It is all too common today for people to want to excuse this sin or that, which naturally brings them into conflict with the Lord. Typically, the most attention is paid to the more controversial figures and topics—such as Francis and marriage, James Martin and homosexuality—but lost in the mix are many topics that are just as important. Indeed, topics where there is a general consensus in favor of ignoring the Word are perhaps the most vital in stopping society’s long, painful slide into godlessness and decay. This is because they often speak to what is socially acceptable among a righteous people, and, once society has agreed to tolerate that which God does not, the slippery slope is inevitable. It might seem trivial in the beginning, but wickedness compounds wickedness with consequences that most people never considered possible. We must always remember that sin is defined by God, not by our personal desires or by what is easiest. You may not always agree, but God’s truth is the truth regardless of whether or not it suits you.
For example, let’s look at what society expects of people today. According to one study, 1-in-3 Americans consumes at least 6.25 alcoholic beverages per week, and the “top 10 percent of American drinkers – 24 million adults over age 18 – consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week.” Data also shows that binge drinking is highest among men in their 20’s, but underage drinking is also a problem with people aged 12 to 20 accounting for 11% of total alcohol consumption in the US and 90% of that involving binge drinking. This is despite Proverbs 23:20-21, which says, “Be not in the feasts of great drinkers, nor in their revellings, who contribute flesh to eat: Because they that give themselves to drinking, and that club together shall be consumed; and drowsiness shall be clothed with rags.”
It is particularly important to focus on this line, “Be not in the feasts of great drinkers, nor in their revellings.” Consider Deuteronomy 21:19-21, “They shall take him and bring him to the ancients of his city, and to the gate of judgment, And shall say to them: This our son is rebellious and stubborn, he slighteth hearing our admonitions, he giveth himself to revelling, and to debauchery and banquetings: The people of the city shall stone him: and he shall die, that you may take away the evil out of the midst of you, and all Israel hearing it may be afraid.” And 1 Corinthians 10:7, “Neither become ye idolaters, as some of them, as it is written: The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
As should be obvious from modern society, one sin often leads to others, and that is certainly true of drinking to excess. One need only look to the current “clubbing” and “hook up” culture, which has resulted from not only drinking as a “rite of passage” but also because a majority of Americans think that fornication is “not wrong at all.” Indeed, millennials average 8.26 sexual partners, which is down from the baby boomers’ 11.68, but research suggests they are having more “casual sex” with fewer partners. This speaks to rampant godlessness in modern society. As 1 Corinthians tells us (5:9,6:18), fornication is a sin committed against yourself, but we also should not “keep company with fornicators.” If people cannot control themselves, “let them marry. For it is better to marry than to be burnt” (7:9).
This latter point—the ability to control oneself, or the lack thereof—is a rather important consideration. 1 Corinthians 10:13 tells us that we will not face temptations greater than our ability to handle, but it is all too easy to succumb when that which tempts us is always within arm’s reach. Let’s look at the culture of drinking to excess and rampant fornication. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, which means it increases the likelihood of irresponsible behavior, but there must still be the opportunity. This is why we are warned not only against “great drinkers” but also “their revellings.” It is also why we should not “keep company with fornicators.” And it is also why we must consider 1 Timothy 2:9, which says that women should dress “in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety.” As Proverbs 11:22 tells us, beauty is wasted on a woman who lacks decency, just as a golden ring is wasted stuck through a pig’s snout.
When you combine alcohol, lust, and miniskirts, there is motive, means, and opportunity for all manner of wickedness. Feminists would likely cry that it is sexist to suggest that the way in which women dress is a contributing factor, but their ideology is itself largely to blame. Consider: women now consume as much alcohol as men, despite the fact that alcohol affects women more than men. “Women’s liberation” has also resulted in more than half (52%) of women now thinking premarital sex is perfectly fine, which is nearly double the percentage who thought the same in the 1970’s. One study has also shown that a majority of women dress in a revealing manner so as to “look attractive,” and, while they deny seeking to arouse men through their clothing choices, that is precisely (and predictably) what happens according to the same data.
We can also see how these trends do play into larger issues such as homosexuality within society. For example, a study conducted at the University of Texas found those children raised by a gay father or lesbian mother were 2.3-2.7 times more likely than children raised by an intact biological family to cohabitate outside of marriage, 2.5-3.1 times more likely to have had a sexually transmitted infection, up to 27% more likely to purposely drink to excess, up to 39% more likely to smoke marijuana, and are likely to have more sexual partners, whether homosexual or heterosexual. That children raised by gay and lesbian parents have such issues is hardly surprising considering gay men accounted for 83% of primary and secondary syphilis cases in 2014, both gays and lesbians are much more likely to engage in domestic violence, and so on. When raised in such sinful environments, it must all seem “normal” to them.
The same researcher also found that “church-going Christians” who support “same-sex marriage” are 7.3 times more likely than Christians who oppose “SSM” to believe the viewing of pornography is acceptable, 3.4 times more likely to approve of premarital cohabitation, 6.5 times more likely to tolerate casual fornication, 5.8 times more likely to think adultery is sometimes acceptable, 12.9 times more likely to be tolerant of bigamy/polyamory, and 6 times more likely to support “abortion rights.” We may not be able to draw a distinct line between correlation and causation, but it is painfully obvious that those who are willing to accept certain sins end up being far more likely to accept a variety of sins, mostly revolving around sexual immorality. Is that correlation not reason enough to warn Christians about the slippery slope of “tolerance”? Does it not breed moral rot and decay throughout society?
These are the dangers of anyone thinking that it is their place, not the Lord’s, to define right and wrong, righteousness and sinfulness. As Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seemeth just to a man: but the ends thereof lead to death.” No matter how justified a person may feel in doing so, they do not have the power to overturn God’s will and replace it with their own. One may think drinking to excess is some trivial concern, or that women going around barely clothed is enjoyable, or that fornicating is natural, but the day will come when they face judgement, where they cannot hide anything from God and no amount of begging or pleading will save them (Luke 16:19-31). As James 5:19-20 says, “My brethren, if any of you err from the truth, and one convert him: He must know that he who causeth a sinner to be converted from the error of his way, shall save his soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins.” That is a Christian’s calling. That is their duty. It is not easy to obey, and Christians throughout history have been hated and even killed for opposing the ways of others. But to do anything else—to tolerate sin—is to sit idly by as others condemn themselves to eternity in the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15). They may think they can “interpret” the Lord’s judgement away, but all will face Him and all deeds, good or ill, will be tallied.