A friend asked me if you are in a country where marijuana is legal, and
you smoke it occasionally for relaxation, just like alcohol, would it be

Let me give you the simple answer first. If your friend lived
in a country where a reasonable person would conclude that Jesus would
have smoked marijuana, then I suppose it would be okay to do. We do know
that Jesus drank wine on occasion, so it would not be absolutely
outrageous to at least propose the possibility that a situation such as
this could exist. However, in my opinion, there is no such country or
place in the world which would fit under such a scenario at the present

I strongly suspect that this is one of those “what if a person
were to come to believe and they were out in the middle of a desert where
there was no water for miles and a meteor hit them on the way to find
water, so they could not be baptized?” kind of questions, but even such
questions deserve a reasonable answer. Let me give the more detailed
biblical answer to your question. The Bible does not specify each and
every possible scenario, telling us specifically what actions are sinful
and what are not. It would be literally impossible to do so, even if that
were God’s intention (which it is not). The New Testament writers clearly
could not specify what types of internet web sites would be sinful to go
to. Even our government cannot keep up making the latest designer drugs
illegal! That is why God has given us principles to make such
decisions. There are several concepts to keep in mind in making such
decisions. Paul addressed such principles extensively. Let me give a few

1. For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of
the Lord, but also in the eyes of men. (2 Corinthians 8:21).

2. “Everything is permissible for me”–but not everything is beneficial.
“Everything is permissible for me.”–but I will not be mastered by
anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)

3. Be careful, however, that the exercising of your freedom does not
become a stumbling block to the weak…. Therefore, if what I eat causes
my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will
not cause him to fall. (1 Corinthians 8:9-13)

4. Am I not free?…… But we did not use this right. (1 Cor 9:1,12)

5. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is
unclean. If your brother is distressed because of what you eat, you are
no longer acting in love. (Romans 14:14,15)

Obviously, these passages are taken out of context, and you
should look up the passages to get their context. Assuming that, one is
left with advice to avoid two extremes. One extreme is to be very
conservative and declare all sorts of things such as drinking coffee,
drinking an occasional glass of wine, buying a single lottery ticket,
watching PG-13 movies as sin. According to the passages above, each of
these activities could be sinful in particular contexts, but it is not
correct to simply declare such activities as sin in every situation for
every person. If our actions create a problem for others, especially if
done in a public setting, we should not do such things, but there is a
certain amount of “freedom” in Christ.

The other extreme is to say, “I have freedom in Christ.
Nowhere in the Bible does it ever say that this is sin. Therefore I can
do it, whether you like it or not.” Paul willingly gave up freedoms for
the sake of the gospel, so that others would not stumble. What we do in
private is clearly different from what we do in public, but even in
private, we should be sensitive to conscience (Romans 14:22,23).

Based on these principles, it is extremely hard for me to
imagine any disciple of Jesus anywhere on this particular planet where we
live smoking marijuana without sinning. I will leave it at that.

John Oakes

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