Apr 1 2012
Question: Do you believe smoking to be a sin? Please don’t quote “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple are ye.” That verse is about causing divisions in the Church....From my studies, I cannot say that smoking is a sin. Otherwise breathing in smoke from burning firewood would be a sin since that is harmful. God did not specifically prohibit breathing in smoke in the Old Testament and Jesus did not specifically speak about it in the New Testament.
Response: Although 1 Corinthians 3 begins with a discussion of divisions in the church, in context verses 10-13 speak about the judgment of individuals: “Now if any man build upon.... Every man’s work shall be made manifest....If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, etc.” Yes, the “temple” speaks of the entire body of believers, but the judgment is against individuals whose choices, whose actions, defile the body. “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 [controlled by] any” (1 Cor:10:23). Are you under the power of cigarettes?
Regarding specific verses, “Thou shalt not kill” doesn’t limit whether the killing is instantaneous or spread out over many years. Look at the statistics. You are destroying your body. Look at it from God’s view, see how it violates what He made you for, and ask Him to help you to hate and despise it for what it is and what it does. Drinking a “little wine” is recommended by Paul. But if you drink it to excess, it ruins your life, destroys your liver, etc. Again, simple common sense would deliver you from desires that are destroying you. Don’t leave it up to God to miraculously cause you to stop something that you yourself have the willpower to do and every reason to stop. He will help you if you desire to stop for the right reasons: because it is sinful, harmful, and dishonors Him. We need to confess our sin as sin and believe that Christ can deliver us.
Paul’s heart for the church seems so much greater than ours at times: “Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend” (1 Cor:8:13).
Finally, I think it’s a given that we all know there is a vast difference between someone accidentally inhaling smoke from a fireplace or woodstove and purposely from a cigarette. How many people have you had to stop from sticking their heads into a fireplace to inhale? Let’s be objective.