you are not familiar with it. I can provide them for you if you like.
Prov 20:1; Prov 21:17; Prov 23:20-21; Prov 23:29-35; Prov 31:4-7; Isa 5:11-12; Isa 5:22; Isa 28:7-8; Hos 4:11; Luke 21:34; Rom 13:13; Gal 5:19-21; Eph 5:18; 1 Thess 5:6-7; John 2:1-11; Luke 22:17-20; Rom 13:1; 1 Cor 8