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"All Unrighteousness is Sin" - by Gary Langel

I John 5:17

Not too long ago someone told me about how surprised they were to see a lot of kids smoking at a recent Christian rock concert. Thinking about that prompted me to address the subject in this issue.

So what about smoking? Is it a sin? Is it okay for Christians to smoke? What does the Bible say about smoking? Of course it doesn't say anything directly about smoking since as far as I know smoking didn't exist two thousand years ago. But what about indirectly?

First of all, let's look at the health issue. I don't think it can be disputed that smoking puts you at serious risk of cancer, emphesima, and other heart and respiratory problems. Well, I guess you could dispute it. The tobacco companies do. I don't know what research or statistics you could use to support your argument, though. Common sense should tell you that the body wasn't designed to inhale smoke. That's usually what kills people in fires: smoke inhalation. A neighbor of ours quit smoking and told us how much better she felt and breathed.

Let's look at the financial damage. I checked out the price of a pack of cigarettes at a 7-Eleven today; $2.16 a pack. If you are 18 and start smoking 2 packs a day, by the time you reach 70 (if cancer doesn't kill you first), you will have spent at least $81,993.60! You could buy a house for that much money. Think of it, a house up in smoke. How would you like to drive a brand new car without paying interest on a loan? You could do it with the money you'll have spent by the time you're 30 on 2 packs a day: $18,921.60. Just the money you'd spend in a year ($1,576.80) would just about cover a car insurance premium. Even half these figures at one pack a day is horrifying. Is this a wise use of your resources? Let's not just think about what we could do for ourselves with the money, but consider what your church could do with just a fraction of it. (I said "at least $81,993.60" because the price of cigarettes will undoubtedly go up)

So why are you pending all that money on cancer? Because you're nervous, weak, and insecure. These are feelings all of us deal with, and I can tell you that spending a ton of money on a health-destroying drug isn't the answer. If you commit your life to Christ and trust Him to keep the promises He made to us, you'll have all the strength and confidence you need to deal with your problems without turning to cigarettes, drugs, alcohol, or any other crutch. Walking around with a cigarette in your mouth is a poor witness to the saving power of Christ. When I see people smoking whom I don't know, I can't help but think they aren't Christians. If they are, they must not be too mature or committed.

I think I 've made the point that smoking is wrong. What is wrong is unrighteousness, and all unrighteousness is sin (I John 5:17). Hence smoking is sin. If you don't agree with any of this, please write me. I'd like to hear from you. Write and tell me what you think is right about smoking.

Gary Langel

7 Jefferson Drive

Laurel Springs, NJ 08021