Is Smoking a Sin?

Smoking is Bad For Your Health, But Your Soul?

It has been proved again and again that using tobacco is harmful to the body, and anything that harms the body is sin. It does not mean a person is not a Christian just because he or she smokes cigarettes. It is wrong to do this, however some Christians have not surrendered and yielded to God in this matter, just as some Christians have not surrendered to God in the matter of eating too much or in the matter of eating wrong things.

The Bible teaches that we should take care of our bodies because they are the temple of God, and the Holy Spirit dwells within the heart and life and body of every child of God. 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 is as follows:

“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

Notice from these verses above God insists we do not defile ourselves because His Holy Spirit lives in those of us who are God’s dear children. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 is as follows:

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are brought with a price; therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

We can see from these verses that the body of a Christian is the temple Holy Spirit who is in us, and we are not our own, but are bought with a price, and therefore should glorify God in our body as well as in our spirit, because the body and spirit are God’s.

1 Corinthians 10:31 is as follows:

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

We can see from this verse we are not to harm our body by defiling it with tobacco and other things that are harmful to the body, but we should also be careful we eat and drink the right foods and we do not eat or drink too much, and whatever we eat or drink should be done to the glory of God. If we are trying to take good care of our physical bodies for Jesus’ sake, and for the sake of the work of Christ, and for the sake of our influence on others as we try to win them to Christ, we are then eating and drinking and sleeping and exercising and taking care of our bodies for the glory of Christ.

The Bible tells us, 1 John 2:16, there are only three classes of sin in the world:

  1. The lust of the flesh
  2. The lust of the eyes
  3. The pride of life

The Bible tells us in Matthew 4 how Jesus overcame each one of these classes of sin. Any sin, in the class entitled “the lust of the flesh,” can be overcome through daily Bible reading and prayer. Most of our failures are prayer failures. However, tobacco, alcohol, drugs, sex sins, eating too much, any sin among the sins called the “lust of the flesh,” can be overcome through daily Bible reading and prayer. Also, a Christian should ask God for help to quit smoking.

Of course, those who are unsaved, need to take Jesus as their Savior first. It is also important to go to church regularly and to be a soul winner. Often when we set out to become soul winners, God helps us overcome some of these sins, because we do not want to hurt our influence with others as we talk with them about Jesus. One man told of how he quit smoking when he became a soul winner, he noticed he began to be embarrassed to reach for a cigarette while he was talking with some unsaved person about Jesus. Therefore, he gave up tobacco.

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Dr. Elmer Towns is a college and seminary professor, an author of popular and scholarly works (the editor of two encyclopedias), a popular seminar lecturer, and dedicated worker in Sunday school, and has developed over 20 resource packets for leadership education.His personal education includes a B.S. from Northwestern College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, a M.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, a Th.M. from Dallas Theological Seminary also in Dallas, a MRE from Garrett Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, and a D.Min. from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.He is co-founder of Liberty University, with Jerry Falwell, in 1971, and was the only full-time teacher in the first year of Liberty’s existence. Today, the University has over 11,400 students on campus with 39,000 in the Distance Learning Program (now Liberty University Online), and he is the Dean of the School of Religion.Dr. Towns has given theological lectures and taught intensive seminars at over 50 theological seminaries in America and abroad. He holds visiting professorship rank in five seminaries. He has written over 2,000 reference and/or popular articles and received six honorary doctoral degrees. Four doctoral dissertations have analyzed his contribution to religious education and evangelism.

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