Is smoking a sin?
1. What is sin?
A. Violating God’s law
1 John 3:4New Living Translation (NLT)
4 Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God.
When this topic comes up, most people that smoke use the same argument, the Bible never says you can’t smoke cigarettes (or weed). They would have a good point if the Bible was just a rule book that listed every possible sin, but it is not. Pornography, trashy media, cigarettes, and various drugs of our day aren’t mentioned because they didn’t exist. Instead of violating a specific command, they violate principles of God's law.
B. Anything that can’t be done in faith
Romans 14:23New Living Translation (NLT)
23 But if you have doubts about whether or not you should eat something, you are sinning if you go ahead and do it. For you are not following your convictions. If you do anything you believe is not right, you are sinning
The second definition of sin is anything that can’t be done in faith. Paul wrote this after arguing that the meats that some were convicted of eating were fine to eat. He concluded that if they weren’t convinced that it was okay, although consuming the meats wasn’t actually a sinful act, it would be a sin for them to eat because they couldn’t partake in faith, full assurance that their action did not displease the Lord. The standard for a Christian should not be, “Prove to me that I can’t.” It must be, “I have full assurance that I can.” If there is any doubt, in the smallest amount, then it is sin. The old saying is true, “When in doubt, don’t.”
C. Refraining from doing good
James 4:17New Living Translation (NLT)
17 Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.
The final definition of sin is deciding not to do good. The Lord doesn’t just expect us to stop doing evil, but He requires us to do good. Is it good to break the chains of addiction? Is it good to benefit your health? Does it improve your witness if you no longer smoke? Basically, is breaking free from cigarettes a good thing that God wants His children to do? If the answer is yes then it is a sin to refuse to do what the Lord would have you to do.
2. Do smokers live a life of liberty like Jesus promised or a life of bondage?
A. Jesus came to give captives liberty.
Luke 4:18New Living Translation (NLT)
18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free,
B. A liberated Christian should not be brought under the power of anything. Instead of just arguing whether we can or can’t do something, we must consider whether we are being overpowered and losing our liberty to act with self control. It is impossible to be addicted and have liberty.
1 Corinthians 6:12New Living Translation (NLT)
12 You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.
C. We are commanded to cast aside weights and sins. Is smoking a weight? Does it drag a smoker down physically and spiritually? Does smoking cigarettes often drag the smoker into other vices such as drugs and alcohol? Does smoking make it more difficult to proclaim the gospel and live as a witness of the liberating power of Christ? If so, the weight must be cut loose.
Hebrews 12:1New Living Translation (NLT)
12 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.
A. The Bible is very clear that we will give an account to God for everything that He has given us. We are managers of His goodness. We must be faithful with our lives, health, and finances. Is there any redeeming quality in giving our bodies and money to cigarettes? Will the Lord be pleased at judgment with the smoker that dies 25 years early after spending multiple thousands of dollars on cancer sticks? Is this good stewardship?
1 Corinthians 4:2New Living Translation (NLT)
2 Now, a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful.
4. The Holy Ghost conviction and deliverance
A. One of the purposes of the Holy Ghost is to convict of sin. It is no coincidence that millions of people have been set free from cigarettes after receiving the Holy Ghost. Even those that aren’t immediately delivered invariably are convicted and begin to pray for power to be free. Would the Holy Ghost convict so many people and miraculously set them free if smoking wasn’t a sin?
John 16:8New Living Translation (NLT)
8 And when he comes, he will convict the world of its sin, and of God’s righteousness, and of the coming judgment.
B. The Apostolic church used Scripture, consensus among the brethren, and the leading of the Holy Ghost as their basis for establishing requirements of Godly living. Spirit filled ministers are in nearly unanimous agreement that it is not God’s will for His children to be slaves to nicotine.
Acts 15:28New Living Translation (NLT)
28 “For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay no greater burden on you than these few requirements:
5. The Lord not only looks at our actions, He looks at the intentions of our hearts. It is important to examine the motivation of our actions. Why do people smoke?
A. Smokers claim that cigarettes calm their nerves when they are anxious or stressed. Even if this is true, cigarettes are taking the place of prayer. What if instead of smoking when they were anxious, they would simply pray? The smoker would develop quite a dynamic prayer life and find their faith increased. They could conquer their anxiety instead of covering it up.
Philippians 4:6New Living Translation (NLT)
6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done
B. Most smokers continue smoking because they are addicted. They would like to quit, but they have a strong craving, a desire, a lust for another cigarette. This is of the world. It is not of God. They need deliverance.
1 John 2:16New Living Translation (NLT)
16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world
C. Why do smokers start? Why would an intelligent person intentionally become an addict at the expense of their health and money? They do it to fit in. Peer pressure is the primary reason that teens and young adults first start to smoke. God didn’t call us to fit into the world. In fact, he commands believers to stand out and honor him with our entire lives including our bodies.
2 Corinthians 6:17-7:1New Living Translation (NLT)
17 Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 18 And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
6. Your Body – His Temple
A. Smoking kills you. It destroys your heart. It destroys your lungs. It is the leading cause of cancer. No one is ignorant of these facts. Choosing to smoke is choosing to intentionally destroy your body.
1 Corinthians 3:17New Living Translation (NLT)
17 God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.
B. Christ purchased you body, soul, and spirit. We must honor his death with the choices we make in our lives.
1 Corinthians 6:20New Living Translation (NLT)
20 for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
7. WWJD – Would Jesus smoke?
1 John 2:4-6New Living Translation (NLT)
4 If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5 But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him. That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God should live their lives as Jesus did.
We must obey Christ commands and live like He lived. If we don’t live like Christ would, we are liars if we claim to love and live in Him. Would Christ smoke? I don’t think He would. That is evidence enough to me that I shouldn’t either.