Because I am a Preacher, many people have approached me with questions about smoking marijuana. Usually, people ask me what God thinks about medicinal use of marijuana. However, there have been quite a few who have come to me to ask about what God thinks about recreational use of marijuana. When this happens, the motive behind it is that the person is seeking permission to smoke weed and still be in good standing with God.
This is not unusual behavior when it comes to people in general. We all have spent our lives trying to figure out how we can be in good standing with God while continuing to do the things that we like to do. The problem is, we cannot have our cake and eat it too! At this time, I will set aside the use of medicinal marijuana because that in itself will be an entirely different discussion.
The latest form of the question today refers to the legalization of recreational weed use in some places in the United States of America. So, the question now is presented as follows;
“If smoking pot becomes legal, would it be OK with God?” or “If weed becomes legal, would it then be considered sinful by the church?” or even, “Can a person be saved if they smoke marijuana after it becomes legal?”. There are so many ways that this question comes about. All are the same question.
The problem here is, and it always has been, not so much the questions, but the answers and the conversations that follow the question. Yes, I am talking bout the response from the church. When I say, “the church”, I mean the Christians. The standard answer from the Christian is that smoking weed is sinful.
Back in 2013 Christianity Today published an article about what the church should do when pot is legalized. Ben Tertin, the author, brings attention to the failure of the church to properly address this topic. I will attempt to not copy his statement here. However, there may be similarities in the response.
Most people, who don’t use pot, look at anyone who does as a person who uses drugs. In a general sense, that is true. Marijuana is a drug. Not only that, in most places as of 2018, it is not a legal drug. These are the two issues that most Christians tend to focus on or notice. So, when the debate comes about for them, they immediately turn to scripture such as Romans 13 referring to Paul’s teaching on obeying the governing body of the land.
Not to mention how that same chapter gives instructions about not getting drunk. That’s it! That is as far as most Christians will go in the debate! Mostly because they really don’t know what the scripture says about the issue. The fact is, few Christians really know what the issue actually is!
The issue of marijuana and the use of it or the legalization of it is not really the core issue. Understand this; when man makes a law, in any part of the world, it in no way, shape, or form changes alters the stance of our Holy God about smoking weed!
Yes, it is true that obeying the laws of the governing body is there in the scripture. But that is not the issue. If it were, then the conversation would not only be about smoking pot, but speeding on the highway, texting and driving, or even fishing without the proper license and so on.
The other argument that is offered by the Christian is that since God does not permit drinking alcohol then smoking weed is similar and therefore should not be done. Hog Wash!
First, the bible never says, in any translation, that drinking alcohol is sinful or forbidden. What it says is that being drunk is frowned upon and looked at as debauchery by God (Gal. 5:19-21, Eph. 5:17-18, 1 Peter 4:3-5, 1 Tim. 3:3, Titus 1:7).
Another fact is that people can consume alcohol without becoming drunk. Which would lead us to question if people can smoke weed without becoming high. Still the problem is that we are focused on the wrong thing.
As Christians, we are given the responsibility of introducing the world to the Kingdom of God. Nothing in the Bible instructs the believers to make people stop sinning. It especially does not instruct the believer to pass judgement on others for any reason!
So then, what is the issue, the real issue? The real issue is just this; The church has for way too long missed opportunities to love their neighbor because of their own judgmental approach to taking a stand against marijuana, and any other drugs for that matter.
The issue is that the church, those who profess to be Christian, continuously depend on the laws of man to force people to “act right”! The issue is not at all whether marijuana is legal or not, the issue is that neither side of the debate is talking about what the Bible really says about getting high on weed!
What the church should be focused on is the people. Not the actions of the people. The Christian, who believes that the Bible is truth, should focus on what the Bible talks about. There is some scripture that does apply to the activity of smoking pot, drinking alcohol, or any other drug activity.
“Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,” Ephesians 5:17-18
“So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet.” -1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
“The end of all things is near. Therefore, be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. -1 Peter 4:7-8
These are just a few parts of Scripture that instruct against drunkenness. No scripture speaks against consuming alcohol. Nor is there any part of Scripture, in any translation or interpretation, that speaks for or against marijuana! However, we can see that the Bible does teach the expectation of soberness. Being in our right mind in fact being filled with the Holy Spirit!
All of this should answer the question about the Christian who wants to smoke pot. It is in fact considered by God to be sinful to intentionally do something that would cause one’s self not to be of sober mind. Drunk, high, or otherwise.
As far as those who are not Christian who want to smoke weed recreationally for the purpose of getting high, as if there is another reason to do it, it really doesn’t matter. Oh, it is still look at the same way in the eyes of God, but there is a bigger issue in the hearts of these.
Deciding what a person believes about Jesus being the Son of God who was born in the flesh and died on a cross for the purpose of bring forgiveness to all who repent and believe. If the person never understands, reacts, and submits to this demand for a decision, well it doesn’t matter if they get drunk, get high, or anything else they desire. Smoking pot or doing drugs is the least of their worries!
If the Christians will focus more on talking about what the Bible really says, and less about how to make people stop sinning, it would be drastically obvious to everyone how God would deal with all of us when it comes to matters such as legalizing marijuana.
So even though I personally believe that legalizing pot would be the wrong thing to do, I would like to think if the laws do change that my approach to making disciples would not change. So, I say that it really should not matter to the church whether this activity is legal or illegal. What matters is what the Bible does talk about. Sober mindedness, that is what pleases God!