Does the Bible really talk about the legalization of marijuana?
Most people who grew up in church have a simple thought process when it comes to wether or not something should be legal. “Is it right or is it wrong?” is usually the first question. If its right then it should be legal. If it is wrong, well then it should be illegal. So, with the current marijuana issue many church going, bible believing christians have a simple stance: “It’s wrong to get drunk, and getting drunk is like getting high so it should be illegal to smoke or sell marijuana.” Open and shut, now that we know the black and white of it we can commence advocating for pot to remain illegal.
I am constantly begging my fellow Bible readers to go deeper into the message of scripture. To look at the comprehensive message of Jesus and the New Testament. I would ask the Christian community to consider these three things.
1. The Government and the church have two completely different functions
They are both created by God for his divine will, but they do not have the same purpose. God created all governments that exist to keep the peace.
For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Romans 13:4
The role of a government is to enforce rules to keep people from total anarchy. A government does not need to understand they are carrying out God’s purpose. Order may be maintained by the laws of a government but not hope can be found there.
The church on the other hand is so much more. The church is the kingdom of God. The hope of the world. The love of God and his plan of salvation. The purpose of the church is not to create rules and guilt, but rather to provide a solution to guilt. A path for rule breakers. This mission is best summed up with the personal motto of the apostle Paul.
I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. Acts 20:24
2. The church should not dictate the state and vise versa
When the church and the state get confused about their roles, bad things happen. Throughout the centuries many different times the church and the state have been united. Just a few examples.
- The Pagan Roman Empire became the Holy Roman Empire
- France was ruled by the church hierarchy
- In England the King dictated the church
Every time the church and the state are united it is beneficial to the state but devastating to the church.( i.e. the crusades, holy wars, the inquisition, selling of salvation etc…) The church becomes an overbearing hierarchy of lawmakers. The message of putting your faith in Christ as the only path to God is lost. We become the moral police and not the hope of the world.
Jesus was quite happy to stay completely apathetic to the heated politics of his time. Especially in the subject of God’s people paying taxes to the godless emperor Caesar. This was the subject of much debate and understandably so. Caesar used taxes to build pagan temples and build the Romans war machine. Yet, Jesus remains apathetic.
Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, and he asked them, “Whose image is this? And whose inscription?” “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “So give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” Matthew 22:19-21
How could Jesus not care about something so important? Doesn’t he know that the godless Roman empire will only continue to grow and lead people away from God? When Jesus stood before Pilate (a roman official) he explains the source of his apathy to the politics of his time.
My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place. John 18:36
The kingdom of God, later to be called the church, does not have a parallel purpose to a government. Even a “christian” government. The state simply prevents anarchy on the earth through laws. The kingdom of God is about the business of eternal salvation.
3. Just because something is morally wrong does not mean it has to be illegal
Example: Adultery. Universally this is accepted as wrong but it is not illegal. Nor would it make sense for it to be, because it isn’t a law that would keep people safe. Just think of all the things that are widely accepted as wrong, that are not illegal. It would be quite impossible to create legislation for everything that is sin. Jealousy? Lust? Anger? Hate? Again, biblically speaking, the government only exists to keep peace.
In all of the Gospels Jesus never attempted to influence legislation. In the entirety of the New Testament not one church leader ever attempted to impose the commands for christians as laws for Romans or Jews.
Back To Weed
Ask the right question as a voter
We are in a unique position, because we are all the government. By casting our vote we can determine where these issues end up. We essentially have to where two different hats. For many of you who grew in the church this is going to sound like heresy. The right question as a voter is not: “Is legalizing weed right or is it wrong?” The right question is “What decision keeps the most people safe?” Vote accordingly. Realizing, this in no way affects the greater purpose of the kingdom of God.
Ask the right question as a disciple of Jesus
If you believe in Jesus, this means you have a much greater calling on earth than voting. Christ has called you to spread the good news of Jesus. The saving message that no matter what your faults or sins there is forgiveness in Jesus. The right question as a disciple of Jesus is: “Will legalizing weed keep people from being saved by Jesus?” The answer is unequivocally “No.” In fact, there is no law, liberal or conservative, that will ever stop or even remotely slow down God’s spread of his message or his kingdom.
If Pot Is Legalized, Should Christians Partake?
Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Romans 13:13
Some of you may say, getting high is not the same as getting drunk. Come on man! The point is the same. They both lead to a loss of good decision making. They both lead to the other things on on the list in the above Romans passage. Don’t try to find loop holes, live for God!
Despite what you might think I am not advocating the legalization of marijuana, but simply giving a biblical perspective. The Bible is about so much more than: “Is it right or is it wrong?” The Bible offers God’s plan for the forgiveness of sins, faith in God and life change through the Holy Spirit.
So what does the Bible say about marijuana? Well, very little specifically. However, the comprehensive message of the Bible gives us a lot of perspective on how a follower of Christ should view this issue. In the end, wether it is legalized or not makes little to no difference to the kingdom of God. The most important thing is that everyone, even chronic marijuana users, hear the truth that is in Christ. If you are a follower of Jesus, that is your purpose.