By Lucas Stoltz
It is fitting to respond to our country’s latest constitutional change, whereby South Africa legalized the use of Marijuana! Adults are now allowed to use, possess or cultivate cannabis in private for their own personal consumption. However, it is still rather cloudy (no pun intended) as to the finer details. But even before all things are clarified, we need to stop and consider what God’s Word says about this!
Please note, this article is not to condemn the use of medicinal Marijuana, the focus is on the recreational use and the effects it has on the Christian home.
Where in the Bible?
Although there’s not a single verse in the Bible that explicitly says, ‘you may not use any form of cannabis’, 1 Peter 4:7 does say, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.”
Now you might argue and say, ‘but it is legal! Surely it’s not sin?’ Well, consider 1 Corinthians 6:12, “”All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” & 1 Corinthians 10:23, ““All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.” That’s twice… Paul tells us not everything accepted by law is necessarily helpful of profitable!
So consider the following findings to be helpful, this is from our friends at GotQuestions:
“In instances where recreational marijuana use is legal, there are still two primary issues that should keep people from using it. The first is the impact marijuana has on physical health. A recent study by the Journal of Neuroscience demonstrates that even casual marijuana use changes the brain and can lead to mental illness (see USA Today and Journal of Neuroscience). The fact that children are being hospitalized due to accidental marijuana exposure also demonstrates the health risks: MedicalDaily.com.
So not only is Marijuana not good for us physically, recreational marijuana use is not consistent with anything the Word of God tells us about the Christian life. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2), not by the deadening of our minds. We are to be sober-minded about the devil’s schemes (1 Peter 5:8–9), not so high that we don’t care. And we are to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), not intoxicated by what is undeniably a harmful drug.
God’s Glory, & Your Pleasure
Our goal as Christians is to know and experience the full and exact reality of the glory of God in our resurrected physical bodies (1 Corinthians 15:12–49). To glorify God and enjoy Him forever! This is our aim.
God is glorious beyond measure, and Christians should seek to experience the reality of His glory, for the sake of His glory. But sin has distorted our vision and corrupted our world. So when we experience the redemptive work of Christ through the Holy Spirit, we are awakened to the reality and beauty of God (2 Corinthians 4:6). But until we see Him face to face, we still see his glory as through a glass dimly (1 Corinthians 13:12). And yet, as redeemed believers, we are on a journey to knowing Him without hindrances.
Therefore, we do not want to distort this reality anymore that it is! We should rather aim to know Him as He really is, this is why as Christians, we can’t use of any kind of psychoactive substance that’ll keep God’s glory dimmed! Any substance we choose to take, should always align with His gospel goal of looking to see things clearer!
The Danger of Comparing
Again, the Bible does not explicitly tell us that smoking or using cannabis is sin, but referring again to our findings in 1 Corinthians 6:12 & 10:23.I believe a very common mistake many believers make is, they will compare cannabis to other substances, like wine or coffee or tobacco. But consider this principle in terms of the psychoactive substance most of us use every day. A substances enjoyed hot, cold and even in energy drinks: caffeine.
I like to joke, saying; “Coffee does not wake me up, I wake up for coffee.” The truth is though, people drink coffee in the morning to help them to see things as they really are, to wake them up from grogginess. And sure, the right and proper use of this God-given substance, is to help us see things as they really are.
What about wine? At times, moderate drinking in Godward celebrations can be in keeping with the reality, hence the warning in Ephesians 5:18; “…do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit…” What’s more, people don’t drink wine at funerals, as funerals are a reminder of the curse and consequences of sin.
But people do drink wine at weddings! And the idea behind that should be that we celebrate the parable being played out before our eyes: “the great Bridegroom is coming for his bride, the church (Revelation 19:7)!” And it is wine that will have a God-given role at the final celebration (see Mark 14:23–25). So if done with wisdom, as mentioned above, the proper and moderate use of alcohol can be a clarifier, not a distorter as it points us to the joy, fellowship, and celebration of the great coming feast we are so dearly longing for!
Weed & the Home
I believe that recreational weed distorts reality and numbs people to the ability of experiencing life as it truly is. Even as you read this, consider the fact that marijuana has never been associated with engaged parenting. The use of weed causes disengagement and dulls folks into a long-term numbness.
Just think for a moment, parents who have a 2 and 4 year old, the family is seated in the lounge, but both parents are baked and there’s no one to tend to these little ones? Or just as striking, having a teenager in the house and one of the parents regularly disengagement because of his trip to the clouds? Or folks who allow their children to smoke marijuana in the home?
Friend, this is not the norm for the Christian home. Look at Colossians 3:18-21, “18 Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord. 19 Husbands, love your wives, and do not be harsh with them. 20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. 21 Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” That is the norm instead!
Consider the Word
So although the Bible does not clearly forbid the use of every substance that affects the mind, the recreational use of cannabis seems to violate the Christian value of soberness (1 Thessalonians 5:6–8). But as our culture celebrates the use of cannabis today, we should be vigilant not to be deceived as a church, or as a family. We should also not stand by as we watch brothers and sisters who profess faith in Christ enter into the mind-numbing cloud of cannabis.
And for what it is worth, we should also be careful not to make the same mistakes that churches made in previous generations with regard to alcohol, adding extra prohibitions to God’s revealed word, as there are variables involved with marijuana use (medicinal use). But I will say this, we should proceed with church discipline upon the unrepentant use of this substance.
And we should also be quick to engage with members who use marijuana, being ready to exhort and rebuke them if it becomes apparent that they are violating the biblical standards of sobriety and integrity.
At the same time, “let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Here are more helpful resources:
And check out this video: https://wretchednetwork.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/is-it-a-sin-for-a-christian-to-smoke-pot-episode-1345/